Now as you might imagine, Swedish Lapland is not the cheapest destination for a trip and thus, most hotels come with quite a steep price tag.
Naturally we were looking for a budget-friendly place but not necessarily a hostel as we do like to splurge on food when we're on vacation, rather than preparing our own.
Long story short, we found SPiS Hotel, Hostel, Restaurant & Deli and couldn't believe it. A budget-friendly hotel/hostel combo with a nice a la carte restaurant and even a deli in the same building? Yes please!
SPiS is located in the city centre of Kiruna, just a stone's throw from the famous wooden church in town which you can actually see from the dining room.
Shops, cafes, restaurants and the Town Hall, as well as Folkets Hus where you can find the tourist office, are also only a short 5-10 minute walk away. The hotel itself is situated in a quiet alleyway though so that there's no street noise to wake you up at night.
If you're arriving by train and make use of the free shuttle bus into town, the bus stop is close by too so that carrying your luggage to the hotel shouldn't be much of a problem!
The rooms at SPiS Hotel all have one lovely feature in common: local art on the walls. Each room features its own set of wallpaper showing scenes from nearby. We got to stay in the "skiing" room which was actually quite funny as we went snowboarding during our trip.
The rooms all come with an en-suite bathroom, a desk and chair, as well as a TV and clothes rail. Furthermore there were a lot of lovely nick-nacks to make you feel really homey, like an alarm clock and notepad in the bedroom, and plenty of shampoo and soap in the bath.
The only thing that might be an issue if you're two people travelling with your own set of luggage, could be space.
We were very glad that we shared a suitcase as there was no wardrobe or chest of drawers to store our clothes, and the clothes rail wasn't big enough so we lived out of our suitcase so to speak, which meant that we couldn't put it away to save space.
If you're staying in the hostel in the basement of SPiS, there's a kitchen for you to prepare meals. Guests of the hotel can enjoy the breakfast buffet in the dining room that's included in the price.
We were a bit unfortunate on our first morning to find the dining room packed with a group of students and since we were short on time, our breakfast was rather sparse. But then again, tourist groups are something to expect when staying in a hotel/hostel combo.
We could make up for it on our second morning and enjoy the buffet with homemade bread, cheese and meat to the max!
At SPiS they focus on local and fresh ingredients, which is why they also have a deli in-house and offer a catering service. They have over a dozen different kinds of cheese and meat you can buy and offer these also at breakfast, which makes it even more delicious!
On weekends, SPiS also offers a brunch buffet with pizza, salads, vegetables, meat and cakes which we would absolutely recommend! Unfortunately we were short on time at brunch again so we only tried the cakes but they were absolutely yummy!
SPiS transforms into an a la carte restaurant in the evening and admittedly, I didn't quite get how that would fit to a hostel/budget hotel at first but the key here is that SPiS isn't just popular among tourists but also among locals, and especially so at the weekends!
We made the big mistake of not ordering a table beforehand, thinking that it wouldn't be necessary with the restaurant being part of the hotel. Well let me tell you, it is! The place was packed so if you're staying here during the weekend, definitely make sure to order a table in advance!
As for dinner, I went for the Arctic char and blueberry pannacotta on our first evening and had the savoy cabbage on our second night, while Simon went for reindeer burger and chocolate brownie one night, and for the regular reindeer on the second.
I very much enjoyed my fish and the dessert was just to die for while Simon was very happy with the reindeer, which is a slight surprise considering that Sami reindeer herders like him usually prefer their own reindeer ;)
So dinner at SPiS restaurant should totally be on your itinerary, whether you actually stay in the hotel or not!
What we liked at SPiS particularly was the attention to detail. The dining area and rooms were just decorated gorgeously with pictures of local places and people on the wall and just in general, the whole design of the place makes you feel at home.
"Spis" in Swedish actually means two things: for once it's the word for stove or oven, but it's also the old word for "eat!" so what the team at SPiS tries to achieve with this wordplay is not only for you to eat a lot (easily!), but also to feel the warmth of the place and people, and just feel like you're at home.
Another one of our highlights at SPiS was the option to rent a kick-sled for free. In Kiruna same as in Tromso, the easiest way to go from A to B during the 5 months of winter is via kick-sled. No matter whether the streets are just completely icy or full of snow, a kick-sled makes getting around so much easier - and so much more fun!
I've actually wanted to try a kick-sled for ages but since we don't own one in Tromso, I was very excited to see SPiS offering one so after checking in, we immediately borrowed one to explore the town!
In a nutshell
SPiS is a very lovely option if you're visiting Kiruna on a budget but would still like to enjoy a certain level of comfort, and more importantly, good food!
Rooms in the hotel start at 895 SEK ($100) for a single room, 895-995 SEK for a double or twin room, and 1195 - 1695 SEK ($135-$192) for a deluxe room. If you'd like to stay in the hostel, you'd pay 285 SEK ($30) for a bed in the dorm rooms, 485 - 620 SEK ($55-$70) for a two bed room, and 610 - 1160 SEK ($70-$130) for a 4 bed room. Daily cleaning of the rooms is not included.
You can find more information about SPiS on their homepage, though unfortunately only in Swedish. Their booking pages are however also available in English so you can book a hotel or hostel room here or reserve a table for dinner here. Or you just go to Booking.com.
What do you like to splurge on - accommodation or food? And could you imagine staying (or eating) at SPiS?
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*Snow in Tromso was a guest of SPiS for the purpose of this review. As always, all opinions are our own.
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