Eye in the sky: The world’s best observation wheels
If you have a head for heights, why not plan your travel adventures around the biggest and best observation wheels? These provide memorable photo ops in some of the world's most visited cities, where you will also find well-appointed accommodation by Millennium Hotels and Resorts.
Singapore Flyer, Singapore
Within easy reach of Millennium hotels, including Studio M Hotel Singapore and M Hotel Singapore, is the 165-metre high Singapore Flyer, which towers above the Marina Promenade and provides passengers with unobstructed views of the city and waterfront. When it opened in 2008, the Flyer was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world; a title it retained until 2014 when the High Roller opened in Las Vegas, which stands at 167.6-metres high.
Each air-conditioned capsule carries 28 passengers on a 30-minute journey. Interestingly, the Flyer first rotated in a counter-clockwise direction, but it was later reversed to follow feng shui principles.
London Eye, London
The Coca-Cola London Eye opened in early 2000 on the south bank of the River Thames near Westminster Bridge. Unlike its taller rivals, the 135-metre high London landmark is supported on an A-frame structure, making it the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel and the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe. Views from its 32 ovoid pods take in Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster, St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace. You may even locate your Millennium hotel in London.
It’s particularly magical after dark, with rides available until midnight on some evenings. Carrying up to 800 passengers per revolution, the London Eye does not stop, so be prepared to step aboard smartly when your pod swings by.
Grampian Eye, Aberdeen
A novel way to appreciate the glorious scenery of Scotland is from the Grampian Eye in Aberdeen. Located about three kilometres from the Copthorne Hotel Aberdeen at the Codonas Amusement Park, this 30-metre observation wheel offers a unique perspective of the city, waterfront and beach. If you want a souvenir of your stay, pick up the Aberdeen version of the Monopoly board game which features this fun ride.
Pacific Wheel, Los Angeles
Guests visiting the Millennium Biltmore LA should look for the landmark Pacific Wheel on Santa Monica Pier, which is the world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel. Turning at 2.5 revolutions per minute, the wheel rises 40m above the pier, providing open-air views of Santa Monica Beach, Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean. Lit up at night with 160,000 coloured LED lights, it makes for a breathtaking sight.
Icon of Love, Shanghai
About half an hour away from Grand Millennium Shanghai HongQiao is Shanghai's current eye in the sky at Jinjiang Park. At a height of 108m, the wheel has been thrilling riders since 2003. However, a new Ferris wheel will shortly dominate the skies above the Zhabei district, sitting atop Joy City mall. Said to open in December, the 50-metre high Icon of Love wheel will feature selfie walls and megaphones for broadcasting proposals of marriages, which could prove very entertaining.
Dubai Eye, Dubai
In the emirate that already boasts the world’s tallest building and largest shopping mall, construction has started on the mammoth Dubai Eye. Planned to be 210m, it will exceed the current highest observation wheel by a dizzying 42 metres. It is part of the city’s Bluewaters project and is due for completion in early 2018.
However, you don’t have to wait until 2018 to visit this fascinating and ever-changing city. Millennium has several hotels in Dubai, ranging from premium to more pocket-friendly options.