Opened in the summer of 2022, the Cahkal Hotel will place you more than 400 km above the Arctic Circle in a vast Finnish wilderness.
This summer saw the launch of Cahkal Hotel, a boutique hotel co-founded by the husband-and-wife team, Ville and Margit Eskonen, in the remote village of Kilpisjärvi, close to Finland’s most northwestern point and on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. Set amid mountains and forests, this secluded spot is close to the shores of Lake Kilpisjärvi and Lake Cahkal, right at the point where Finland, Norway and Sweden meet, a place known as the Three-Country Cairn, and offers exploration of the surrounding wilderness on every frontier .
An area where people originally came as reindeer herders, Kilpisjärvi is now largely focused on the tourism that Lapland attracts, with its remoteness making it more attractive to adventurous travelers than the masses. The Eskonens worked here for a number of years in hospitality and adventure tourism before deciding to start their own venture creating a high-end boutique hotel, distinguished at first glance for its stylish Scandi design, which fills a gap in the hospitality offer that can be found in this hotel. area of the Finnish wilderness. The hotel is an environmentally conscious property and uses both solar panels and geothermal energy.
Accessible from Tromsø in Norway (two and a half hours drive from the property) or Kittilä in Finland (three and a half hours drive), the modern Scandinavian lodge provides a scenic base for exploring the vast wilderness it surrounds. After several years of leading excursions through this vast landscape, Ville stands behind the hotel’s outdoor activities offering, leads all excursions himself and engages other expert guides to accommodate all hotel guests.
Ville takes guests on adventurous excursions on foot, mountain bike and helicopter, revealing dramatic parts of this vast landscape, with insight into the local Sami and reindeer herding culture in the village itself. In summer, you’ll spend days e-biking along mountain trails, hiking in the Finnish and Norwegian Arctic landscape, and looking for mushrooms and berries in the surrounding forests. You can see it all from above on a scenic helicopter ride and go on fly fishing excursions, either hiking, e-biking or helicoptering to the fishing spot first.
In the fall, this verdant landscape is transformed with the seasonal colors as red, orange and yellow foliage sweeps over the land and the midnight sun gives way to dark nights revealing the Northern Lights in all their glory. Deep snow then covers the ground from November to May each year, with the polar nights, when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon, painting the sky with pastels until January when spring sets in.
The ski touring season runs throughout the winter and spring period with trips over the highest peaks and longest slopes in Finland. A snowmobile or sleigh ride through the valley is followed by skiing and snowshoeing on the slopes, and guests have the opportunity to go out on the frozen lakes with a local fisherman and meet a local reindeer herder at a reindeer farm that has been in the family for several years. of the reindeer herders is generations.
Back at the hotel, time between all these outdoor explorations is spent recovering in the private yoga sessions of the hotel’s scenic yoga lounge and relaxing in the mountain-view Finnish sauna, which has a connecting lounge complete with a inviting fireplace and a terrace leading to a stream among the trees.
The hotel comprises a total of 23 neat, modern rooms. The Cahkal Suite and Cahkal Studio are both located in a detached building for extra privacy and each has its own terrace with mountain views. The suite has two bedrooms, a sitting area and its own private sauna.
Guests gather in the hotel’s main lounge—with a fireplace flanked by stacked logs, plush furnishings that bring warm fall colors into the space, and paintings depicting the mountain this hotel sits next to—before dining in the bright restaurant, which also proves to be popular with outside visitors, which combines smart, modern decor with views over the wooded landscape where reindeer appear through the trees.
The seasonal menu uses locally sourced ingredients such as Arctic whitefish, reindeer and an array of berries and mushrooms. Depending on the season, try a moose carpaccio, pike ceviche or chanterelle risotto, all with suggested wine pairings, before finishing with a dessert with local flavors such as blueberry juice. The bar brings out the classic hotel cocktails with ingredients like cloudberry tying them to the locale.
Now, in September, the landscape is covered in autumn colors and the nights are falling, the hotel looks forward to the long months of deep snow and polar nights that provide the winter experience that attracts travelers to Lapland.