In Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland, you can dip in the icy waters of the river Kemijoki this coming winter, when Lapland Hotels, the largest private hotel chain in Finland, opens a new kind of experience destination, WNTR Sauna, in the hometown of Santa Claus. For a single entrance fee, WNTR Sauna offers the opportunity to experience popular Finnish winter activities: sauna, ice swimming and outdoor fires in the Arctic nature – not forgetting local food and drink.
For a long time, international tourists in particular have been hoping for a destination in Rovaniemi that is open for everyone to try out some of the favourite activities of Finns. Sauna culture has a long tradition in Finland and, according to studies, saunas and ice swimming have tremendous positive health effects. Sauna bathing, for example, reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Cold water, in turn, improves blood circulation and tissue metabolism, slows down the ageing of cells and helps maintain the skin’s elasticity. According to estimates, there are more than three million saunas in Finland, which is more than half of the country’s population. For tourists, it is important to experience the sauna and ice swimming as part of the overall experience.
WNTR Sauna is a much requested addition to ice swimming in Rovaniemi: from the sauna, you can dip in the icy waters of the river Kemijoki, warm up by a cosy campfire and enjoy northern flavours in the form of hot reindeer goulash soup. You can also roast marshmallows by the fire and enjoy the atmosphere. WNTR Sauna is located in the Kesärafla restaurant area: the popular summer sauna is now also in winter use.
– “A public winter sauna has been much requested in Rovaniemi, both by tourists and locals. Now we can offer tourists a holistic opportunity to experience the essence of Finnish traditions. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the wooden sauna and ice hole by the river Kemijoki,” says Mira Söderlund, Hotel Manager of Lapland Hotels Ounasvaara Chalets and Lapland Hotels Sky Ounasvaara.
A meeting place that offers Finnish experiences
In addition to sauna bathing and ice swimming, the WNTR Sauna experience includes the opportunity to enjoy hot reindeer goulash soup while sitting by a fire and admiring nature and, for example, the Northern Lights. The sauna can accommodate up to 35 people at a time. The experience also includes a sauna host, who tells stories about the sauna history and Finnish sauna traditions, and guides you through the secrets of sauna bathing. During the autumn, new structures for the winter sauna experience were built on the shores of the river Kemijoki, including, for example, a container restaurant with a liquor licence. The ice swimming area has been demarcated and protected, so dipping in the flowing river Kemijoki is safe.
The winter sauna in Rovaniemi was originally thought of by Tero Mäntykangas, Executive Chef at Lapland Hotels, who had been developing the idea for several years. He also sees that the sauna could be used for various themed evenings, such as a Christmas sauna or Northern Lights sauna.
– “There has never been such a place in Rovaniemi before, and it is great that we now have one. My favourite is the authentic Finnish wooden sauna, which shows the patina of time. What could be better than dipping into an ice hole and enjoying the sauna in the winter? This tradition is very important to Finns, and we also get the chance to share Finnish culture with others,” Mäntykangas says.
The sauna is heated from Wednesday to Sunday: on weekdays, it is open on evenings and, at weekends, it is warm almost all day.
– “I believe that WNTR Sauna will be full every day and become an genuine meeting place for different nationalities and generations,” Mäntykangas says.
WNTR Sauna is located next to the Ounasvaara Ski Resort by the river Kemijoki, only a five-minute drive from Rovaniemi city centre. The restaurant and sauna can be found outside Lapland Hotels Ounasvaara Chalets by the riverbank.
WNTR Sauna by Kesärafla
Image copyrights: Lapland Hotels & Safaris
For further information and interview requests, please contact:
+358 400 891 544
Hotel Manager, Lapland Hotels Ounasvaara Chalets and Lapland Hotels Sky Ounasvaara
+358 40 563 2605
Travel enterprise Lapland Hotels & Safaris offers northern experiences for all the senses. It consists of Finland’s largest private hotel chain, Lapland Hotels, the largest experience service company in the Nordic countries, Lapland Safaris Group Oy and Lapland Ski Resorts.The Group has approximately 1,700 employees in total.
Lapland Hotels has 19 hotels, more than 2,400 rooms and apartments, as well as over 10,000 restaurant seats around Finland: In Ylläs, Levi, Saariselkä, Rovaniemi, Olos, Luosto, Kilpisjärvi, Pallas, Hetta, Helsinki, Tampere, Oulu and Kuopio.
Lapland Safaris offers unique outdoor activities at five destinations in Lapland: Rovaniemi, Ylläs, Saariselkä, Levi and Luosto.
Lapland Ski Resorts comprises five ski centres located in Ylläs, Luosto, Olos, Pallas and Rovaniemi. www.laplandhotels.com, www.laplandsafaris.com
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