“The hotel’s lobby, known as “the million hall”, is almost in its original state from the 50s.
When the Russian emperor Nicholas II gave his “Gracious Commandment” to establish a forest ranger school in Hirvas, Rovaniemi, Lapland became a very different place. The northernmost area in Finland has lived from its forests for centuries and so the forest academy stayed open in Hirvas in Rovaniemi until the year 2004 when it was closed down.
Nowadays Lapland is known as a winter wonderland, especially abroad, and now even the summer activities are getting more popular among travelers. The forest academy of Metsähirvas is one of the public historical buildings that have been turned into accommodations. Hotel Metsähirvas opened in December 2018.
Behind the hotel Metsähirvas is a local family business that bought the old school building from the city a couple of years ago. According to the hotel’s CEO Jukka Sirviö, both the forest and the school’s history have been taken into account when creating something new.
“The hotel’s lobby, known as “the million hall”, is almost in its original state from the 50s. After the wars they did not save money on the rebuilding materials”, Sirviö tells, and that is why “million” is part of the name.
“The first thing we did when we bought this was to change the heating of the estate to wood fuel. We want to respect the area’s history and nature by producing the buildings’ heating energy with wood instead of oil”, Sirviö continues.
All three floors with rooms have been renewed from floor to ceiling and from some of them the beautiful view to the river bank is visible. Even the standard rooms are quite luxurious since in the old times the rooms were built very spacious and ceilings put high. This airiness makes staying in the rooms very enjoyable.
In the traveler’s point of view, Hotel Metsähirvas also has other pleasurable qualities like the large parking area, an à la carte restaurant and the calm of nature, in addition to the shiny surfaces and soft beds. Locality and tranquility are two of the hotel’s most important values.
“Our Saihu restaurant has menus for breakfast and dinner. The use of local ingredients and ecology are very important for us in preparing food. People come to our hotel to enjoy Lapland, its best flavors and ambiance”, the co-owner Mikko Sirviö adds.
Hotel Metsähirvas is located approximately 15 minutes away from the Rovaniemi city center by car. Close enough for easy access but sufficiently far to not be bothered by the commotion of the city. Metsähirvas is much more than merely an accommodations destination.
“The nature starts in front of the reception, after just a few steps down. One can start skiing, snowshoeing or hiking from there, or go ice-fishing, roast sausages at the riverside lean-to or go for a sauna and bathing. These are all local things everybody is interested in”, Sirviö explains.
“People who are somehow tied to the building i.e. old students of the academy or their offspring and also people interested in history have also shown interest in Metsähirvas.
In the same location, together with hotel Metsähirvas, is also the guesthouse Matkamiehen majatalo for those who wish to stay for a longer time and would like to rent a room by months.
Most visitors in the guesthouse are workers and in the hotel it’s more so travelers.
“People who are somehow tied to the building i.e. old students of the academy or their offspring and also people interested in history have also shown interest in Metsähirvas. During World War 2 this building was a German hospital and thanks to that it has remained undamaged. Descendants of those who experienced those times have also come visit the place”, Sirviö tells.
For the quality-price ratio, Hotel Metsähirvas is a noteworthy option if one is looking for accommodation in Rovaniemi. The starting prices of the standard rooms are below a hundred euros. The hotel also provides transportation for its guests to and from the airport and the train and bus stations, but also elsewhere if needed. From the hotel it is easy to access other activities in the area and for example Santa Claus Village is also only half an hour away.
Check out this nice video about Hotel Metsähirvas