Skip to Content

Santa Claus Holiday Village Hotel Review

At Santa Claus Holiday Village, every night feels like Christmas Eve. This festive hotel in Rovaniemi, Finland is located on the grounds of Santa Claus Village. In fact, it’s just steps away from the official office of Santa Claus himself.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to stay the night in a Christmas themed hotel in Santa’s hometown, you are in luck! Join us as we share our experience staying at Santa Claus Holiday Village! We’ll explain the layout of the hotel and its location in Santa Claus Village, and of course we’ll review our specific room. Then we’ll share out take on the value of the hotel, including some different thoughts on when you may or may not want to stay there.

Put on your plaid jammies folks, and cozy up! We’re going to Santa Claus Holiday Village!

About Santa Claus Holiday Village

First things first. Santa Claus Holiday Village is a hotel located on the property of Santa Claus Village, which is a Christmas themed amusement area. When you see the word “holiday” in there, we’re talking about the hotel specifically, and when you don’t, we’re talking about the whole area.

Santa Claus Holiday Village is located on the west end of Santa Claus Village. The hotel comprises a main lobby building, a handful of restaurants and a scattering of individual cottages and suites across the property, each in their own little bright red building.

As the name suggests, the hotel is Christmas themed all year. That means Christmas decor in the lobby, Christmas trees on the porch of every single cottage, and of course a chance to meet Santa every day. The rooms themselves are not explicitly decorated for Christmas — there’s no lights strung up or wreaths in the windows — but the decor is notably Scandinavian.

There are three main room categories: Classic Cottage, Superior Cottage and Suites. All of the rooms are apartment style, and include a kitchenette and a sauna. Each cottage sleeps up to four guests, except the family suite which sleeps up to five. There are two private cottages in every building, which you can individually or as adjoining rooms.

About Our Stay

We stayed at Santa Claus Holiday Village for two nights in February during a winter trip to Finland and Norway. This was perfect timing because we got the full snowy North Pole experience, but avoided the actual holiday crowds and pricing during November and December.

Our travel party included two adults and one toddler (age 3.5). We could have fit in any of the room categories, but we decided to book a Superior Cottage for a little extra space. Specifically, we booked the Superior B Cottage. We probably would have preferred the Superior A Cottage, because it has a separate bedroom room and living room, but that wasn’t available during our travel dates.

Speaking of availability, Santa Claus Holiday Village absolutely books up completely, especially during the holiday season. (For example, I’m writing this in May and some of the November and December dates are already unavailable.) We booked our February stay in September, and there was limited availability of room categories and dates at that time.

During the high season (which includes the holidays and the winter season), there is also usually a minimum number of nights you have to book. For example, during our February stay, we had to book at least two nights. Sometimes, the minimum stay is three nights.

As you may have gathered by the apartment-style cottages and prime Santa Claus Village location, Santa Claus Holiday Village is not cheap. The prices are highest at Christmas time, followed by rest of the winter months, with summer being the cheapest. Our two-night stay in a Superior Cottage cost €736.

Getting to Santa Claus Village

Santa Claus Village is located in Rovaniemi, Finland, about 8 km north of the city center.

If you’re coming from a few select cities, you might be able to fly. Rovaniemi has a small airport, that serves a handful of routes, primarily to and from Helsinki. The airport is only a few kilometers away from Santa Claus Village. There is no public transportation between Santa Claus Village and the airport, but it’s just a short taxi ride.

Another popular way to get to Rovaniemi, specifically if you’re traveling from Helsinki, is by train. The Santa Claus Express is an overnight train that runs nightly between Helsinki and Rovaniemi. The Rovaniemi Train Station is near the city center. From the station, you can then take a bus or taxi to Santa Claus Village.

We decided to take the Santa Claus Express, which got us into the Rovaniemi Train Station just after 7:15 AM. Check-in at Santa Claus Holiday Village didn’t officially begin until 4 PM and a lot of attractions in Santa Claus Village didn’t open until at least 11 AM. We weren’t exactly in a hurry, but there also wasn’t much to do in city center either.

Ultimately, we decided to book it to Santa Claus Holiday Village. We hoped that if we beat some of the other guests from the train, we might luck into an early available room. To help us beat the crowds, we scheduled a taxi in advance through Lahitaksi for €31. We easily found our driver at the station and he got us to the hotel just after 7:30 AM.

Note: If you’re taking the Santa Claus Express, you don’t actually need to pre-book a taxi cab. There was a line of taxis at the station when we arrived, so it would have been easy enough to just grab one upon arrival.

Arrival Day & Check-In at Santa Claus Holiday Village

Check-in for the Santa Claus Holiday Village was in the main building. This building had cozy lobby seating, a small children’s play area, the main reception desk, an activities desk, luggage storage, and the main hotel restaurant in the back.

We did beat the rush from the train to the hotel, but we had no luck getting an early room. Even outside of the Holiday rush, there were still no rooms available that early in the day. Check-in officially began at 4 PM, and it seemed like we were going to have to wait until then just like everyone else. (At least we tried, but now you know you don’t have to.)

The lobby restaurant was serving breakfast when we arrived. Our booking included complimentary breakfast, but not on our arrival day. There was an option to purchase breakfast, but since we’d already had an early breakfast on the train, it didn’t seem like it would be worth the money.

Instead, we decided to take that time to explore the grounds. We unpacked our snow gear and then checked the rest of our luggage. (The hotel did not charge a fee for baggage storage.)

Around 8 AM, the sun was just coming up. None of the shops or attractions were open, so the entire village was empty and quiet. There was a constant flurry of snow coming down, just adding to the tallest piles of snow I’d ever seen. It was well below freezing at the time, but we didn’t care. This early morning stroll was one of the main highlights of our stay.

After that, we alternated between sledding down snow piles and warming up in the lobby. By 10 AM, the coffee shop opened, along with the gift shops and post office. We ate an early lunch and happily filled our time until noon, when we wishfully checked on our room again. Again, no such luck.

It was no longer a big deal though, because the rest of our afternoon was booked. We had a snowshoeing excursion from 1 – 4 PM.

Room Review — Superior B Cottage

As soon as we got back to the hotel around 4:30 PM, we checked in at the reception desk. This time, our room was finally ready. (To be clear, they were never later than they said they’d be. We were just very early and optimistic.) We were given our room keys and room number, and they said that our luggage would be delivered to our room shortly.

The Superior Cottages are nicer and newer than the Classic Cottages, but they’re also much further away. Our room specifically was in one of the furthest cottages on property. It took us about 10 minutes to walk from the lobby to our cottage.

All of the cottages looked pretty much the same from the outside. They’re a festive bright red with white trim. Each cottage had a front porch, with a lit Christmas tree and table setting on each side for each.

Except for the suites, all of the cottages had two private rooms inside. There was one front door, which opened up to a heated foyer. From there, there were two (locked) interior doors that opened up to each of the two private cabins. (If you had a larger party and booked both rooms, you could leave the foyer doors open to connect the two spaces.)

The Superior B Cottage was a beautiful room. Upon walking in, there was a small wardrobe. It was constantly snowing during our visit, so it was so convenient to have a place to store our soggy coats and boots as soon as we walked in. There was also an umbrella provided, hanging inside the wardrobe.

The kitchenette was off to one side. I was pretty surprised to find that we had a stove top! There was also a microwave, dishwasher, and coffee and tea station, as well as all the necessary tableware.

Note: It’s maybe worth noting that there was a coffee pot, but the only coffee provided in the room was instant Nescafe. If you wanted to make a whole pot of coffee, I think you’d need to bring the coffee grounds yourself.

In the center of the room was a couch, which pulled out into a sofa bed. We had a toddler on our reservation, so they made the couch into a bed for us before we arrived.

On the other side of the room were two twin beds, pushed together to form a double bed. (We knew that the room we booked would come with two beds, so that’s what we expected.) The beds faced a large TV, and a dresser and closet with tons of storage space.

On the other side of the dresser was a door, which lead to a massive bathroom. There was a standard toilet and sink area on one side. Opposite that, was a standing shower and a private sauna that would probably fit all four people allowed in the room.

Overall, the room was impeccable. It was incredibly spacious, and cozy as could be. From the antlered chandelier to the northern lights photos, the decor really set the scene, not to mention the private sauna. (How Finnish!) Everything was clean and operational, and the bed was so comfortable.

My only complaint about this room was the shower. I’ll admit that I am American, but I do not understand European showers sometimes. The shower was not in a separate stall. When you took a shower, you essentially flooded the entire bathroom. Instead of putting up a ledge or a door, they just give you a squeegee to clean up the water after the fact.

On top of that, the toiletries were across the bathroom and there was no shelf or anything near the actual shower. So you had to walk across the bathroom every time you needed soap or anything. This really meant you had mop up the entire bathroom floor when you were done. The provided shampoo did have glitter in it though, so that’s something.

Anyway, by the time we finished taking photos of the room, our luggage arrived. I was really impressed by how quickly they got it to us. I’m glad I didn’t try to be a hero and pull my suitcase through the snow the whole way.

Sidebar: We did opt to pull our luggage from our room to the lobby for an early morning departure, and it was not fun.

Getting Around Santa Claus Holiday Village

The private cottages give Santa Claus Holiday Village its distinct charm, but that privacy comes at a price. It can be quite a hike to reach your cabin, particularly if you’re in Superior Cottages. The Classic Cottages are closet to the main building, the Suites are closest to Santa Claus Village and the Superior Cottages are close to nothing (except the forest.)

Our cottage ended being being one of the furthest away. It was about a quarter mile (400 meters) from the main building to our room. It took us about 10 minutes to walk from our room to the lobby, and then it was a bit further to get to any of the attractions in Santa Claus Village.

The main way to get around Santa Claus Holiday Village and Santa Claus Village was on foot. Pedestrians and vehicles shared the pathway to the cottages, but there was hardly any vehicle traffic. (It was mostly just the hotel vans delivering luggage and such.) The pathways were regularly plowed and walkable, but still covered with snow.

We’re relatively fit and our toddler is a great little walker. The issue wasn’t so much the distance, but the weather. It was snowing and below freezing (in the 10s Fahrenheit) during our entire visit — and they considered that a warm front! That made the walk feel longer than it was at times.

One silver lining about the constant cold in Rovaniemi though, was that there was not any ice. Once it gets cold and starts snowing in the fall, it rarely gets above freezing until the spring. Since the snow is never melting and thus never refreezing into ice, the roads and walkways were never slippery. (My Midwestern American eyes had never seen such a thing!)

The real winner when it comes to transportation is the kids. During the winter months, there were pull sleds scattered all around the resort area (both the hotel area and Santa Claus Village). These were free and available for anyone to use. The sleds were great for pulling around little kids. (I can’t imagine dealing with a stroller in that level of snow.)

There’s no official sled rental or anything. You could pick up any unused sled on the property, and then just leave it outside when you were done. I’d bet they’re a bit harder to come by at Christmas time, but we were always able to find one in front of the hotel lobby building when we wanted one. We usually left our sled outside of cottage over night, and it was still there waiting for us in the morning.

We’ve never had a stroller, so our toddler was thrilled to have their own personal escort all around town.

Food & Dining Options at Santa Claus Holiday Village

Santa Claus Holiday Village had a handful of restaurants on property.

  • Three Elves Restaurant — Located inside the main lobby building, this restaurant served the breakfast buffet, which was complimentary with most bookings. They also offered lunch and dinner a la carte.
  • Christmas House — This restaurant was across the street from the lobby, and in the same building as their Santa greeting and gift shop. They served lunch and dinner, also a la carte.
  • Santa’s Cuisine — This was a smaller, seasonal restaurant tucked a bit further back between the Classic Cottages and the Superior Cottages. They are open seasonally, and only served lunch as a buffet during our winter visit.

Off the hotel property, there were several other restaurants in Santa Claus Village. These restaurants ranged from a quick service cafe and fast-food pizza spot, to more upscale Scandinavian options, and even an ice restaurant.

The dining situation at the hotel and throughout the resort was probably fine for most people, but it was pretty rough for vegetarians — especially ones that wanted to eat after 5 PM. Presumably because most people visit Santa Claus Village as a day trip, many of the restaurants open late (after 11) and close early (many before 6 PM.)

Breakfast was our most reliable meal of the day, which was complimentary with our booking. The buffet at Three Elves Restaurant was a pretty standard European breakfast spread with cold cuts, pastries and fresh fruit. There was plenty of vegetarian options, and we enjoyed eggs, porridge, waffles, fruit and the like.

Lunch also had some decent options for us. The coffee shop in town had a vegetarian sandwich, Santa’s Pizza and Burger had a vegetarian version of both, and there was a trusty Asian restaurant above the gift shop that we quickly grew to love (despite it’s measly 3.7 star rating on Google.)

By the time dinner rolled around for us though — at roughly 6 PM — many of the restaurants with vegetarian options were closed! Our best options in the evening were Three Elves (expensive and not very good gnocchi), the quick-service restaurant at the front of Snowman World (cauliflower wings and sides) or the our trusty Asian restaurant, Golden Bowl Dim Sum. We ended up eating most of our meals in Rovaniemi at the latter.

We did have one really amazing dining experience, though, and that was at the Ice Restaurant in Snowman World. This was probably our best meal of the trip, and also the most fun. The entire restaurant, including the tables, chairs and all the decor was carved out of ice. Their vegetarian options included a tomato soup or tofu pasta, and both were fantastic.

This one has a bit of an asterisk beside it, because it’s not a restaurant we could have dined at anytime. We had to book a reservation in advance, and walk-ups were not available during our visit. You also needed a ticket to Snowman World to dine there, so it would be a pricy option just for the meal.

Overall though, we felt like finding food was exhausting. We ended up eating a lot of bad food and spending a lot of money on it. (Except for Golden Bowl Dim Sum — that place was the best. We just couldn’t eat there for every meal, every day.)

Note: The exact restaurant hours and availability restaurants vary by season. Many of the restaurants have reduced service in the summer months, or close completely.

Things to do Nearby

Santa Claus Holiday Village was right in the heart of Santa Claus Village. So of course, all of those attractions were within walking distance. This included:

  • Meet Santa* — He’s in his office every day of the year. It’s free to meet him, but photos, videos and gifts cost extra. (Personal photographs are not allowed.)
  • Santa Claus Main Post Office — They sell cards, postcards and stamps inside. It’s a working post office, so you can mail your letters and have them post marked from Santa Claus Village. There’s also a special mailbox for letters to be delivered at Christmas time, no matter when you visit.
  • Snowman World — This ticketed, snow-themed amusement park is only open during the winter season. It has snow and ice slides, ice skating, a snow maze, and an ice restaurant and ice bar.
  • Meet Mrs. Claus — Tucked away behind the reindeer is Mrs. Claus’ cabin. You do have to pay to meet her (5€), plus extra to purchase a photo. Her cabin is very cute though, and has a little coffee shop inside, which is free for anyone to enter.
  • Santa’s Reindeer — You can watch the reindeer for free from the walkway, or you can purchase a sleigh ride. There are a few different routes, which range from €20 to €99 or more.
  • Cross the Arctic Circle — This is mostly a photo op, but a cool one! There are several pillars and a wire marking the Arctic Circle. When you’re north of this line, there is at least one day a year where the sun does not set and one day a year when the sun does not rise.

*Note: There are actually two Santa Claus greetings in Santa Claus Village. The real Santa greets at his office in the main square. The hotel also has a Santa Claus greeting near their gift shop and Christmas House Restaurant, but the other one is better.

Rovaniemi is also in the heart of Finnish Lapland, so don’t miss the chance to explore the Arctic nature. It’s beautiful any time of year, but it feels most notably “Arctic” during the winter months. Some of the highlights include:

  • Snowshoeing
  • Northern Lights Tours (or Midnight Sun in the summer months)
  • Reindeer & Husky Encounters & Sleigh Rides
  • Hiking & Climbing

We opted for a Snowshoeing excursion on our arrival day, and truly had the best time. It said it was for all all ages, but our 3.5-year-old was about as young as a kid could be to actually snowshoe on their own. (They barely fit into the smallest size snowshoes and smallest snow suit. They are a stronger walker, and were just on the edge of physically capable.)

There was an activity desk in the hotel lobby, and they booked all sorts of tours and excursions on the spot. I am more of a planner, so I booked our excursion in advance through Visit Rovaniemi. Our specific tour was the Arctic Snowshoeing day by Nordic Unique Travels.

Is Santa Claus Holiday Village worth it?

At a glance, Santa Claus Holiday Village is a nice hotel in a great location. However, it’s not without faults. With such a high price point during its most popular season, it might leave people asking if it’s worth the price to stay there.

Here are some things to consider.


A huge part of the appeal of Santa Claus Holiday Village is its location next to Santa Claus Village. The value you get out of that location depends on your schedule and plans.

If you’re going to spend multiple days at Santa Claus Village, this premier location is a huge convenience. Since you can walk to and from Santa Claus Village at any time, you can take your time seeing everything, get in the Santa line as early as you want to, and fully immerse yourself into the spirit of the holidays (especially if you’re visiting outside of the actual holiday season.) If you’re traveling with kids, it’s particularly helpful to have a hotel nearby for naps and breaks.

That said, the on-premise location is not necessary for everyone. You can realistically do Santa Claus Village in a single day. If that’s all you need, you can stay in the city center and do it as a day trip. There are several ways to get to Santa Claus Village from the city center, including a city bus, tour group or taxi. This is a great option if you want to spend more time exploring the rest of Lapland. Staying off property also gives you more dining options.

The hotel is also very close to the airport, but I’m not sure that matters much. Santa Claus Holiday Village is about a 5 minute drive to the airport, but city center is only about 5-10 minutes more. You can also take the city bus to the airport from the city center, which is not an option from Santa Claus Holiday Village.

Private Cottages

All of the rooms at Santa Claus Holiday Village hotel are apartment-style cottages, which are scattered around the property.

The cottages themselves are fantastic. The rooms are spacious, clean and very comfortable. They’re beautifully decorated inside and out, from the bright red exterior and Christmas tree on porch, to the Scandinavian decor and the Northern Lights photography on the walls.

All of the rooms also have suite-style amenities, like a kitchenette and sauna. While the kitchenette sounds useful (especially for families), I’m not sure how many people are actually doing much cooking. (There are no grocery stores on property.) I’m sure the sauna gets a lot of use from Nordic and global travelers alike, but we personally didn’t use it.

The biggest downside to the cottage setup is the distance. Some cottages are closer than others, but the furtherest ones are a litter more than a quarter mile away. That means walking 10 to 20 minutes from your room to your destination in most cases. Half the year, that means walking through the snow in pretty cold temperatures.

We didn’t mind the walk, even with our toddler. They have sleds for kids, so we pulled them most of the time. However, it would definitely be hard on people with mobility issues. I know my older parents would have had a hard time making the walk too many times, especially in the snow.


Santa Claus Village is of course the most popular during Christmas time. If you’re traveling during this time, expect high crowds, limited availability, and high prices and minimum stays.

If you’re planning far enough in advance that Santa Claus Holiday Village is even still an option, it’s worth considering. I think it only makes sense if you’re traveling with kids and this is the focal point of your vacation.

In most causes though, I probably would not recommend staying at Santa Claus Holiday Village during peak season. In addition to being more expensive, the minimum stays might be longer than you want or need to stay. Instead, find a more flexible hotel option near the city center (probably for a bit cheaper) and then plan to arrive at Santa Claus Village about one hour before things open to beat the crowds.

The best time to stay at Santa Claus Holiday Village is during the winter months, but after Christmas. This is when you’ll get the most value out of the hotel. You still get to enjoy the North Pole winter wonderland scenery, just with fewer crowds. (Rovaniemi is typically covered with a blanket of snow through mid-April.) Personally, it was also less pressure, because we didn’t have the general stress that sets in on parents during the holiday season.

That leaves us with the moderate seasons of spring, summer and fall. The Lapland area looks absolutely stunning during the warmer months. I’m sure it’s great for hiking, kayaking and general outdoorsiness. It’s just not exactly Christmasy, no matter how many decorations they leave up year round. Not only that, but many of the Santa Claus Village attractions are closed during the summer (including Snowman World, the reindeer activities, and many restaurants.)

You can get a great deal though! You can stay at Santa Claus Holiday Village in the off-season for around €100 a night!

Overall Value

So is it worth it?

[drumroll please]

In our case, yes Staying at Santa Claus Holiday Village was worth it. Our main reason for going to Rovaniemi at all was to spend time in Santa Claus Village with our toddler. Staying on site meant that we got to spend nearly all of our time there. We loved that we could walk (and sled) to Santa Claus Village whenever we wanted, and that we could easily pop back to our room for a midday nap without any hassle.

The snow was also a huge factor. Even though it wasn’t the Christmas season, the snow made it feel like it was. On top of that, Snowman World was the highlight of the trip for our toddler — maybe even the highlight of their whole life. That specific attraction consumed a good chunk of our visit, and it is only open in the winter months.

All that to say, it is worth the price to spend one or two nights at Santa Claus Holiday Village if you’re traveling with children and want to spend multiple days at Santa Claus Village, particularly if you’re traveling in the post-holiday winter months.

It’s probably not worth staying at Santa Claus Village if you’re visiting during the holiday season (too expensive and crowded) or summer season (not enough open), or if you’re only planning to spend a single day at Santa Claus Village (do it as a day trip from city center.) It’s also not a great option for guests who have trouble walking moderate distances.