The reason for visiting Haltia Lake Lodge is nature itself. Just 30 minutes from Helsinki, you will find breathtakingly beautiful scenery here. Lakes, forests, canyons, wetlands and rugged cliffs cover the landscape and provide an exceptional backdrop for various activities such as hiking, canoeing, mountain biking or bird watching. Here everyone will find a way to experience and enjoy nature and its healing powers, far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The lodge opened in August 2021. It is privately owned by five Finns who love the great outdoors. The house consists of two separate buildings that were formerly used as dormitories for the neighboring Solvalla Sports Institute. After purchasing the property, the owners have completely renovated it, turning the outdated dormitories into a stylish boutique hotel complex.
The lodge is very small with 20 rooms and five glamping tents. The forest lounge & bar serves as a living room for guests and, like the rooms, has a very cozy character. The style is unique and the whole concept is a mix of Finnish design and recycled furniture and materials. A large part of the details and items were designed with the innovative Plan B team from Kierrätyskeskus, Greater Helsinki's reuse centre.
The Finnish nature center Haltia is right next to the lodge. There are fantastic exhibitions, gear hire, a trekking equipment and gift shop, Haltia Restaurant, excellent meeting and sauna facilities, as well as an accessible lookout point, campfire sites and courses and events tailored to each season. The surrounding Nuuksio National Park has a network of tens of kilometers of hiking trails, and there are also several activities offered by both the lodge and local outdoor businesses.
|Double room||from168 €|
ArchitectureThe two lodge buildings served as student residences for two decades. The renovation in 2021 mainly used recycled materials and upcycled/recycled furniture. For example, the lamps in the hotel rooms are made from pea soup cans and the ceiling material in the forest bar and lounge is made from peat moss.
FoodAs the lodge is surrounded by Nuuksio National Park and lives in symbiosis with nature, seasonal, local ingredients are used whenever possible. Beef and pork are avoided and mainly cooked with venison. In summer there are herbs from our own garden. Breakfast is thought through from the point of view of avoiding food waste. Guests cook their own eggs, for example, and breakfast is served on plates rather than as a buffet. There are no single-use plastics, cups and the like either. Haltia Lake Lodge does not have its own restaurant, but there is a selection of simple, organic bistro fare in the Forest Lounge & Bar. The most popular dishes are the pulled elk sandwich and venison sausage platter - all ingredients are locally sourced relate.
The staff is multicultural, in addition to Finnish people, people from Mexico and Vietnam also work in the lodge. The working conditions are very flexible. Free use of accommodation between evening and morning shifts is always supported. There are also regular development meetings and get-togethers for employees to ensure that their ideas and initiatives are heard.
EnvironmentIn less than a year after opening (in August 2021), the lodge has received both the Green Key certificate and the Sustainable Travel Finland label. The hosts work closely with the local recycling center: most of the furniture, crockery and cutlery is recycled or upcycled and all waste is also recycled extensively and efficiently. The lodge is committed to the sustainability goals of the Finnish Forest Service (FFA) and also became the first establishment in the Nordic countries to join the Hotels for Trees program in February 2022. In November 2022, Haltia Lake Lodge was announced as “The Best Sustainable Hotel: Europe” at the World Boutique Hotel Awards in London.
Well-BeingThere are several saunas in the area, forest yoga is offered, you can go looking for herbs, mushrooms and berries or go on body care hikes. The area is also great for canoeing, kayaking, e-fat biking, fishing, bird watching, skiing or snowshoeing.
Empty wooden picture frames decorate walls, painted pea-soup tins (a classic hiker’s meal) serve as lampshades and woodchips have been moulded to create bathroom sinks — a pioneering eco technique. Even though few pieces are the same, there’s a harmony to the design; reflecting its wild surroundings, Haltia is strikingly unique and satisfyingly sustainable.
I sleep in one of five new heated wood-and-canvas glamping domes, set on a slope rising above the property with balcony views to the mist-shrouded lake. Ravens darker than midnight fly through bristling pines and the stillness is broken only by a woodpecker’s screech.
Winner: Europe, 2022
|Double room||from168 €|
From Helsinki it is a good half hour drive to Haltia Lake Lodge (37 km). From Turku it takes a good 1.5 hours (150 km). The exact address can be found on the lodge's website.
The nearest train station is in Espoon keskus. From there there is a bus to Haltia Lake Lodge twice an hour. The total travel time from Helsinki to Haltia is just under an hour by public transport.
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