Family Fun in Finland

Children young enough to be enthralled by Santa Claus and his reindeer can’t hope for a better winter holiday than a visit to Rovaniemi, in Lapland, Finland, Jolly Old Saint Nick’s official home. And, thanks to expanded air service and new hotels in every price point, the trip is easier than ever.

Best of all, these new hotels are a huge departure from the same old, same old thing.

The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, for example, offers accommodations you and your kids won’t soon forget. The property, opened in July 2018, offers 60 suites, all designed to make the most of the dramatic forest location. You’ll feel like birds in a nest in the Arctic TreeHouse Suites, complete with floor-to-ceiling windows, which can be combined to make a family suite. Or spread out in a two-bedroom Arctic GlassHouse, with room for a family of six and featuring its own fireplace, sauna and kitchenette.

Fans of log houses can make memories in Octola, a posh, 10-room private chalet set to open Dec. 15. A blend of glass house and rustic cabin, the property is located in a private wilderness where kids are likely to spot reindeer roaming freely. Accessible by helicopter, snowmobile or car, the chalet offers the full Nordic experience — local cuisine, a wood-burning sauna and geothermal heating.

Northern lights, Aurora Borealis in Lapland, Finland © Delstudio | Dreamstime.com

Northern lights, Aurora Borealis in Lapland, Finland © Delstudio | Dreamstime.com

Or check out the Snowman World Glass Resort, which opened 10 new glass apartments in November (for a total of 24) right in Santa Claus Village. As the name implies, the glass structures — inspired by traditional igloos — are all about the views. Kids can keep an eye out for Santa and the elves, while mom and dad can gaze at the Aurora Borealis from their hot tub or even while lying in bed. Each Superior Glass Apartment includes a living area, mini-kitchen, upstairs loft with glass ceiling and its own private hot spring outdoor spa and sauna.

Finally, Santa Claus Holiday Village offers 24 new suites, opened in Santa Claus Village this fall and all of which offer kitchenettes, separate bedrooms and a living room. Designed with families in mind, the suites can be bundled with meal and activity packages to suit visitors of all ages.

Meanwhile, the Rovaniemi Airport is in the process of developing a massive $55 million expansion to house two more terminals and beef up the customer experience. The space for passengers will nearly double in size, and there will be a new café space and a modernized baggage reclaim area. Set for completion by next Christmas season, the expansion will boost the hourly capacity of the airport from three planes to five a day, which will dramatically ease connection times for your and your family and help you get where you’re going faster.