Paul, from our PR agency Perowne Charles Communications, recently stayed at the beautiful and remote Javri Lodge in Finnish Lapland, here’s what he thought.
As if taking its cue from the peace and tranquility of nature around it, Jávri Lodge was itself once home to world peace. This 10-bedroom wooden lodge, built from the most beautiful pine, was the winter home of Urho Kekkonen, the longest serving President of Finland. Kekkonen witnessed the ups and downs of global politics while in office between 1956 and 1982 and invited Heads of State and Royalty (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is believed to have stayed here) to relax in this stunning part of Lapland.
During the Cold War period of the 1970s, President Kekkonen certainly played host at Jávri Lodge to Russian ministers, King Hussein of Jordan, Yasser Arafat and Israel’s Moshe Dayan, among others, in the belief that a home on the edge of Finland’s second biggest national park could lend itself to “relaxed negotiation” and hopefully agreement.
Relaxation is certainly top of the agenda now. Jávri Lodge, less than 30 minutes from Ivalo Airport, has been bought by a local restaurateur and entrepreneur who has restored it to the ultimate winter home. There is so much mesmerising wood in this hotel that it is almost a shrine to Finnish pine.
The bedrooms are furnished with stylish Finnish furniture while a swimming pool, two saunas and lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows enable guests to truly relax like a Finn.
But it’s perhaps the food at Jávri Lodge that is most compelling. It has to be the best place to eat in Lapland, perhaps even Finland, as the chef cooks up to-die-for menus full of forest freshness – including cloudberries, reindeer meat (you can even roast your own reindeer sausages on one of the many open fires) and mushrooms straight from the forest floor.
If the food doesn’t make you fall in love with the lodge, the outdoors will. Cross-country skiing, husky racing, tobogganing and snowmobiling are right on the doorstep here, 250km north of the Arctic Circle.
Today’s guests couldn’t be further from the Cold War politics of those who stayed in the 1970s. Warmth is the watchword now – Jávri Lodge provides it every day.