The nearest real hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It has been noted that Rovaniemi was host to 30 boarding houses during the 1930s. Nevertheless, the city lacked high-standard hotel accommodation, and demanding travellers had to be directed elsewhere – to “real hotels” as far away as Luleå, Sweden.


Pohjanhovi was opened in 1936 and it developed into a nationally renowned, magnetic tourist destination. It was designed by architects Märta and Pauli Blomstedt. During the war, the hotel served many high-ranking military personages. In the tragic events associated with the Lapland War, Pohjanhovi was burnt to the ground. After the war, the hotel was opened as a ‘log restaurant’. Hovinpohja represents a colourful stage in the history of the city’s reconstruction period. The new hotel was designed by architect Aulis E. Hämäläinen and was opened in 1947.

The flagship of Rovaniemi’s tourism, Pohjanhovi stands on the banks of the Kemi River. Hotel Pohjanhovi has never been merely a lodge or eatery. This particular ‘ship’ has been host to both legendary tales and legendary people. Pohjanhovi is one of the most significant buildings in the cultural history of Rovaniemi and Lapland as a whole.

The personnel of Pohjanhovi received the honour of acting as President Kekkonen’s credit representative whenever he travelled in Rovaniemi and Lapland either alone or with his guests. The renowned master storyteller of Lapland, Nätti-Jussi, also spread both his tales and his bank notes in the hotel on innumerable occasions. The hotel is still popular for its restaurant with dance floor, its lodgings, and as a tourist destination.

Hotel/Restaurant Aslak


Hotel/Restaurant Aslak, maintained by Matkaravinto Oy, operates in connection with the coach station. The hotel was opened together with the coach station and a self-service restaurant in 1959.

Hotel Polar


It was only in 1960 that a second ”real” hotel was opened. The new, sophisticated Hotel Polar opened its doors in ”the land of the northern lights” (as its advertising slogan put it) in September 1960 at 23 Valtakatu Street. The Polar hotel chain then built Hotel Polar Ounasvaara in 1968, which has subsequently operated under the names Motorest and the Sky Hotel. Boarding houses and camping areas


It is noted that thirty boarding houses were in operation in the town during the 1930s. After the war ended, several boarding houses were opened, many of which operated for decades: Kaira (owned by Irja Hallikainen) at 30 Kairatie Road (1947-1978), Lappi at 10 Rovakatu Street (1947-1978), Val-livaara at 5 Markkinakatu Street (1947-1960) and Outa (owned by Vallivaara) at 16 Ukkoherran-katu Street from 1960 onwards. In 1960, the Rovaniemi Boarding House initiated operations at 16 Hallituskatu Street. Pohjola received overnight lodgers from 1965 onwards at 27 Koskikatu Street (a Jugend-style building known for the Aho car dealership).


In the Lapland directory from 1951, the following boarding hourse are also mentioned: Ounas (7 Urheilukatu Street), Korhonen (23 Rovakatu Street) and Salo (20 Rovakatu Street).


The camping area to the side of the Ounasjoki River which flanks Rautatiesilta Bridge began its operations in 1955. Permission was granted to take the cottage and other buildings into use in 1962. The camping area still operates at its original location close to the city centre. The city’s general beach is on the same side of the river on a site neighbouring the camping grounds, and concerts as well as other cultural events are arranged in the shore area.


Saarituvat [Island Cabins] is located a few kilometres away from the city centre in the direction of Kuusamo, while the Pohtimolampi Youth Hostel is found in the direction of Pelto. Rova Motel (1974) is situated alongside Kemintie Road.



At the Hotel Pohjanhovi in Rovaniemi, one wealthy businessman bragged about being so rich that he could buy all of Finland.

Nätti-Jussi listened for a little while from the other table to the businessman’s boasts and then commented dryly:

“How can you buy it – since I’m not selling?”


(Pentti Harjumaa. Nätti-Jussin tarinoita I [Nätti-Jussi’s tales I], p. 11)

 

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Land of the Arctic Circle
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Mountain of the
Midnight Sun

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Finland’s Klondike
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From sleigh rides to the
age of the Concorde

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The nearest real hotel
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Santa Claus Land
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A city called by many
names - and the heroes
take the spoils

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Hudson Strode:
Snapshots from
the summer of 1939

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Travellers in Lapland - Info - © 2007 University of Lapland