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New hotel brings Hollywood hospitality down to earth

The latest openings and events from around the world

Los Angeles: Your new Hollywood home

It may not have the glamour of the Beverly Hills Hotel or the posh vibe of Chateau Marmont, but the new BLVD Hotel & Spa is doing its part to bring Hollywood hospitality down to earth. Located in Studio City - a five-minute drive from tourist hotspots like Grauman's Chinese Theatre and Warner Bros. Studio, and 10 minutes from Rodeo Drive - the 58-room property boasts the requisite comforts of a modern boutique hotel (rooms with flat-screen TVs, sleek minimalist furnishings and free Wi-Fi) without the La-La Land price tag. (Rates start at as low as US$119 a night.) In the lobby, wall murals pay homage to the Los Angeles skyline, while the resident mixologist prepares cocktails named after the city's famed thoroughfares. Before heading out for a night on Sunset Boulevard, guests can sip the namesake concoction (a minty blend of gin, green tea liqueur and Triple Sec) in the cozy lobby bar.

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London: Sip, browse, discuss, and maybe buy a book

Sip on prosecco while perusing the more than 1,000 titles that fill the shelves of The V&A Reading Rooms. Around the corner from The Victoria & Albert Museum, the stand-alone bookshop-cum-wine bar brims with volumes that range from obscure reference manuals ( Drunk: The Definitive Drinker's Dictionary) and modern fiction, to retrospectives of British rock and haute-couture designers. Collectors can thumb through the impressive selection of out-of-print and early editions. The shop also hosts informal evening readings and discussions; next up is a how-to on springtime entertaining with London foodie Duncan Ackery (March 17; admission is free, but reservations are required).

Mauritius: Never too early for a facial

One & Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius is making room for all ages with a new spa menu. Teens and tweens can brush off their jet lag with the "Thirsty Skin Hydrator," a pampering facial that includes a scalp massage and hydrating mask, while younger kids can opt for hand rubs and polished fingernails with the "Over the Rainbow" mini-manicure. Make it a memorable mother-daughter affair with the "Henna Together" treatment, which involves the ritualistic application of intricate henna patterns to the hands. Package prices start from $32.

Chicago: Meals that mess with your head

Restaurateur and celebrity chef Homaro Cantu is determined to transform your taste buds. Cantu's quirky new Fulton Market-area eatery iNG (short for Imagining New Gastronomy) is part food laboratory, part all-you-can-eat sensory experience. Diners who sit at executive chef Thomas Bowman's "miracle berry" kitchen table first sample the extract of a taste-twisting African fruit, then dig into a multicourse menu that is made with sour foods (lemons and bitter herbs) that magically taste sweet. Menu items include salt and vinegar kettle corn over popped kale, olive oil sorbet and matcha tiramisu. For a more conventional feast in the dining room, hire Bowman by the hour and he and his team will churn out a steady stream of Asian fusion dishes.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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