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10 great travel tips from Canada’s most famous butler

Traveling in luxury and style isn’t just about money, says Charles MacPherson, author of “The Pocket Butler’s Guide to Travel” ($14.95, Penguin Random House). Instead, it’s how the experience makes you feel. “I’ve been to many wonderful places around the world,” says MacPherson, who runs North America’s only butler school. “It wasn’t about being the most expensive. It wasn’t about being the cheapest. It was about the places that made me feel really special.” The author, who makes regular appearances on Canadian television and radio as “Charles the Butler,” shares some favorite spots with USA TODAY.

Afternoon tea at the Milestone Hotel and Residences, London

MacPherson learned of this boutique hotel when his employer had him organize a birthday party there. It’s consistently rated as London’s top for service. “It’s private, discrete and low-key. It’s not the Savoy with a huge room. But they bring you the very traditional afternoon tea. It’s the most luxurious.” milestonehotel.com

Pink’s Hot Dogs, Los Angeles

Butlers may know their way around champagne and caviar, but that doesn’t mean they can’t appreciate a good hot dog. MacPherson remembers attending a butler’s convention in Los Angeles, when one of his colleagues invited him out to eat. “I thought it would be some high-falutin’ restaurant, but it was a stupid little stand serving a wonderfully delicious greasy hot dog.” He was amazed to see movie stars and celebrities indulging as well. pinkshollywood.com

Itoya stationary store, Tokyo

While the rest of the world tweets and texts, MacPherson still believes in the power of handwriting. “The rich and famous still do write pen notes on paper,” he says. That’s why he loves this stationary emporium in Tokyo. “It’s like a department store, several floors, that’s all about pens and paper,” he says. The first time he visited, he bought a fountain pen that he had inscribed with the date of his purchase, and remembers his visit every time he uses it. ito-ya.co.jp/store/itoya/shibuya

Residence Hoteliere du Phare, Libreville, Gabon

Luxury can be found anywhere in the world, MacPherson says. He discovered this hotel and restaurant while on business in Africa, and it has become one of his favorites. “The owner served this green salad with the biggest, most beautiful marinated shrimp. The simplicity made it so good. I had it four times.” lepratiquedugabon.com

Stubbs and Wootton, Palm Beach, Florida

While this upscale shoe store might seem out of reach for most shoppers, MacPherson says it’s worth a splurge to pick up a pair of their slippers, which have wooden soles and heels, and can be had for $125 on sale. “They’re the most comfortable you’ve ever worn. The rich and famous wear them around town. You can look cool and hip.” stubbsandwootton.com

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