Some tourists visiting Sweden’s famous Icehotel, an art project/resort hybrid made entirely out of ice and snow, likely arrive with some understandable concerns. Will the hotel be too cold? Will the beds — which amount to fur sleeping bags placed on slabs of ice — be too hard? However, it’s safe to say that these concerns have never included fears that the water-composed complex might somehow catch fire.
That is, until now.
The AFP reports that authorities have asked the hotel, located in the arctic town of Jukkasjarvi, to install fire alarms. While this request might seem absurd to us laypeople, Swedish officials were apparently not deterred by such meaningless details as what is or isn’t flammable. The Icehotel, in admirable fashion, is taking the request in stride. Beatrice Karlsson, spokesman for the installation, told the AFP that the hotel was initially surprised by the requirement, but understood since “there are things that can actually catch fire, like pillows, sleeping bags or reindeer skins”.
“To us the most important concern is the safety of our clients, so we will comply,” she added.
Complying with the new regulation is easier said than done. Icehotel melts once spring arrives, and is reconstructed again every winter. Building a working fire alarm system into the ice has made building the hotel’s 24th incarnation even more difficult. “The environment is humid, and ice and snow… move, so it had to be taken into account,” said Karlsson. “It’s been a challenge for our building team, but it made us one experience richer.”
Since the alarms have been installed, Icehotel has yet to experience an actual fire, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t getting some use out of the new system.
“It went off once, but when the supervisor came down it turned out it was just one of our guests who’d snuck off to the cleaning closet and had a cigarette,” explained Karlsson.
Even if the alarms are never used in their intended capacity, at least Icehotel will remain smoke free.