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Mark Juddery


The Most Overrated Travel Experiences (PHOTOS)

Posted: 03/03/11 07:05 AM ET

When not writing troublesome books and blogs, I'm fortunate enough to be an occasional travel writer. Here are some of the most overrated things for the world traveler including the world's most overrated tourist attraction. You've heard of the seven wonders of the world (whatever they are); here now are the seven most overrated travel experiences...

1. Seven-Star Hotels
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A few months ago, I visited Hainan Island, on the South China Sea, where they are taking tourism very seriously. Indeed, they are in the process of building two seven-star hotels. This was astonishing! On the flight to China, I had been watching an in-flight video about Dubai, which stated that Dubai's Burj Al Arab is currently the world's only seven-star hotel. So there's only one in the world - and Hainan Island plans to have two. What does it take to make a seven-star hotel? On rare occasions, I've been lucky enough to stay at five-star hotels. In general, these are pretty good... so what the heck could make something so good that it's worth seven stars?

The truth is: There's no such thing as a seven-star hotel! Or a six-star. It's all hype. The maximum possible is five. So why does the new Pangu Hotel in Beijing openly claim to be a seven-star hotel? The official reason: in this case, the reference is to the Big Dipper star shape. OK, so there's one seven-star hotel in the world... and I've got to say, it's cheating.

Incidentally, the Burj Al Arab says that it never advertised itself as a seven-star hotel, and it was being hyped by a journalist who attended the hotel's opening in 1999. Presumably, management has been vigorously denying it ever since...
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