Too bad when the hard drive goes, so will the restore partition. What happens if your disk is on the fritz and you want to boot from the Os install disc and run some tools on it? What if you need to reset something? What if you need to reinstall the OS and the Mac isn't fully functional and running Snow Leopard?
What if I have a bare drive because I just replaced the startup disk and I want to install a fresh OS and then migrate stuff over by putting the old drive in an external enclosure like we've been able to do since Panther.
Apple's solution in 1991: Pop in the OS install disc.
Apple's solution in 2011: Install Leopard, upgrade to Snow Leopard, get on the Mac App Store, redownload Lion. Hope you've got internet access available at the time.
Basically, if you can't even service your equipment if you're not in a 1st world country and hooked up to broadband 24/7, and sometimes not even then, then your way of doing things f'in sucks. I think Apple has gone full-on delusional.
Microsoft isn't looking so bad these days.
Install Lion once. $50 500GB external disk. Carbon Copy Cloner. Never be without a back up.