Utter Inn

Västerås, Sweden | C.2000

Photo Credit: Pietrö Louıs

In many minds, when one conjures up the idea of, “sleeping with the fishes,” they might envision a Mafioso American mobster scene from a Scorsese film, but when Swedes in Västerås need a weekend getaway from the city life, more specifically, any sort of terrestrial interactions, they may book a reservation to literally sleep with the fishes at the Utter Inn, a “man-made island” on Lake Malaren.

Originally an art installation conceived from the enigmatic architect Mikael Genberg, the living quarters comprising a single room with two twin beds, a nightstand and light between them, are 3 meters under water, where four paneled-glass walls look out into the surrounding freshwater abyss.

Accommodations are simple: the innkeepers drop you off by inflatable boat from the main port, a rowboat is provided to explore nearby islands, there are two chairs and a table on the raft surrounding the building, in some deluxe packages a meal is provided by boat delivery, and the rest is left to your own devices for exploration.

Psychologically, spending a night or two at the Inn can turn one’s fears of water into an affirming experience of love and courage. The initial frightful emotions that may occur because of such isolating circumstances can also give way to a newly found exhilaration and even liberating vitality.

And for the concept of who’s watching who, as Genberg once remarked, “There is a remarkable feeling to go to bed while the fish are surrounding and watching you carefully. You are in an aquarium – for fish to be beholders of man.”

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