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on 9 July 2004
This book could have been wonderful, unfortunately it's not! The layout of the book is unfriendly, specific countries do not have page numbers meaning to find eg Italy you need to flick through all of Western Europe. The entries chosen are mostly appropriate with most big name places mentioned however each is followed with a commercial plug for specific hotels or restaurants in the area leaving you wondering how some more obscure places got their mention. I'd hate to think they had paid or coerced the author but... Many places eg Fiji are mentioned because there is a flash resort on the island, meaning if you cannot afford to pay for a weeks stay at an expensive resort you won't be able to visit the place. Also a lot of the descriptions in the book sound very familiar with other travel books eg Lonely Planet making me wonder how original the text is.
I put my copy in the bin, save your money!!!
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on 2 February 2006
I received this book for my birthday as all my friends know that I live for travel. However this book did not inspire me, as I found it catered towards the older, more moneyed readers rather than those who don't have the income for 5 star accomodation. As the majority of places listed are hotels rather than the actual places that they are based, you don't get a feel for the places she visits, which is not what travelling is about. The layout and the lack of photos made it old-fashioned, which i did not expect from the title of the book.
You are better off with the BBC places to visit before you die, as it has the photos to whet your appetite for future holidays.
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on 25 July 2004
This book sounds so great and it is for a short while, but its only after a while when you get into it and try to find things that you think should be in there that are missing. The reason for this is that its so westernised in its listing that it falls short on some wonderful places from Asia and others.
Does the british isles really deserve 87 pages, the USA a total of 236 pages, while places such as Egypt (9 pages), Sri Lanka (2 Pages) and india (13 pages), all recieve such little coverage.
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on 20 August 2007
I was really dissappointed with this book. There are over 1000 amazing natural places to see on this planet...I cant quite understand how half of this book is filled up with "prestigious" hotels. Thats certainly not what I think visiting other places is about! Definitely for the traveller with oodles of money & for somebody who isnt too worried about getting off the beaten track. Uninspiring & pretty poorly researched in my opinion.
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on 16 August 2004
Yes, I felt compelled to write this having read many a dismal, derogatory review of the book, and yes many of the below comments are justified. The author does concentrate too much on the US and Western Europe and yes, the hotels are plugged in such a way that you begin to think that she perhaps enjoyed just a few too many complimentary nights and breakfasts for her travails, but I'll make no bones about it. Buy this book and I will guarantee you will pick it up, and put it down...and pick it up again many, many times over. It's that kind of book. A literary travel brochure detailing nearly every destination imaginable. From New York's mighty skyscrapers, to viewing the cherry blossom in Japan, to skiing in Chamonix, to the Old Quarter of Hanoi. This is a book designed not to direct and dictate, but to fuel the imagination. Have a browse, sketch your next trip, tick off those you have already experienced. Take a chance and buy it. Trust me, even if you are indifferent, leave it on your coffee table for a couple of weeks and your guests will never lack conversation. And...even if you don't buy it, you have to admire the author's choice of quote for her opening page.
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away."
I'm planning such a life.
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on 23 November 2004
I love travelling. Not love, I mean LOVE. My marriage is so based on travel that if we do not have at least two holidays booked and another being planned the divorce papers come out. In the next 6 months I am off to Germany, Malaysia and Australia an trying to wangle a business trip to Hong Kong - so I feel qualified to judge the author's globe trotting tome.
I saw this book in a <competitor> bookstore and went WOW - now there is someone who thinks like me! Patricia Schultz claims to have spent 7 years researching the book and, having read it a few dozen times I can believe it.
Many fellow reviewers have critisiced Patricia for her bias towards the western hempisphere and while I must agree (even I was embarassed by the Anglophobe tone), I have to ask these readers a question - is there any place listed here that you think should be omitted; that fails to meet the mark set. I've been through the whole book marking where I have been (yes, I know it's a bit anal but I did say I was obsessed!) and I could not criticise one inclusion.
Paricia has indeed a taste for, shall we say, the finer places in life, but then so do many of us. If you have not had pre-dinner drinks in Chewton Glen after getting ready in the spa then you have not lived! (Must try to do that again...)
I do not criticise her for including such fine establishments, with their rather hefty bills. Rather I acknowledge that there are many wonderful places that she has left out. My native New Zealand (considered one of the "must visit" places of them all), is only allocated 10 entries. The ones that she has included, though, are on anyones top 50 list of Aoteroa though...
For an American to conceive and write such a book is dumbfounding - 90% of them don't even have a passport. Be happy for her - she done well.
Now - go write a better book if you dare. So that makes it 5,000 things to do before you die then!
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on 14 January 2006
As a photographer, the lack of photography in this book does reduce its usefulness for me as a source of inspiration for travel ideas, although the sheer volume of the book probably makes it more suitable for flicking through on a rainy day anyway. The author is obviously well-travelled, and the breadth of coverage in the book is impressive, if possibly a little over-Americanised. It is fair to say that the author has done an admirable job of collating and presenting such a vast amount of information in a relatively easy-to-follow manner.
The text generally passes my informal 'wanderlust test', of giving me just the right level of information to give me some idea of the location, and enough to inspire me to find out more about it for myself, although again pictorial information alongside would tell a much more useful story, especially when Schultz describes locations such as hotels.
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on 19 November 2008
200+ pages on the USA, 2 pages on Sri Lanka. Lots of expensive 5 star hotels, resorts and expensive paradises that are fine if you're an ageing, moneyed American but do not even begin to scratch the surface of the country you are in.

If you are rolling in dollars and travel first class from Four Seasons to Four Seasons, buy this book. Otherwise there are a hundred other books out there that are better to inspire you.
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on 9 May 2013
Want impressed with a lot of the suggestions. I many countries only the obvious really touristy destinations are chosen. Vry little off the tourist path. Lots of hotels mentioned which were pricey making it less suitable for the budget traveller. Plenty of countries have no mention, would be better if more people had been involved in writing it so more destinations could have been considered, just thought a lot of them were obvious. Also very heavy focus on us and Canada and little on the rest of the world
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on 15 August 2008
Like some of the other reviewers, I was disappointed that there was so much of the book devoted to the US at the expense of some truly magical places in the world.

I agree that the photography is quite old fashioned (but that's not what the book is about) and I was disappointed by the heavy bias towards fancy hotels - if you're in a fancy hotel - you could quite possibly be anywhere in the world so there's little point in travelling there! The fancy hotels that have a bit of history / literary connections are quite interesting and if I'm ever in the vicinity she might have convinced me to pop in for a (cheap!) beer.

Having said that, I did love that she picked up on some really random must do's (e.g. Newark Antique Fair, Nottinghamshire!!!) that I've never seen anywhere else. Sometimes when you're heading to foreign climes, there are so many must do's that it's difficult to a) choose or b) fit them all in. I use this book just to give me some ideas - if she suggests that I ought to see a fancy hotel in say, Thailand, before I die, I tend to ignore her, but she does come up with some "gems" (to quote a previous reviewer) which are often worth visiting.

As for the indexing... I didn't find it at all offputting, it's divided into continents - but to be honest it's the sort of book that you don't mind getting side-tracked by.

To be used as a different viewpoint when undertaking some lonely-planet-esque travel research rather than as a resource on it's own, or if you're doing the Grand Tour - a good place to find all the 5* hotels (I guess) and therefore how to avoid experiencing the "real" must sees (miaow - sorry couldn't resist).

Buy or not buy... hmm overall I think I would say buy - but caveat emptor... read all the negative points first before you buy so that you know what you're getting.
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