“ Address: Pahkalantie 447 / E FI-91200 YLI-II / Finland Phone: +358 8 8170 492 „
===When and why I went===
I stayed here in April of this year with 11 others for a few nights before heading further up north through Finland before we started our teaching practices. It was here that we stayed to meet other teachers etc. I think it was particularly beautiful at this time of year because the lake in the middle of this centre was frozen and covered with snow - absolutely stunning.
===Where it is===
Kierikki is in Oulu but if I remember rightly it was about an hour's drive from Oulu city centre (which I don't think is too awful), so it is slightly in the middle of nowhere but I think this is great if you just want to be in nature and get away from the busy city. On their website which you can easily find through google it says that this hotel is in the middle of Finland between Helsinki and Utsjoki.
===How much it is===
On the website double rooms are priced Euro84 - Euro95 per night, and a single room between Euro62 and Euro77.5 per night. This price includes breakfast and an evening sauna (an interesting experience!), but tours and large group bookings can be arranged. There was a large group of us and between 12 of us I think overall for about 3 or 4 nights stay was about £3000.
===What facilities there are===
Although this is a hotel, it does not look like one. It consists of many wooden lodges situated around a lake (which at the time I went was frozen and very pretty, although I suppose in the summer maybe you could swim in it?). There is a dining room, free internet (although access to this can be quite limited), saunas separately for men and women (essential as Finnish saunas require you to be naked), and a sort of cooking/sitting/relaxing room off the sauna which you can rent if you require. This room has a wooden stove, many seats and I think that food/beverages can be arranged if you ask for an extra fee. I think one of the best things about this hotel is how close to nature you are; during my stay I saw wild deer and the northern lights - pretty amazing!
I stayed in a lodge with twin beds. It was exceptionally clean, was well equipped (you could rent the use of a kitchen in there if you wished) and basically had everything you needed - beds, basic furniture, a very nice bathroom, and even a tv. It was of a decent size and every lodge has a balcony overlooking the lake in the middle.
The food here is not something I personally liked very much but I think this is more because I am possibly the world's fussiest eater! Everybody else I went with loved the food. Breakfasts tended to consist of fruit or porridge, or more continental style e.g. cold meats. You can have other meals here too - this is also a great chance to taste some traditional Finnish food e.g. reindeer, cloudberries and some strange dessert cheese that I don't remember the name of. I would also recommend tasting maami if you are if Finland around easter time.
The staff were absolutely brilliant, very friendly and helpful but left you alone when you wished to be. If you have any special dietary requests or just requests in general then they will cater to these quite happily.
===Overall impression and would I go back again===
I absolutely loved this place! I have very happy memories of reindeer, northern lights and making proper snow fairies and snowmen! It was so relaxing, spacious and clean. I would definitely recommend for anybody to stay here!