Hoping to catch a glimpse of that elusive lady of the Arctic, Aurora Borealis, Annette and I arrive in Alta on a snowy Thursday morning in February. The plan is to couch surf at Ann-Mari‘s house for a couple of nights. But she has a surprise in store: the good folks at NORD Ekspedisjon have invited us to spend a night at Alten Lodge on top of Mount Sarves. We’re in for a treat!

The facts: 4 buildings, a lavvo, a jacuzzi

The lodge comprises four buildings. The main house has 9 double rooms, a large kitchen/dining room and a spacious lounge with panorama windows and a fireplace. There’s also an indoor sauna with an outdoor jacuzzi, as well as a lavvo (traditional Sami tent) and an outside barbecue (if you can find it underneath all the snow; perhaps more of a summery thing, that BBQ). All in all, it’s a perfect venue for company getaways, a group of friends, a family celebration, three blogger buddies…

Additionally, it’s possible to rent one of the three adjacent cabins, or all three. Each sleeps 4 adults and 2 children and has its own kitchen, living room and sauna. There’s lots of parking spaces.

The Vibe: hot tub and logs crackling

So here we are, the three of us, having a lodge with room for 35, all to ourselves. Nice!

Ann-Mari has of course thought of everything, i.e. brought local food we’ll cook for dinner, and, most importantly, a bottle of André Clouet Un Jour de 1911. Très délicieux!

The dining room is big enough for quite the dinner party, and the kitchen has all you need to make it a fabulous one. The fridge is practically its own room, there’s enough dishes, glasses and cutlery to feed an army; there’s a coffee maker, an electric kettle, a fast-working dishwasher, a multifunctional oven and a state-of-the-art induction stovetop (so state-of-the-art, as a matter of fact, we couldn’t find out how to work it at first. But amazing what an instruction booklet can do, eh?)

We cook our own dinner (reindeer, natch), but it’s also possible to have it catered from snazzy restaurant Stakeriet in downtown Alta.

Kitchen photos by Alltid Reiseklar

But enough with the indoors already! Only a few metres from the house is the jacuzzi, all ours to laze about in and watch the snow fall, evaporating just before it hits our heads. This is exciting!

Giving you two photos here: one to show the size/location of the tub, and one to show how thrilled we are to be here.

 

Loving the lighting. Now, if only Aurora could reveal herself in all her kaleidoscopic glory.

Our lavvo for the night is just behind the eager snow shoveller there. And at the blue hour, it looks right out of a Nordic fairy-tale. Doesn’t look like you could have 35 for dinner in there, does it? Well, it’s a bit like an iceberg, you see. Most is behind and beneath the snow.

 

Wanna see the inside? Here’s a small part of it: tables all around the perimeter, and a large, crackling fireplace in the middle.

Since we’ve had dinner inside, we have tea out here in the lavvo, boiling the water in what could possibly be the world’s largest kettle. As you can see, the lavvo has a wooden floor, and plenty of logs. There’s also a proper door, a heater and reindeer skin to sit on. Still, better start that fire a bit before you plan to hang out in here. There’s also a bar and a screen, so you can have your own lavvo cinema here; y’know, show business presentations or silly vids of the teenagers when they were 3 years old and liked to run around naked and sing.

The rooms: soft and snuggly

In the main house, some bedrooms are upstairs and some downstairs, each with its own ensuite bathroom. The feel is that of a typical Norwegian cabin: clean, rustic and comfortable.

Things to do in the neighbourhood

Skiing, that’s what. Cross-country and downhill. There’s also skidooing across Finnmarksvidda Plateau, and all the other activities I’ve told you about in this post. Have a look at other activities on offer here.

 

What I loved about Alten Lodge

  • That jacuzzi!!
  • The atmosphere
  • Views to die for; mountains all around and Alta’s skyline down below on the horizon
  • Huddling around the fireplace in the lavvo with a steaming cup of tea
  • Putting my feet up in the high-ceilinged, super-cosy living room, watching snow fall outside the panorama windows
  • Cooking in the large kitchen while dancing to my own music on the Bluetooth speakers
  • Snuggling under the covers with the windows open at night (warm body, cool head) – and hearing only the silence of winter
  • And did I mention, that jacuzzi?

 

What to know

  • Alten Lodge is 20/15 km from Alta city centre/airport respectively. Public transport is not very frequent. Transfer can be arranged, but in this part of Norway, having your own wheels is highly recommended.
  • The jacuzzi is only for the use of guests in the main building.
  • Just like the state-of-the-art stove top, the electronic door lock can also be a bit of a challenge.
  • Amongst the many, many, many glasses in the cupboards, there isn’t proper champagne ones, according to our local bubbly aficionado. Gasp, the horror! 🙂

Full specs can be found here.

Disclosure: Annette of The Nordic Escape and I travelled to Alta simply to hang out with our buddy, Ann-Mari of Alltid reiseklar and see Aurora Borealis. Then, momentum hit (i.e. Ann-Mari), and we were enticed to all kinds of delightful wintry Finnmark experiences, including an invitation to spend a night in the lovely Alten Lodge.

Every word and opinion are all mine, as always, as ever. Otherwise, this would be meaningless. Oh, and those Northern Lights? ‘Fraid not. Aurora was as elusive as ever. And we have an excuse to return.