When planning a European winter sports holiday, many people automatically think of the Alps. However, for a truly magical experience, we recommend looking further north and trying the snow-sure resort of Levi inside the Arctic Circle. After skiing, dog-sledding or (in summer) playing golf, where better to retire to than luxury villa Levinutsu, with its own private hot-tub?
For any keen skier or snowboarder, many hours are spent before a holiday looking at weather reports, keeping fingers crossed that snow conditions will be suitable for sliding down a mountain. When you are as far north as Levi, this worry is taken away as the resort is snow sure and generally open from November to May. In the darker months, some runs are not officially open due to low light levels but many pistes are floodlit so you can ski from early morning until evening. Travelling here is easy with the nearest airport Kittilä just 20 minutes away – we recommend flying with Finnair (you can even use Avios!).
Winter sports are the main attraction for most but in summer of course the days as as endless as the winter nights. Then the walkers will love the forest trails and there is a full-size golf course on the other side of the mountain.
Levinutsu is a luxury villa in Utsuvaara, one of the most prestigious areas in which to stay and play in one of Europe’s last few remaining areas of wilderness. The nearest ski-lift is just 400 m away and it is easy to walk, board or cross-country ski to the front door. South Point, with its heated chair-lift, is just a 10 minute drive away and a further 10 minutes brings you to the town of Levi with supermarkets, bars and restaurants. Alternatively, it is possible to take the nearest lift to the mountain peak and then ski or board into town.
Style and Character
This exclusive villa is everything you would hope for in Lapland – pine structure, Scandinavian decor and reindeer skins a plenty. The large log-burning stove in the lounge provides the perfect cosy atmosphere and the open-plan kitchen, diner and living area makes this the perfect space for socialising.
Services and Facilities
Levinutsu really is a home from home and every need is catered for. No need for concerns about entering a cold house – it might be -20 C outside but Hari, the owner, makes sure the house is warm for arrival. Also, no worries about what time you arrive – a coded key box provides entry. We would recommend hiring the Levinutsu VW Golf, which can be collected from the airport on arrival and comes equipped with winter tyres, plug-in pre-warmer and roof box for all that ski gear. When departing, you can simply park the car and give the key to the airport information office – it is so easy.
The kitchen is well enough equipped to cater for family and friends and a large supply of firewood, paper and matches are thoughtfully provided. Naturally, a boot and ski drier and warmer is perfectly placed in a utility room near the door. Fast, reliable broadband is available via a 4G hotspot – who’d have thought we would be able to stream video inside the Arctic Circle?
This superbly equipped villa can easily sleep six-eight adults in 3 bedrooms (we know, we’ve tried it with friends). The kitchen table seats 8 and the fridge/freezer are plenty large enough for all the beer, wine and food that a party of adults can consume. The double shower-room and sauna on the ground floor is spacious (there is also an upstairs shower) and the sauna can be set on a timer to be hot when you return from skiing, husky sledging or just walking in the winter wonderland on your doorstep. More importantly for some, the hot-tub seats six comfortably and may just be the best place on Earth to watch the extraordinary Northern Lights. We were lucky enough to be treated to an amazing display on New Year’s Eve – it certainly beats firework displays.
Food and Drink
Levinutsu is self-catering, though there are restaurants either in Levi or a short walk away at the nearby Leviniglut hotel. The kitchen holds a range of essentials, such as pasta, cereal and coffee, as well as basic cooking ingredients.
Coming back to the villa after a days’ skiing, chilling out in front of a log-fire, counting the stars with a glass of bubbly in the hot-tub, warming up in the sauna before showering and collapsing into a comfortable bed. That’s my idea of luxury. Add a few friends and Levinutsu becomes one of the most memorable places we’ve been. We mean to keep coming back year after year.
Disclosure: Most reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.