Helsinki: the airport with a spa and a sauna

By John Walton, January 4 2011
Helsinki: the airport with a spa and a sauna

Finland's national airline -- which starts flying from Singapore to Helsinki on 30 May this year -- is now offering a spa and sauna for transit passengers at Helsinki. The inventively named Finnair Spa & Saunas (link: Flash and autoplaying music) are linked to the main Finnair lounge in the single terminal building.

The lounge is available to passengers on production of a business class ticket, oneworld Emerald/Sapphire card, or €45. The spa alone costs €45 for access to various spa pools, saunas and baths, while treatments range from €51-€141, but the €45 is subtracted from the treatment cost. Finnair Plus Platinum card holders are allowed in for free. Combined lounge-spa access costs €70. That's hardly cheap, and top-tier oneworld status passengers may be irked at having to fork out €45, but it sounds divine on a long transit.

With the direct Finnair flight from Helsinki to Singapore, business travellers will find Helsinki a geographically convenient connection to many European cities that are not directly served by a one-stop flight from Australia. Finnair's membership of the oneworld alliance should keep ticketing relatively easy. Singapore's Changi airport is renowned as a thoroughly enjoyable place to transit, so adding Helsinki to the mix will make for a thoroughly enjoyable experience. 

Longhaul business class seats convert into slope beds (link: Flash) very reminiscent of the BA London City-JFK business-class only seating. Shorthaul business class seats are the usual no-middle-seat Eurobiz style, but some Finnair European services (to Tallinn, Venice, Krakow and Ljubljana) are single-class economy, so take note if booking a business class ticket. 

If your layover's really long (by accident or by design) and you're in Helsinki on the right day, Australian Business Traveller recommends jumping on the bus into the centre of Helsinki and walking 250m to the wonderful 1920s Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall. There's no need to pack a swimsuit (men and women are admitted on different days) and the hot, hotter and hottest saunas (and the cool pool) turn HEL into jetlag-busting heaven. Follow it up with a visit to the Kiasma modern art museum or a glass of something cold and frosty at the panoramic Ateljee Bar before heading back to the airport. 

John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.

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