Hotel owner & manager
When I was studying the hotel and hospitality business almost 30 years ago (exactly 1991- 1995), I had a dream to have a company of my own.
During my studies, I got an idea to set up a safari company. I liked to go outdoors, drive snowmobiles, do skiing and other outdoor activities. That ́s maybe because my home village is about 25km north from the hotel and there were not that many activities to do in my childhood… The nearest pizzeria and cinema was in Oulu, 160km from my home 🙂
Luckily, already during the highschool times I met my lovely wife Katariina. She was the girl from the local ”city” of Taivalkoski (about 3000 inhabitants :-). We got married and moved to Helsinki to study tourism.
I studied restaurant and hotel management in Helsinki and Katariina studied Tourism in Porvoo Tourism Academy.
Already during my studies I started working towards my dreams. I set up a company for safaris and was thinking Iso-Syöte would be a good place for that, since there were no such services provided there.
I think we were very lucky and blessed to be able to come back to our roots and to create this company.
With the help of my friend Jorma Jokela I started the safari company in December 1995. In the beginning the idea was to provide snowmobile safaris and skiing excursions for foreign clients.
The start was pretty slow and I needed to have an extra job so I started working also for Hotel Iso-Syöte as a salesman, bar tender, receptionist and waiter. After some months I found myself as a hotel manager. 1,5 years later (spring 1997) I rented the hotel property and started working as if it was my own.
That was the start of our company Hotel Iso-Syöte & Safaris.
My goal in 1995 was to make our hotel internationally known. In 1995 we did not have any foreign clients at all. I started to run sales calls around Europe… Now in the winter time over 80% of our clients are from all over the world.
After 25 years of hard work, we have bought the hotel and Kelo cottages, built the Fell Top cottages, the Eagle View suite and the Aurora View suites. We are also very proud to present our renovated standard rooms.
Like everything else, this would not be possible without vision, good luck and all the great people working with us – our Team Hotel Iso-Syöte. Together we have made this all possible.
There has been a lot of people working with us during the past years. Some are only here briefly for the seasons, some already over 30 years. Some are great outgoing characters, some just like to work hard behind the scenes to keep things running.
Everyone’s input is very important to keep everything running as planned. Alltough some times things do not go as planned, but that is the part of life that makes it much more exciting!
I like to point out few persons, who has had an influence to make our company what it is today.
Katariina, my beloved wife. You know the ancient wisdom about the woman standing behind the man…
With her, together we have achieved all the things we have gotten so far. She is also a wonderfull mother of our 3 great children. A smart and hard worker in our hotel. But she is also an artist. You will find her paintings in your rooms, in the restaurant and all around Finland. She is great, she is the best!
Heikki , who employed us to work at the hotel in 1995, he made it possible to start the safari company and have a job at the hotel.
Big thanks to Vesa who was the owner of our hotel before us and gave us the chance to rent the hotel and let us spread our wings.
Jorma, the friend with whom we created the first safaris in this area. We could write another book about the first years with successes and great failures 🙂
But the most valuable persons are ofcourse our highly committed personal :
Gerralda and Remco started to work for us 11 years ago. They are the gifts from Holland to Finnish tourism industry 🙂
Gerralda is working as our international sales and marketing manager. She is the one who really helped us to get the international sales moving on to a higher level. She takes care of your bookings, relationships with tour operators and many, many other things.
Remco, the husband of Gerralda. Remco is the machinery man. Nowadays he is the head of our safari department. He is an amazing guide, but also a great organizer for the activities and a great guy!
We all have our dreams, mine was to build up a safaricompany and hotel. Gerralda and Remco first moved to Finland (from Holland) to enjoy the great winters here. But they also dreamed of a nice place in South France.
Nowadays during the winter they do a great job here in our hotel and in the summer times they are running a resort ”Gites Gilles” in South France.
After your winter holiday, plan your next holiday to South of France! (www.gites-gilles.com)
Our Chef-the-Cuisine Arto
Arto has been working in our kitchen for more than 30 years! He was here already years before us. Arto came to work here, as a young cook for his summerjob, which was meant to be 3 months… after 30 years, he is still stuck here with his ‟ months summer job” 🙂
Luckily Arto met here his wife Terttu who has been here also over 30 years. Terttu is working at the reception and taking care of our administrations. They are one of the corner stones in our company.
Sanna was working few years in our restaurant, and also as a restaurant manager. But she was happy to have 2 wonderful children and she decided to have easier job with more comfortable working hours and left us few years ago. But luckily her heart was still here and she came back. We are so happy and lucky to have her back working with our great team.
Soili has been working soon 20 years in the company. First she was working as a cleaner. Over the last 10 years she has been taking care of our breakfasts during the seasons. She has boiled thousands of eggs and countless liters of coffee. She makes sure our breakfast gives a good start for your day 🙂
Matti is our head of maintenance, he has also been working 20 years in the company. He has been shoveling tons of snow during the years 🙂 Matti and his team are the ones who make sure your rooms are warm and cosy during the winters, the water is running and everything is going nice and safe both in the hotel and the cottages. He is one of those guys who works quietly behind the scenes, but will be needed strongly if something goes wrong.
Jyrki, the plumber
With him I have done the actual drawings for the Aurora View suites and Bear Cave suite before the fire as well as for our bike center (before the fire). Originally 10 years ago he came to fix our swimming pool and happened to be a multi talented designer as well as a plumber. Beside the pools and jacuzzis we have innovated major projects. We still have some ideas in our pockets…
Ilkka, a busines consultant with whom we spend many nights calculating to get it right during the early years, to keep this company going.
Our restaurant team
There are so many great personalities working in our restaurant that unfortunately it is not possible to write about everybody by name. Some work only for a season, some have been working several seasons and some for years. This is the team that does it’s best to provide you good service, tasty food and great memories. Restaurant is one of the important corner stones of our company.
Hanne, she has been living in southern Finland all of her life. But suddenly she heard the call of the north and her roots. Originally her mother and father are both from this area, so she decided to move where her roots begin. Her mother happens to be the sister of my mother :-). Luckily we got her here. She brings young energy, positive attitude and know how for our cleaning team.
Our cleaning team
As well as in the restaurant we have many people working in our cleaning team. They are also the silence characters behind the scenes. When they do a good job, unfortunately it is not always noted. But if the job is not done… well you know what happens. They do miracles, after the night suddenly all the mess has disappeared. These miracles happens often also at our home. I found my dirty clothes nice and clean in the wardrobe as well as the dirty plates and books from the tables have disappeared… Do you see these miracles happening?:-) Great thanks to all our cleaners and the persons at home, who make these miracles possible. Let ́s start helping and acting wise to keep this miracles happening to all of our loved ones around us!
Remco, Antti, Jaakko, Lari, Pertti… So many good guides with great characters and knowledge to make sure you will be guided safely and with full of passion through all the wonderfull activities, new experiences, great memories.
Our valuable partners:
Huskyfarmers Jonna and Janne here in Syötteen Eräpalvelut as well as Timo in Finn Jann. Our reindeer farms and all the taxi and bus drivers. Our lovely Anna with her spa and massage services. Jorma and Tarja in the ski company. And many, many other partners who we need also to keep the resort going as a whole.
Now if you still have time and interest, I can tell you little bit about our Vision, Values and other thoughts.
Our vision: Happy life
We want to bring happiness to our lifes as well as to yours. Happy, healthy and wealthy are the values we want to achieve. Together we make happy life possible.
Happiness for us means:
Good service: We hope to be caring, easy-going and professional in our service actions.
Good food: Food is important part of our lifes and specially at holidays. We will use our local pure materials suchs as berries, mushrooms, reindeer meat and fish as much as possible in our menus. Our cooks are skillfull and their passion for making good food is a main stay. We also understand the challenge to provide good food for over 20 different type of nationalities and cultural backgrounds. This challenge we humbly face every day.
Special accommodation: Each of our accommodations has their personal characteristics with a great location. Our accommodation provides a base for being happy together for couples as well as for families. We take care of the quality and safety in our properties.
Activities: For every day of your holiday we offer different types of new experiences in our natural settings. Our guides and partners will bring you safely towards your new adventures and happy memories.
Nature: In Finland we have the cleanest air in the world. And here it happens to be the one of the cleanest in Finland 🙂 Nature is our ultimate resource for happy living. We highly respect our nature. In all our enviroment we try to be as nature friendly as possible. We have our own sustainable development programm. In our powerplant we produce the heating energy by burning ”woodwaste” which comes from the local sawmill, so 100% renewable energy. We constantly measure and adjust our water, energy and waste flow. Our pools are heated by using the ”left over” energy from our own powerplant. In the future we are committed to invest for solar energy, electric cars etc. The National park is our closest working partner.
We do not change the towels every day if it is not really necessary. But it is of course your choice, our esteemed client. Concerning the towels, environmentally friendliness etc. We have a slogan: ”we either just talk about it or we work for it”. We can start with small things, like how many eggs
or bread we leave untouched on our breakfast plate, how many times we need our towels to be washed etc. Simply choices we all can do in our everyday lifes – but still travel and enjoy all the beautiful things we have around us 🙂
Healthiness for us means:
We offer and create services which support a healthy life. Our pure nature alone is already a big part of it. As well as all the outdoor activities, which keep you motivated and enjoying the fresh air everyday. We also develop our wellness programs, bike hotel concept and many other things, which support the physical well being.
We serve food which is made from pure and high quality ingredients. If we some day use too much cream or you have had 1 glass too much wine, then let that be part of the happiness 🙂
To be out in the nature is the best treatment for your mental health. You can go out everyday or just sit in our restaurant and look outside. There is not always a need to do something. The choice is yours.
We also encourage our staff to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Wealthiness for us means:
If our company is financially strong it makes us possible to keep everything running smoothly and safe. We can develop many new products and have good, skillfull staff. We are able to provide the quality which you, our esteemed clients are a custome to.
As our Motto, we always remember the classical primary virtues: Courage, Moderateness, Wisdom and Justice!
Our slogan is ”Team Hotel Iso-Syöte, working for the good life”.
Thank you for taking your time to read our story. If you would like to hear more, I ́m more than
happy to share more stories with you.
But, if you are visiting us to relax, have new experiences and great memories, now is the time to let
your holiday spirit begin.
Warmly welcome Juha