On the shore of the Arctic Ocean with a view of the Northern Lights
The top 5 most unusual hotels in the Arctic
19.07.21 // Not so long ago, the only type of hotel to be found in the Arctic was your standard run-of-the-mill Soviet establishment intended for military personnel and business travellers, however, as the region is increasingly being viewed as a tourist destination, the local hospitality industry is catching up with the new trend. New hotels are now being opened that can easily cater to even the most demanding travellers.
However, modern tourists want more than just your basic amenities and your standard European interior design. They go to the Arctic in search of new experiences and that means they want to stay somewhere that's more than just a simple accommodation option.
With a view of the Northern Lights
is a fairly unusual hotel smack in the middle of the tundra of the Murmansk Region, located at the 49th kilometre of the Serebryanskoye motorway between Murmansk and Teriberka. Each room in this hotel is formed by a glass semi-sphere: the place looks look some sort of a futuristic/science-fiction prototype for a Mars settlement. The fully transparent ceiling and walls create the impression you're staying in the open. As you lie in a cosy bed in the middle of winter, you can take in a 360 view of the Northern Lights. All the units are made from environmentally friendly wood and the interiors are adorned with hunting trophies. And even though there's nothing but glass separating you from the Arctic cold, it's warm and cosy inside: every unit has a stove as well as a shower and toilet. During the polar day in the summer, it never gets dark in the rooms: it's a paradise for fans of the white nights. The hotel staff notify the guests whenever the Polar Lights light up the sky, so there's no way you're missing them here..
On the shore of the Arctic Ocean
If you want to spend a few days right on the shore of the Arctic Ocean, you'll want to go to Teriberka. In recent years, this small town has become a Mecca for arctic tourism in Russia, a very trendy place to visit that many Russians who want to get a first-hand experience of the harsh nature of the Arctic dream of visiting. The Cedar Grass
hotel is nestled between the Arctic Ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Consequently, you get stunning views from the panoramic windows regardless of which side of the building your room happens to be on: either you're going to be looking out at the world's harshest Ocean or you'll be looking at mountain peaks that remain covered in snow for most of the year. The most popular type of accommodation here is not in the main hotel building but rather in one of the chalets or family rooms on the hotel grounds.
Face to face with untamed nature
The guest house Russian Laplandia
is located on the small island of Vysoky in the middle of Lake Lovozero. There are no roads here whatsoever, which only makes the spot even more desirable for those who want to spend some time face to face with untamed nature. In the summer, you can get to the Russian Laplandia by motorboat and in the winter, you get there by snowmobiling across the ice of the frozen lake. In the immediate vicinity of the island, you've got the Sedozersky Reserve, Lake Seydozero and the unusually named Wizardry (Volshebny) Island. The guest house is a two-storey wooden structure. As you walk around the island, you can take in some breathtaking views of the harsh mountains of the Lovozerskye Tundra.
Northern Russian Architecture
The Solovetsky Islands are a rather remote group of islands in the White Sea famous for their monastery, beautiful northern nature and former Stalin-era labour camp. The only way to get there is by sea. The Hotel Solovki
is a collection of wooden cabins in the wild; they're all built to modern standards but styled to look like traditional houses of the Russian North as if they were brought here from one of Russia's many open-air museums of traditional architecture. The cabins are connected by wood- and stone-paved paths and surrounded on all sides by the forest.
Scandinavian houses by the White Sea
Cover photo by Darya Bulavina
The hotel Arctic Cabins
is comprised of fairly modern-looking, brightly coloured Scandinavian style cabins located on the shore of the White Sea in Kandalaksha. You can see the White Sea from the windows, you don't need to go anywhere to get to the seashore, it's right outside your door. In the summer, you can take advantage of the proximity of the water and run out of your cabin to take a quick dip in the water: few people can stay in longer than that because the water is always very cold. There are also deck chairs next to the entrance that you can lie on and take in nature.