A first-of-its-kind resort in the heart of the Arctic brings sustainable luxury together with personal healing.
When people have a personal connection to nature, they’re more likely to want to protect it. And when that experience is coupled with their own personal healing, the impact can be even more profound. For Luxury Action’s Founder and CEO, Janne Honkanen, that’s the motivation behind Octola Private Wilderness in the northernmost part of Finland.
Octola is located in an expanse of 400 hectares of pine forest — a completely remote location immersed in nature. It now boasts “the first private spa in the Arctic,” which opened last year.
“I’m a firm believer in the physical and spiritual healing power of nature,” Honkanen said in a recent press release. “Octola has been designed to provide the inspiration and relaxation that this unique wilderness location can provide.”
Octola Private Wildnerness
The new spa features three different pools — including a cold plunge aimed at mimicking the experience of the regional waters. There’s also an outdoor hot tub for forest and star gazing — and often a glimpse of the Northern Lights. and the spa features two new saunas, including a Nordic-inspired log-lined sauna and an outdoor option made from ice blocks.
Octala is the first five-star sustainable resort and spa in the region to boast a negative carbon footprint — a commitment paramount to Luxury Action’s approach to tourism. It believes sustainability is the ultimate luxury.
“I conceived Octola in line with my philosophy of luxury in Lapland,” Honkanen says. “That philosophy is to be secluded, far from the crowds, and to be at one with nature, but with access to every conceivable private service and comfort. For Octola to offer a full range of high-end facilities, the availability of a top-class spa was always a key aspect of my vision.”
The facility, which includes a ten-bedroom private lodge and a two-bedroom luxury villa, was built using sustainable and authentic local Lapp and Sámi traditions and contemporary design. The Sámi are a Finno-Ugric-speaking people based across the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, as well as parts of Russia known as Sápmi.
“From the beginning, I wanted the contribution of a Sámi architect, who understood my philosophy of ‘new luxury,'” Honkanen says. Even the shape of Octola is derived from traditional Lapp ’laavu’ buildings once widely used by nomadic people of the region.
Luxury Action says the sustainable technology firm AFRY verified Octola’s negative carbon footprint last year. Its “eco-credentials” include fully green energy sources from wind, geothermal heating, and drinking water comes from an onsite spring. Food is sourced locally and prepared in-house.
Octola says its use of petroleum-based activities is “closely monitored” and designed to “create as little environmental impact as possible.”
The resort is also responsible for its stewardship of the surrounding wilderness, as it provides a very localized carbon sink for the property.
Octola joins a growing movement of luxury hotels and resorts embracing sustainability as a key component in responsible hotel management and as a means to connect guests to their environment.
Efforts like the Four Seasons’ Naviva Resort in Mexico. It’s a tented property surrounded by nature with bespoke guest curriculums and the ethos to “live naturally.” There’s also the first Hilton in the Galápagos Islands, among other nature-immersed properties.
“Having hunted for the right place to accommodate the discerning guests of our Luxury Action travel company, I eventually realized the right property did not exist in the right location,” Honkanen says on the resort’s website.
“That’s when I decided the only option was to build our very own log chalet. Traditionally, we have managed or rented private chalets in various locations around Lapland, then refurnished them to meet the individual standards of our guests.
“As fun and instructive this concept has been, implementing interior design on a one-by-one basis is costly and time-consuming. In addition, regardless of our efforts to upgrade the existing chalets in Lapland, although of excellent quality, tend to have very small rooms and only a few properties have en-suite bedrooms with shower and toilet. I felt it was time for a revolutional change to provide exclusive accommodation in the Arctic that meets the needs of our experiential guests.”
Honkanen says the resort offers guests the opportunity to leave the stress of the day-to-day world behind and find healing and connection in the natural beauty of the Lapland forest.
“Part of my philosophy of luxury in Lapland is to be secluded, far from the crowds, and to be at one with nature, but with access to every conceivable private service and comfort,” he says. “It is in such a place that I find inspiration and relaxation. It is my wish that this is where you will find them also.”
Related on Ethos: