Lapland Hotels, Saaga is a year round resort hotel situated 175 km north of the arctic circle in Ylläs, Lapland. The Ylläs area comprises the two villages of Äkaslompolo on the northern side of Ylläs fell and Ylläsjarvi to the south which are connected by a scenic road.
Although it sounds remote, Ylläs is actually quite easily accessible from Helsinki as there are daily connecting flights to Kittilä a 40 km, one hour drive. For those visitors preferring to travel by train there is also the option of taking the overnight sleeper VR train to Kolari which is also close by.
Arrival and check-in:
We arrived at the hotel at around 1.30 p.m. 90 minutes ahead of the scheduled check-in time so were pleased to discover that our rooms were ready and we could settle in straightaway.
The reception lobby has a rustic appearance with its walls clad in pine logs and seating surrounding a large fireplace, perfect to gather around during the winter ski season.
The hotel has 84 guest rooms with my room being at the end of a long corridor on the second floor. Although I had taken the lift up to this floor I noticed that the room actually had a ground floor terrace as it is built into a hill.
The rustic theme of the lobby continued into the room with its traditional Finnish pine clad walls and a bed settee upholstered in a Lappish design. Apart from the lack of a kettle, the room had everything necessary for a comfortable stay and was flooded with natural light from its patio doors.
As the temperature was around 30 degrees the lack of tea making facilities didn’t bother me too much as sparkling water seemed more refreshing in the heatwave.
Breakfast is included in the room rate for all guests staying at the hotel which isn’t always the case elsewhere causing prices to rise substantially once this has been added. We had busy days ahead of us but I managed to get up early each morning to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
In fact, I was extremely impressed with the vast selection of items on offer, many of them sourced locally including Lappish cheese, arctic lingonberries, cloudberries and lightly smoked salmon.
Dinner: On one of the evenings we chose to dine in the hotel restaurant and were so pleased that we did as the meal and ambiance of the restaurant were splendid.
I couldn’t resist having the Finnish favourite of a large bowl of creamy salmon and potato soup as my main course followed by a spruce flavoured gateau. It was such a warm evening that we ordered blueberry mocktails which quenched our thirst nicely.
The hotel has a large indoor swimming pool, two jacuzzis, a steam room and sauna for guests use and we visited prior to dinner on the first evening.
The spa was in immaculate condition and we were able to experience each of the facilities on offer. At the shallow end of the pool a video screen was demonstrating aquarobic exercises so we spent awhile following the instructions which was fun and hopefully beneficial.
There’s also a cosy bar lounge, gift shop, well equipped children’s playroom and a storage room for winter sports equipment enabling guests to ski in and out of the hotel.
Wi-Fi worked well throughout the building and we didn’t encounter any connectivity issues. Outside is a large free car park equipped with some heated plug in points for winter visitors.
Suggested dining options in Äkaslompolo, Ylläs:
To complement the excellent dining experience of the Saaga Hotel I’ve put together some suggestions of other restaurants in the area that we visited and I think you would also enjoy.
Rouhe: fine dining in a casual atmosphere serving the best of local produce. The restaurant is housed in a typical Finnish wood clad building a little out of town.
I would have enjoyed everything on the menu but settled on Arctic char with Lappish new potatoes and asparagus as I prefer to sample dishes that I don’t usually eat at home.
The fish was beautifully plated and tasted fresh and flavoursome. Service was friendly and attentive and I have returned home with fond memories of spending an evening there. Restaurant Rouhe
Jolie Lounge & Cafe: close to the lake side. This contemporary styled cafe/restaurant is open throughout the day and has a light and airy interior decorated in Nordic shades of pale grey and blue. The menu offers home made Lappish delicacies along with staples such as healthy salads, pizza and soups. On display in a chiller cabinet at the counter were an irresistible selection of cakes and pastries.
We called in for lunch after a morning’s kayaking and enjoyed pizzas and Lappish cheese salads with glasses of freshly squeezed blueberry juice. Jolie Lounge and Cafe.
Public House Selvä Pyy – located in the centre of Äkaslompolo village next to the main shopping centre where you will find some excellent gift shops stocking Finnish designer items such as Marimekko and Pentik.
The pub is open from 12.00 until 02.00 and is popular with both locals and visitors to the area. It has a welcoming interior with cosy seating and a stage where live music frequently takes place. As well as seating up to 120 indoors there’s also a large outdoor terrace accommodating a further 100.
The menu focusses on classic pub fare with summer specials of summer pea soup and slow cooked pork. Portions are generous and good value with a wide range of beers and ciders. Public House Selva
Lapland Hotels Saaga is located in one of the best positions in the Ylläs area being just five minutes walk from the main gondola lift making it ideal for summer visitors who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking. It’s also perfectly placed for winter ski holidays as you can just ski across to the lift station from the hotel.
Whilst rooms are perhaps a little on the plain side, they are of a good standard, have stunning views and are spotlessly clean. Public areas are beautifully appointed and guests are made to feel very welcome. Dining at the hotel is first class both for dinner and the lavish breakfast buffet. There was a group of Swiss tourists staying at the hotel at the same time as us and speaking to them in the lobby, they agreed with me that the Saaga was a lovely place to stay.
During my visit I was a guest of Visit Ylläs as a Lapland Ambassador 2022 and as always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.
If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also like:
If you use Pinterest please consider sharing and pinning the image below: