In Finland’s northernmost territory exists a remote region called Lapland, where reindeer outnumber people, northern lights dazzle, and the midnight sun never sets in summer. The vast subarctic wilderness is bordered by Sweden, Norway, Russia, and the Baltic Sea, and home to the indigenous Sami people. Not quite the North Pole, but close enough.
As there, just outside Lapland's capital of Rovaniemi, exists a place called SantaPark-the Home Cavern of Santa Claus. An indoor amusement park voted "the top Christmas destination in the world," where visitors can attend Elf School, visit Santa's Office, explore an Ice Gallery, and even cross the Arctic Circle underground, among other Yuletide attractions.
The Nordic wonderland also happens to feature the recently opened Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, a campus of 32 stilt-legged prefab cabins inspired by the surrounding scenery and the mysticism of SantaPark itself. According to the project's designer, Studio Puisto, the shingled cabins resemble a herd of pine cone cows, a traditional Finnish toy made of a pine cone body and stick legs. Peacefully grazing on a steep hillside, the larger-than-life herd happens to have a straight-shot view of the aurora borealis.
Like a Finnish Piaule, the landscape hotel's 32 cabins float gently above the ground on pillars to minimize their environmental impact below. Green roofs help mitigate water runoff and replace the building's footprint in vegetation above. Their shingled exteriors are made of sustainable Finnish wood, while inside, light finishes create a bright, Arctic experience.
Inspired by the comfort of a nest, the Nordic interior is decked out in furs and plush linens in neutral grays and whites, reflecting the snow-covered ground outside.
The cabins vary in layout. Some house a kitchenette, while others just a sleeping area and bathroom. Conveniently, some cabin sets can be paired to form a family suite, which is rearranged to provide a living space or additional beds. In some, a wood-paneled crawlspace hides a small bed, perfect for little guests.
The pièce de résistance is, though, is the floor-to-ceiling window on the northern wall, which looks out over the fascinating lights of Lapland, northern lights and midnight sun included.
Although an indulgent cabin hotel isn't exactly the first accommodation you'd expect at a Christmas-themed amusement park (or is it?), this is Finland after all, birth place of some of the modern world's most influential designers. The Arctic TreeHouse Hotel has already earned an impressive line-up of travel awards for its remote luxury, not to mention high profile guests likes of the Kardashians. And while a visit may cost a pretty penny ($635/night), this is one experience that will be tough to forget.