Finland launches rival to the London Eye.
Finland launches rival to the London Eye - with a sauna cabin.
The Skywheel Helsinki in Finland.
When Skywheel Helsinki, Finland’s answer to the London Eye, opened up two years ago, it was immediately clear that something was missing.
“Many of the Finns who came were asking for a sauna,” Heikki Hayha, the attraction’s general manager, told the Telegraph. "They said 'why don't you have sauna cabins?'."
The sauna cabins will be introduced next month.
Next month, this grievous oversight will finally be corrected with the launch of SkySauna, the world’s first sauna cabin mounted on an observation wheel.
The pine-clad gondola, presently under construction in France, will be fitted out by top-end Finnish sauna specialists Sunsauna and Iki-Kiuas, with the cabin designed to reach temperatures of up to 94F (90C) as it makes its two-and-half-minute round journey.
Up to five people at a time will be able to enjoy what the company bills as “a true Finnish sauna experience”, while viewing the Baltic sea and the city’s neoclassical centre from up to 130 feet.
The attraction will not come cheap, however. The company plans to charge up to €240 (£188) an hour, and it could go above €500 for large groups, with those not in the sauna waiting their turn in a jacuzzi and sipping drinks on a private terrace.
Mr Hayha expects that the overwhelming majority of customers will be locals, with the single cabin booked up months in advance.
“I think the Finnish people would like to have a sauna almost everywhere” Heikki Hayha
But he has made special arrangements for those less accustomed to the country's sauna culture. “If it’s too hot, there is an emergency hatch that can be opened straight away," he said. "Or you can go and lie on the floor, where it’s always cooler anyway.”
Unusual sauna attractions are a longstanding fixture in the Nordic nation, with saunas over the past few years installed in a ski gondola, suspended 300ft high from a crane, and even built inside a giant floating duck.
“I think the Finnish people would like to have a sauna almost everywhere,” Mr Hayha said. “The crazier the place is the better almost.”
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