The Via Spa
Next door to the Via Lounge, the Via Spa beckons. European spa guru Paul Haslauer designed the Via Spa, beginning his research to determine what facilities and treatments it should offer a year before construction of the spa actually began. The spa itself cost “several million” euros to build and fit out, according to Samuli Haapasalo, the president and CEO of Finavia, which operates Helsinki Airport.
Helsinki Airport’s marketing ethos, expressed succinctly by Kimmo Ruotsalainen, Finavia’s senior vice president of marketing, is that “We’re not moving the masses – we’re offering friendly, personalized, face-to-face service”. The Via Spa aims to adopt this philosophy entirely in offering treatments and therapies to its customers.
“We make recommendations for the individual,” after thoroughly evaluating each spa customer’s physical and mental wellbeing before, after or during the between-flight break in his or her journey, says Haslauer. Treatments and therapies are designed specifically to be relatively short to suit the times that passengers have before their next flights.
The range of treatments and therapies is nothing short of phenomenal for an airport spa – in fact, Haslauer and Finnair claim the Via Spa offers the most comprehensive range of sauna and spa treatments of any airport spa in the world.
“We never say no” to a therapy or treatment possibility, says Haslauer – “We have to be very elastic and offer all kinds of treatment.”
Given the fact that many of its customers are coming straight off long-haul flights – on which they have been sitting almost immobile for many hours – and are about to embark on further flights (some of them long-haul), the Via Spa particularly aims to stimulate blood circulation in its customers.
“We specialize in heavy legs,” says Haslauer. “We have developed special treatments that are done nowhere else in the world like here.”
In its six treatment rooms, the Via Spa offers therapies such as the “dry float” – using special equipment on which the individual floats, to create a sensation similar to being back in the womb – as well as aromatherapies, special footbaths with vibrating bells applied to the reflecting zones of the foot and leg, and herbal peels and rose-petal balms applied by hand by the spa’s highly trained and certified therapists.
The Via Spa offers much more. It has a traditional oriental Rasul spa that offers what Haslauer calls “a whole-body detox”. The spa also has a traditional steambath; an Alpine-style Brechelbad sauna; a dry (and very hot) stone bath; a Finnish sauna, with birch twigs and buckets of post-sauna ice freely available; and a large paddling pool in which footsore travelers can soothe their feet and relax.
The paddling pool and one of the saunas are remarkable in that they actually have views out through discreetly shaded glass directly on to the terminal extension’s ramp. Accordingly, as they refresh and detox themselves, spa-users can watch aircraft coming and going and observe all the loading and unloading activity on the ramp.
It’s an unusual way to go aircraft-spotting, but for those with a bundle of discretionary euros to hand, Helsinki Airport’s Via Spa – and the Via Lounge next door – offer a nice pre-flight or between-flights option.