3 x sustainable hotels to stay overnight in Finland

Credits: Järvisydän


Resort that helps the otters, 100-year old boat at the reception and special program for guests with physical disabilities

Learn how these accommodation providers have taken sustainability into their everyday operations
Credits: Järvisydän

Lehmonkärki, Asikkala, Lahti region

Lehmonkärki is a family-owned holiday resort whose history began almost 60 years ago. There are 20 different villas and cottages to choose from, with a total of 140 beds. Lehmonkärki offers quality accommodation, restaurant and sauna services, as well as activities for groups. Additionally, there is plenty of equipment available for independent customers, such as kayaks and electric mountain bikes.

The resort is situated on the beautiful lakeshore of Päijänne, one of the biggest lakes in Finland, in the municipality of Asikkala. It is a bit less than a 2-hour drive from Helsinki and about 40 minutes from the city center of Lahti.

Lehmonkärki has been investing in sustainable development already for decades. For instance, the resort uses 100% renewable electricity, environmentally friendly products, and resource-efficient technology. Over the last five years, the company has installed solar panels, in addition to existing geothermal heating systems as well as energy-efficient air source heat pumps.

Environmental impact is always considered when the company is building or repairing its properties, with the idea of minimizing environmental impact as much as possible and choosing maximally environmentally friendly options.

One of the crucial aspects for Lehmonkärki is customer satisfaction and loyalty based on mutual trust. Thus, when cooperating with other local service providers, Lehmonkärki selects operators that share the same values. Currently, Lehmonkärki is actively investing in product development, expanding its offerings more towards year-round operations.

If you're looking to highlight one interesting fact about the company, it's the ice holes. The resort intentionally keeps portions of the lake ice-free for customers who enjoy ice swimming. Surprisingly, these ice holes have attracted not only human swimmers but also otters. The otters have discovered ice holes too and utilize them for their own diving training sessions.

The otter's visit at Lehmonkärki waterfront
Credits : Lehmonkärki
Haasi Mirror Houses are one of accommodation options in Lehmonkärki
Credits: Lehmonkärki

Järvisydän, Rantasalmi, Savonlinna region

Hotel & Spa Resort Järvisydän, translated as LakeHeart in English, offers a variety of accommodations, along with restaurant, spa, and activity services, situated by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Saimaa and Linnansaari National Park. The hotel features 184 rooms and a total of 550 beds.

Järvisydän is located approximately 3.5 hours' drive from Helsinki, and the nearest city, Savonlinna, with its airport is about a 45-minute drive away. The city of Kuopio, along with its airport, is just a little over an hour away from the resort.

The history of Järvisydän as an accommodation establishment dates back to 1658 and has been managed successfully to this day. Parts of the hotel’s long history can be visible also nowadays; for example the 100-years wooden boat decorates the reception hall area. Currently, Järvisydän can boast especially about its lake spa complex, which is currently the most ecological spa in the whole Finland.

“The connection to nature is ingrained in our DNA due to our location, compelling us to prioritize sustainability,” says Veli-Matti Koivula, Business Developer of Järvisydän. “The nature here is so pure that if guests are lucky, there is even the possibility to see the famous and endangered Saimaa ringed seal in the waters of the lake, particularly during spring.” hints Koivula.

As resort services and accommodations are available year-round, this also means a significant economic impact on this rural region. “We strive to provide guests with the best experience in the changing nature, regardless of the season,” emphasizes Koivula. Järvisydän has received various awards and recognitions throughout its history, featuring “The Best Product in Scandinavia” by the Scandinavian Outdoor Group in 2018, Tourism Destination of the Year in 2020, and the National Entrepreneur Award in 2023.

The ecological sustainability development is confirmed by the trusted Nordic Swan ecolabel and Sustainable Travel Finland label. “Given our long winters and the many separate buildings in the resort, including a large spa, heating up the water is one of the biggest challenges in terms of energy usage. We strive to reduce our energy consumption and improve ecological impact by utilizing geothermal heat technology, including heat from the ground and the lake,” says Koivula.

Some solar panels are already installed on the resort premises, with more to come in the upcoming years. The current sustainability development plan is a comprehensive mix of various automation and digitalization practices, with a specific emphasis on food, including minimizing food waste and utilizing services of local food producers even more than before. For example, Järvisydän already offers local fresh fish in its dishes, and during Christmas, a new open fire kitchen concept is available, serving only foods made from local ingredients.

“Additionally, we strive to inform our guests about our area and sustainable actions as much as possible. Currently, our guests can, for example, reduce their room heating while they are away on different activities.”, says Koivula.


Forest suite at Järvisydän with a relaxing nature view
Credits: Järvisydän

Sokos Hotels, Finnish country-wide hotel chain

Sokos Hotels is the largest Finnish owned hotel chain, operating throughout the country with almost 50 hotels in 30 locations. While most Sokos Hotels are situated in city centers across various towns in Finland, there are also rural options, such as Break Sokos Hotel Bomba in the town of Nurmes in Northern Karelia and Break Sokos Hotel Koli, located in the heart of Koli National Park area.

In 2024, Sokos Hotels plans to open a brand-new hotel in Helsinki’s Katajanokka district. Jukka Kaartinen, Development Manager at S-Group Chain hospitality management, proudly declares, "The new Solo Sokos Hotels Pier 4 hotel aims to be the most environmentally responsible hotel in Finland."

All Sokos Hotels hold the Green Key label, signifying their commitment to sustainability. Kaartinen emphasizes the importance of guest trust and turning sustainability promises into actions. According to Kaartinen, Sokos Hotels is considered the most sustainable hotel chain in Finland based on the yearly Sustainable Brand Index study that reflects the views of customers.

The Green Key label not only helps customers identify the hotel as sustainable but also provides concrete steps for hotels to reduce their ecological impact. Kaartinen celebrates the success of the Green Key program, “Our power and water consumption have significantly decreased, even with the opening of new hotels".

Sokos Hotels have divided their internal sustainability program into four categories: localness, environment, people, and food. Regarding localness, the company strives to be a good partner with the cities and locations where the chain operates. In terms of food, Sokos Hotels aim to use as much local produce as possible, with future goals to increase plant-based products to 65% and use 80% domestic products. "Luckily, we are already pretty close to these figures.", notes Kaartinen.

As an employer, Sokos Hotels aims for fairness, focusing on taking care of employees who, in turn, take care of valued guests. The hotel procurement system is also fair, with a comprehensive set of criteria for service providers.

Currently, Sokos Hotels are developing accessibility guidelines set to take effect next year, including employee education on serving individuals needing accessible services.

One interesting fact about the Sokos Hotels chain is that they have almost as many saunas as meeting rooms. No wonder, considering their location in Finland.

Superior King room at Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna, Helsinki
Credits: Sokos Hotels