This fascinating small islet can be found under the name Vartiosaari (Watch Island), on maps of Rovaniemi dating back to as early as 1712. The history of the island consists of a variety of colourful stories, elements of which are still visible in its environment and the architecture. The island belonged to a chemist and who built a villa as a holiday home at the end of the 19th century. In 1880 the island was renamed Ainola after Castrén’s wife. From this era remains a pavilion – now the hotel reception building – as well as a granary and a fountain.
The island was used by the Finnish Defence Forces during the Second World War from 1939 to 1944. It was actively used in military operations. The island was returned to private recreational use in 1973. Visitors have been accommodated here since the 1980s. The islet in the River Kemijoki now invites you to lend an ear to its stories, and enjoy the company of your nearest and dearest and the wonders of the Arctic nature. Step on the bridge to Vartiosaari and write your own chapter in its rich history.
Vartiosaari is run by a privately owned company. One of the owners, Mr. Pentti’s home village, Oikarainen, is only 5 minutes away from the Island.
Our Head Chef Jussi Kumpulainen creates splendid dishes from local ingredients while his wife Satu runs a completely gluten-free bakery.
We have three enthusiastic staff working at our island hotel. Markus is one of the owners while Jenni and Eveliina both have a passion for local wild herbs and Finnish sauna!