Because getting there is not fun.

The ever-present threat of a shower in your sleep

Mon, 2009/06/15 - 13:53 by aargh

It takes a brave traveller to just waltz into their hotel room and setup shop. Even if you've stayed in the hotel before, even if you've had that room before, standard travel procedure dictates you do a quick survey of your surroundings when you first arrive. My punch-list is as follows:

Room appears clean? Check. Closet free of corpses? Check. Sprinkler system? Over the bed.


That's right: in every modern hotel I can remember, there is source of water right over the sleeping area. Like some Nozzle of Damocles, ready to unleash itself in the event of a bed fire. (Chances are it has better water pressure than the shower.)

This makes sense, mind you, except that it doesn't make sense.

I agree that hotel guests goofing around with flammables could be a risk for starting a fire. But are smokers really that much more likely to light up right as they slip into bed, versus anywhere else in the room? What moron reaches for a lighter when he's drowsy? And why can't we spot them at check-in, and simply refuse them entry? "Sir, if you could please answer the following questions I could assign you a room. Do you often dream of fires? Mmm-hmm. Do you think smoking tobacco mixes well with duvet covers? Do go on ..."

If this is such a worry, let's just cut to the chase and put the bed in the bathtub. The housekeeping staff wins double on that one.

Even if that last bit were possible, it still wouldn't make sense. Because I see this even in non-smoking rooms. Which, these days, is all of them. The only thing people burn in hotels is money, and that's just in the metaphorical sense.

A hunt for safety stats isn't any more reassuring. Like the one that expects federal employees, when travelling on official business, to stay in "fire-safe accommodations" at least 90% of the time. Only 90%? And do we really need to make this a rule? Who the hell decides to get naughty and stay in a dry-timber shack the other 10% of the time, just to show off?

Enough, already. There's clearly no point in having the sprinklers over the bed but, since they're there, we may as well put them to good use.

Here's my take:

Can I call the front desk and request a spray for the amorous couple (or triple, or other multiple) in the room next door? I'm trying to sleep.