Ah, Sweden … the magical — and irony-prone — Nordic kingdom where garbage is so scarce it has to be imported
, where the home assembly of IKEA furniture is mistaken for domestic scuffels
, and where, apparently, even large structures made from frozen water require fire alarms.
Constructed from snow and giant chunks of ice harvested from the Torne River, the world-famous Icehotel
is a high-end lodge-cum
-art installation in the Arctic outpost of Jukkasjärvi that’s frequented by jetsetting gastrophiles with good circulation, dog-sledding enthusiasts, and adventurous folks who don’t mind forking over a pretty penny to spend a couple of nights guzzling flavored vodka under a heap of reindeer pelts in a tastefully appointment walk-in freezer. It’s certainly the only hotel that I know of where the website includes an entire page dedicated to the art of layering
And after 20-plus seasons of melting each spring and painstakingly being rebuilt from scratch each fall, the tourist-snaring Icehotel — where indoor temps can drop to a cozy low of 18 degrees F — must now be equipped with a working smoke detectors just like non-ice hotels, according to Sweden’s National Housing Board.
Makes sense, right? Right?
"We have to apply for building permits every year. When the rules change, we need to adapt to the new rules obviously," explains
the world's most chilled PR rep
Icehotel spokesperson Beatrice Karlsson. "We were a little surprised when we found out ... but the reason is that there are things that can actually catch fire, like pillows, sleeping bags or reindeer skins."
If something totally freaky like, let’s say, a fire breaking out in a giant ice cube were to occur, the 24th incarnation of the Icehotel has been built with fire alarms, which were actually installed and tested last winter as well. Says Karlsson: "To us the most important concern is the safety of our clients, so we will comply. When we explain to people, I think it makes sense.” She adds that incorporating fire alarms into the structure has “… been a challenge for our building team, but it made us one experience richer.”
Thus far, no fires have broken out in the hottest place to hunker down for the night on a giant slab of ice in Swedish Lapland. However, there has been one rather predicable false alarm: a guest sneaking a smoke in a maintenance closet. Something's telling me that someone's not getting that hold on their credit card reversed.
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