-A Monitor Report
Dhaka : To mark the launch of Guinness Worlds Records 2012 edition, published recently, here are 14 hotel-inspired superlatives -- the largest, smallest, tallest, oldest etc.
The largest hotel in the world according to Guinness World Records is the First World Hotel in what many describe as the Las Vegas of Malaysia -- the Genting Highlands Resort in Pahang Darul Makmur.
With 6,118 rooms, it was completed in 2005 and now stands as a multi-coloured, giant lego-brick-like structure on top of the Ulu Kali peak, an hour from Kuala Lumpur.
With a tropical jungle in the hotel's entrance as well as 10 restaurants, this is a hotel that doesn't do small.
Most expensive hotel room
The Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, comes with spectacular views of Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc -- but it also comes at a choke-on-your-Champagne cost of US$65,000 per night.
For the price of a small terraced house in some parts of the UK, the four bedrooms, jacuzzi and private cocktail terrace can be all yours for less than 24 hours. Best to invite along a few friends and split the bill.
Highest altitude hotel
At an altitude of 3,962 meters, Hotel Everest View is officially the highest hotel in the world, above the village of Namche in Nepal and near to the Everest base camp. It does what it says on the tin -- every room comes with a fantastic view of Mt. Everest and other nearby peaks.
The beautiful stone hotel, built in 1968, is staffed by Sherpas from the surrounding villages and arranging a spot of trekking is possible.
First habitable sand hotel
If you can't stand sand between your toes, this sand hotel on Weymouth beach in Dorset, United Kingdom, probably wouldn't have been for you. Made with one tonne of sand, it took four people and a digger one week to build in July 2008.
It was designed by Mark Anderson for Laterooms.com and a night under the stars in either the twin or the double room would have set you back about US$21 but sadly it's no longer taking bookings. Probably washed away by bad reviews.
Largest hotel lobby
The Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, California, has breathtaking views of the bay from its rooms and its Rooftop Lounge Bar but many visitors don't get past the hotel's reception. Many go in just to stand in awe, staring up at the 15-story-high atrium.
At 107 metres long, 49 metres wide and 52 metres high, the lobby is officially the biggest hotel lobby in the world -- and it's decorated with pretty fairy lights too. You won't be able to miss the metallic 'pan-scourer' sculpture.
Most expensive pizza
The best pizzas in the world are made in Naples and cost less than ?10 -- so why anyone would want to pay around US$150 for a pizza is kind of puzzling. Customers at Gordon Ramsey's Maze restaurant in London seem to think it's worth it though.
The onion puree, fontina and mozzarella cheese, pancetta, ceps and wild mizuna lettuce pizza is topped with shavings of a rare white truffle from Italy, which alone costs US$2,000 a kilo. A flight to Naples will cost you less.
Largest spa resort
The Shun Jing Hot Spring Hotel in Beijing was completed in June 2009 and is the biggest spa resort in the world, at 98,060 square meters. There are dozens of hot pools to relax in, housed in a series of glass-roofed spaces, as well as a children's grotto play area.
For the hardy, there are cold plunge pools outside (you'll have to be very hardy to try these in winter). If you're worried that the scale of the place might detract from the spa experience, there are plenty of loungers in the relaxation area, so no fighting necessary.
Most fountains at a hotel
The Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas is famous for many things -- the setting of "Ocean's 11" with George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt springs to mind -- but who knew it also held the record for most fountains at a hotel?
With more than 1,000 fountains on its 12-acre artificial lake, the Bellagio's extravagant water feature is a nightly spectacle on the Strip.
Most northerly hotel
The world's most northerly full-service hotel is still 1,333 kilometers shy of the North Pole, but the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago is nonetheless well within the Arctic Circle.
The Radisson SAS Polar Hotel in the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen is officially the most northerly hotel in the world and is also a great place for visiting the glacial scenery of the Arctic -- watch out for the island's polar bears.
Tallest unoccupied building
Construction on Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, began in 1987, and it's still not finished, but at 330 meters high and with 105 floors, it has the dubious honour of being the tallest completely empty building in the world.
Work on the site halted in 1992 then in 2008 it slowly began again but, as South Korea estimates it will cost US$2 billon -- or 10 per cent of North Korea's annual GDP -- to complete the hotel and make it safe, the completion date is anyone's guess.
Until last year, the crown for oldest hotel in the world was held by the Hoshi Ryokan in Komatsu, Japan, which had been running since 717 AD. You wouldn't think anything could beat that but, amazingly, this claim to fame has been surpassed.
The new oldest hotel is the Nisiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Yamanashi, Japan. This hot-spring inn has apparently been operating since 705 AD -- meaning it would have welcomed its first guest just a few centuries after the fall of the Roman empire in the West and just before the start of Japan's historic Nara period.
The Eh'häusl Hotel in Amberg, Germany, only has room for two guests, with an overall floorspace of 53 square meters. It holds the record for the smallest hotel but is also an historic building, built in 1728 between two larger houses.
Its name means the wedding house and couples in the 18th century who wanted to marry would buy the house, get the marriage certificate and then sell it again quickly -- to get around a local marriage law.
The atrium of the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, at 180 meters high, is the tallest in the world.
Designed by architect Tom Wright, the iconic building represents the sales of a dhow and its atrium is a central feature, running upwards through half the building.
The tallest hotel in the world is officially the Rose Rayhaan by Rotana hotel in Dubai, UAE, standing at 333 meters from ground level to the top of its mast, managing to eclipse the Burj al Arab by just 12 meters.
It was originally designed to stand 380 meters tall, but planning revisions meant the height had to be reduced. Also known as the Rose Tower, it opened on December 14, 2009, and has 482 rooms and 72 floors.