Review: The Glass Domed Cabins At Wilderness Hotel Nangu (Lapland, Finland)
As soon as I decided that Finnish Lapland was going to be in my winter trip itinerary, my mind wandered to whether this was the perfect trip to stay in a glass dome hotel.
Since first seeing a photo of Finland’s glowing glass domes nestled in sparkling snow, I’ve wanted to try them out. And while I did some research and found true full glass domes in Finland, they didn’t feel quite right (more on that below). Instead, I decided on Wilderness Hotel Nangu’s (half-dome) Aurora Cabins.
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So I wanted to share my experience and a detailed review of Wilderness Nangu. (I will also apologize up front for the terrible pics…it was dark most of the time and in tight quarters.)
Is this the best Northern Lights hotel (Finland Lapland area)?
From a hotel standpoint, Nangu is probably one of the top options (I’ve already talked about our stunning Northern Lights mobile cabin experience). You can look up reviews on TripAdvisor as well. I looked at both of the Wilderness hotels (Nangu and its sister hotel, Inari), they both have similar types of accommodations so it came down to availability.
The other one I would definitely look at next time was Aurora Village cabins…we stopped by there briefly to look at the reindeer and it seemed charming, gets great reviews.
The one that I would personally steer clear of is the most well-known, Kakslauttanen. They’re those amazing-looking full glass domes you see on Pinterest. I assumed that’s where I’d end up, but I found the reviews kind of mixed and it seemed really touristy.
A month later someone I know stayed there and she said she wouldn’t recommend it—while the cabins were amazing (without private showers though), she said it was pricey, average food, poor customer service, and felt really uncomfortable with how the tour animals were treated.
Please note: I am not affiliated with this hotel in any way and paid for my stay. There are a few affiliate links throughout the post from which I may earn a small commission for any qualifying bookings (which I greatly appreciate, and at no extra cost to you), but all opinions are, as always, completely my own. Learn more in my Disclosure Policy.
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A TL;dr review of Nangu’s glass igloo in Finland
I’ve got a much more detailed review of the hotel below, including lots of photos, but if you’re in a hurry here’s my “short and sweet” version.
I typically book hotels Booking.com (this is the direct link for Wilderness Nangu), though in a few cases I’ll book directly through the hotel’s website (only if there’s a benefit to doing so, such as better pricing or amenities).
- I stayed in their Aurora Log Cabin, which are a half glass dome. The windows get covered in snow but there’s a little heater knob you can use to melt the snow (very neat!).
- The cabin had a really comfy bed, and overall made good use of the extremely limited space. It was warm and cozy, and the bathroom was nice. Everything was super clean.
- The half-dome windows look upward…there are trees around but I feel like you could probably see a decent bit of sky. There is, however, a decent amount of light pollution from the other cabins.
- They offer other room types, including a super intriguing Glass Hut Lake Dome…this wasn’t available the dates we were there, but it’s definitely worth looking into!
- Breakfast and dinner were included in our stay, and the food experience was good overall. Dinner was a buffet of salads, bread and soup, and then the entree was reindeer with basil potato purée & red wine sauce (pretty good!). The cocktails were interesting and delicious. Breakfast was average.
- One important note—there is no wifi in the Aurora Log Cabins (the half glass dome)!
- We didn’t really get to take advantage of any of the other amenities or get a good feel for the service, the excursions, or anything else. It was a pretty short stay—got in around dinner time and left around 9am.
Want to know (and see) more?? Read on…
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What to pack for your Lapland adventures
I’ve written a more detailed post about what to wear in Finland in winter, which you should check out. If you’re visiting in the winter to see the Northern Lights, you’ll definitely want to be prepared for intense winter weather.
Here were some of the key items that kept me warm and cozy.
- Bottoms: I was wearing my thicker fleece-lined leggings since we weren’t doing too much else that day. I have a deeper post on my fave pairs of fleece-lined leggings to see which work best for you.
- Tops: I didn’t like lots of bulk, so I wore one of my favorite merino wool thermal tops with a fleece zip-up over it.
- Outerwear: I brought my intense & beautiful Helly Hansen coat (which I smooshed under the snowsuit), and opted for my fleece headband vs. my cuter hat (since I knew I’d want to use my coat hood), these gloves (CLUTCH, with the touchscreen capabilities) and my merino wool neck gaiter.
- Footwear: I fell in love with the Sorel snow boots I brought…easy to slip in and out of when needed, and layered a couple pairs of merino wool socks (these and these were my go-to’s). I did go ahead and use the boots provided by the tour, to avoid getting mine wet dog-smelly.
- I strongly recommend having one or two external batteries (this is the brand I recommend), fully charged…I definitely needed to charge up my phone after the tour!
- I packed my trusty carry-on suitcase and brought an Osprey daypack with camera gear, computer, etc.
If you truly don’t have any winter gear and don’t want to invest, another option would be to rent winter clothing and gear locally. We met a Swiss couple who told us they rented their coats, boots, hats, etc for like 50 euros apiece for the week. Not a bad deal!
And check out my super detailed Arctic winter packing list if you’re planning to do other things in Lapland!
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A review of Wilderness Hotel Nangu
We had rented a car to get around the area (hard to imagine any other way to get around) and found the driving on the snow-packed roads to be pretty easy. I’ve done a deeper post on driving in Lapland in winter, including tips, safety, & rental cars. We got checked in easily and then hauled our stuff to our cabin.
Since dinner service was already in session (and it was alreaady dark), we headed that way and then explored our cabin later. One thing to note is that Nangu offers a handful of different accommodations, including the glass dome cabins, a panoramic log cabin, regular rooms, and a fascinating glass hut set right on Lake Inari.
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The half dome cabins
But we’ll start with the cabins, because let’s face it—that’s why we’re here. The Aurora Log Cabins are round wooden buildings, with half of the roof being glass.
As you can see, they’re set pretty close to each other which does make light pollution an issue. But not too many trees to block the view.
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Inside the room it was cute and cozy (and pretty tight quarters). As you can see, the bed takes center stage, and takes up most of the room. I found the bed super comfy (and that’s not something I say about hotel beds often).
If you lay on the bed you’ll be looking right up at the windows, so if the Northern Lights are visible you don’t have to work for it.
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The rest of the room is limited, with a chair (helpful!) and a small bar area behind the bed for setting drinks or anything else needed.
The bathroom is a separate room (with no windows) that’s pretty big all things considered. They do provide nice (enough) toiletries as well.
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The restaurant & resort grounds
We didn’t get a chance to explore the full resort grounds much, but did spend time in the reception area and dining room (which are in the same building).
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Breakfast and dinner were included with our room rate. Dinner included a buffet of different salads, bread and soup, and the entree of the day. The entree that night was reindeer tenderloin with basil potato purée and red wine sauce—it was delicious!
One thing I will shout out is that the cocktails (not included in the price) on the menu were really interesting, and the two that we ordered were great.
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Breakfast is buffet-style, and was okay though kind of a random assorment of things. That’s pretty normal in Europe, and I’m not really a breakfast buffet person in general. Coffee is included, but espresso drinks cost extra and weren’t that great (I’d stick with the drip coffee).
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The glass dome cabin at night
Okay, back to the cabin…sorry, I realize we’re kind of jumping around. We finally figured out how to melt the snow on the windows so that we had a clear view. But the lights from the resort (for safety walking around) and nearby cabins did make some reflections that were harder to see.
It was an overcast night though, so we weren’t missing much. We turned off our light pretty much right away and just used our phones so as not to spoil other people’s experience.
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One thing to be aware of—there is no wifi in the cabins!! That was a real bummer, because then you’re there at night in the dark going…so, what do I do?
I kept having to turn on my cellular data briefly as we were waiting to hear from a tour guide about a Northern Lights tour that night, which was canceled due to it being overcast.
So my cousin and I just chilled and drank, with me reading my Kindle and her on her phone using cellular data. We’d picked up some super random and confusing drinks at the grocery store on the way, and put them outside in the snow to chill.
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We made an early night of it since the Northern Lights weren’t cooperating and woke up to a gray morning. I got the snow melted back off and laid back to enjoy a peaceful view.
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This gives you a sense of how close the cabins were to the others. The first pic is the view from our windows to the right. The second pic is looking out forward.
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Hopefully this review gives you a good idea of what to expect from Wilderness Hotel Nangu, and will help you decide if these are the glass domes in Finland that you’re looking for!
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