It’s a hidden gem nestled in a landscape brimming with opportunities for adventure. Navigator discovers eight reasons to head north to Lapland’s newest luxury eco-lodge Octola.
Exploration and adventure have rapidly become the zeitgeist of luxury travel, and in line with this the yachting industry has witnessed a rising demand for adventures off the beaten track on board explorer yachts. In a world where we are all bombarded with constant demands for our attention and rarely stand still, there is something restorative about returning to a more natural environment away from the modern world – the more rare and remote, the better. Whether by yacht or on land, extravagant Arctic and Antarctic experiences have never been more de rigueur. Exploring destinations that are hard to access no longer means that levels of comfort need to suffer. One such luxury adventure to “the land beyond all lands” may be just the ticket for those looking for something different this winter. Lapland, which spreads across the tips of Norway, Sweden and Finland, is as far north as you can venture. As far as the locals are concerned (outnumbered by reindeer in a two-to-one ratio) everyone else in the world is a Southerner.
For those dreaming of a secluded luxury hideaway in this remote environment, the recently opened Octola in Finnish Lapland has been touted as the most exclusive lodge in the Arctic. Picture a traditional-looking wooden cabin tucked into an enchanted fairytale forest and surrounded by more than 740 acres of private wilderness teeming with wildlife. Ten suites and an additional two-bedroom villa are tastefully furnished in a chic and minimalist Scandinavian fashion, with butler service, private chef, personal wilderness guide and a dedicated team of specialists on hand to ensure the ultimate in luxury service at a level comparable to a luxury superyacht.
In a similar way to being on the ocean, a magical stillness envelops the winter wonderland, where despite the brief daylight hours there is no hurried pace (unless you are in the company of a dozen rampaging huskies careering through the snow). Revel under the magnificent Arctic skies amidst nature’s finest and enjoy the enforced seclusion. Octola’s expansive terraces and floor-to-ceiling glass walls not only set the scene for a northern lights experience, but also allow for hours of contentment soaking in the vastness of the landscape where the only signs of life come in the form of snowy footprints from reindeer, moose and Arctic hare.
Reasons To Visit Octola
Whether selecting Octola’s eight-course North Pole menu in the lodge or having a private romantic dinner in the Octola Villa, the foodie-inclined traveler will not be disappointed. Heavily influenced by local traditions, Octola’s chefs serve up delicious Nordic cuisine using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients including wild plants, mushrooms, berries and fish in all their creations.
Octola is a luxury 10-bedroom chalet perfect for small groups or large families. Comprising two wings – one of six bedrooms and the other of four – the property can be rented in its entirety or in separate parts. Within the main lodge, guests have access to a lounge and dining area, as well as an outdoor Jacuzzi and sauna. The two-bedroom Octola Villa also has an outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna and two expansive private terraces. The second suite also can become a wellness facility with scenic spaces for yoga and spa treatments.
Offering a private butler service to prepare the hot tub or sauna, a private wilderness guide and a chef, Octola is fully catered and hosted by experts in their field.
Fully tailored to guests’ individual needs, Octola offers every Arctic experience possible. From ice fishing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to sledding, snowmobiling and reindeer and husky sledding, the opportunities for fun activities here with your family and friends are endless.
Located right in the heart of a private 740-acre wilderness reserve at a peak with views in every direction, Octola offers guests an off-the-grid experience in a remote location perfectly situated to optimize northern lights viewing – far away from any light pollution.
The traditional log cabin represents the most ecological building style in Finnish Lapland. The property is geothermally heated and the saunas are wood-fired. Meals are prepared with herbs and vegetables either foraged from the surrounding landscape or grown locally, while meat and fish is also sourced locally.
The indigenous Sami people have been herding reindeer since prehistoric times, and many still tend to their herds in the 21st century, adapting to modern technology, climate change and sustainability, often riding snowmobiles but maintaining the same principles as their ancestors. Access to a private reindeer enclosure and reindeer sleigh rides provides the opportunity to talk to local Sami herders and gain a better understanding of the traditional life led by around 70,000 indigenous Sami.
Whether cozy and warm beneath a mound of animal hides on a sleigh or snuggled up in front of a crackling fire with a traditional Kaffeost (coffee with cheese pieces) and cinnamon buns, the Finnish hospitality and way of life is a key component of the Octola experience.
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