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22 travel world records
The crazy, the zany and the impressive mix in this list of the most superlative achievements relating to travel to date
Highest hotels or huge sick-bag collections -- it's always good to maintain a sense of humility, and humor, when traveling.
To mark the launch of Guinness Worlds Records 2012 edition, published today, here are 22 travel-inspired superlatives from the extreme, to the insane.
Thanks to Guinness World Records for assistance with the article. Check out and search for other records on their website: www.guinnessworldrecords.com.
1. Largest hotel
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-colored, 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.
Also on CNNGo: 15 bizarre, unique, amazing hotels
2. Fastest time to enter a suitcase
People have often jokingly asked me to take them in my suitcase when I'm off on holiday. I usually laugh but to be fair, I've never been asked by Leslie Tipton.
This American lady is more travel-friendly than most -- on 14 September 2009 she hopped into a suitcase and zipped herself up ready to go in just 5.43 seconds. Now that's speedy boarding.
3. 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.
Also on CNNGo: World's most expensive hotel suites
4. Largest collection of traffic cones
Anyone who's travelled down the M4 to Wales on a bank holiday weekend will know that traffic cones are the devil's work. No one likes the sight of them – they are the traveler's enemy, so why would anyone want to hoard them?
That is a question for David Morgan, from Burford in the United Kingdom, who has an impressive collection of 137 different traffic cones. In fact, cone-fans will be even more impressed to know he owns a specimen of two-thirds of cones ever made.
5. 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.
Also on CNNGo: 15 unusual places to stay a night
6. 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.
7. 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 meters long, 49 meters wide and 52 meters 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.
8. Heaviest aircraft pulled by a man
Some guys pull pints, others pull girls, but Canadian Kevin Fast pulls aeroplanes. Since September 17, 2009 he is the proud holder of the 'heaviest aircraft pulled by a man' record -- the plane in question was a CC-177 Globemaster III, weighing 188.83 tonnes.
Kevin pulled it for 8.8 meters at Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ontario. Probably not the most fun you can have with an aeroplane (personally I would use it to get to Bali), but an admirable feat of strength for sure.
9. Largest ice village
The Icehotel at Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, has had plenty of attention from the world's press, but did you know the biggest ice village in the world was also built nearby? In December 2002, 700 delegates from a conference at the Icehotel were housed in 140 igloos at the site.
The Tetra Pak International employees (who knew packaging conferences could be so riveting) slept in the igloo village, constructed solely of ice.
Also on CNNGo: The last Shanghai ice bar standing
10. 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.
Also on CNNGo: Domino's offers job for US$30,000 per hour
11. 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.
Also on CNNGo: 10 most exotic wellness retreats
12. Most times hit by a car in two minutes
Not all world records are sensible, or even sane -- this one is travel-related though, albeit in a rather macabre way. Dietmar Loeffler from Germany holds the record for being hit by a car (and surviving) the most times in two minutes.
Dietmar managed eight full-frontal automobile hits at Cologne, Germany, on November 23, 2007. I think I've rumbled his jump-and-roll technique. But in the immortal words of TV stunt presenters, "Don't try this at home, kids!"
13. 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.
14. Longest career as an ice-cream man
Ice cream is a fundamental component of all holidays and foreign travels (forget your bank cards, passport and reservations by all means, but don't forget to buy ice cream while you're there). So, credit where credit is due to Charlie D'Angelo, who has been an ice-cream man for 32 years.
Charlie has driven his ice-cream van, the wonderfully named Iggy's Igloo, around Clifton, New Jersey, bringing pleasure to children young and old since 1979.
Also on CNNGo: World's 50 most delicious foods
15. 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.
16. Largest collection of sick bags
Maybe Niek Vermeulen from the Netherlands has a queasy disposition -- if not it's hard to explain how he would come to have 6,016 airline sickness bags in his possession.
As of January 29, 2010, his expansive collection comes from 1,142 different airlines from more than 160 countries, so it would seem that Niek is at least well traveled.
He began collecting in the 1970s. I just hope he got the special edition 'Kate and William Royal Wedding 2011' sick bag (which has the 'gag' line: 'throne up').
Also on CNNGo: 13 quirky souvenirs
17. 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 percent of North Korea's annual GDP -- to complete the hotel and make it safe, the completion date is anyone's guess.
18. Oldest hotel
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.
Also on CNNGo: Japan's best hot spring inns
19. Smallest hotel
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.
20. Deepest cycling underwater
If you're in a hurry to get to the shops and that pesky lake is right in your way, you can always follow in Vittorio Innocente's soggy footsteps, and try a spot of underwater cycling.
He managed to reach a depth of 66.5 meters on his trusty two-wheeled steed, breaking the record for deepest underwater cycling in Santa Margherita Ligure, Liguria, Italy, on July 21, 2008. Probably doesn't do the brakes any good though.
Also on CNNGo: 10 breathtaking cycling routes
21. Tallest atrium
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.
22. Tallest hotel
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.