Autumn getaways for the cigar lover

Autumn getaways for the cigar lover

by Nick Hendry

When Cuban Cigar lovers go on holiday finding a venue friendly to our passion is always a high priority.  We are all well aware of the importance of our passion for fine Habanos to our moments of relaxation, so it is logical that when we take a break from normal life smoking plays a significant part.  Every aficionado will have their favourite spots in our home towns to visit but, when we seek a change of scenery in somewhere less familiar, it pays dividends to do a little advance research.

Luckily, more and more of the great hotels of the world cater for overs of the leaf.  Luxury properties on every continent have added humidors to their bars and restaurants, and comfortable spaces to smoke while enjoying top-class service and delicious pairings open with terrific regularity.  As the year begins to draw to a close, and those of us in Europe perhaps begin to look to foreign shores for some tropical warmth to break up the winter, fabulous hotels with equally opulent cigar lounges fill our thoughts.  From the legendary canal-side terrace of the Gritti Palace in Venice (seen in the main image) to the rooftop of Havana’s own Kempinski, these days we are spoilt for choice of a place to relax with a cocktail and a Cohiba.  Here are a few fine examples to consider for your autumn getaways.

The Edward Sahakian Lounge at The Bulgari Hotel, London

The Bulgari Hotel, London

It seems fitting to begin this list in London, a spiritual home of Havana cigars topped only by Cuba itself.  The Bulgari hotel in Knightsbridge is one of the city’s most celebrated places to stay, less than a 5 minute walk from the shopping delights of Harrod’s and Sloan Street and within easy reach of the nightlife in Mayfair and Soho.  Top-class fitness facilities and a high-end Italian restaurant sit alongside The Edward Sahakian Cigar Lounge, operated by the legendary cigar merchant whose name it bears and offering an incredible range of vintage and extremely rare cigars from his own private reserve.  A haven of true luxury in a metropolis which is always worth a visit.

La Casa del Habano, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

For all London has to offer in the autumn, it most certainly does not offer warmth.  For that we must look elsewhere, and few places deliver as well as Thailand.  The Mandarin Oriental sits in prime position on the banks of the Chao Phraya, and even offers a ferry service to guests who wish to explore the other hotspots along the river.  A wide selection of restaurants, bars and cafes onsite bring a wide variety of cuisines to guests while a spa and wellness centre offers relaxation treatments to dissolve the stresses of life.  To smoke, choose from an indoor Casa del Habano – where the aircon will shield you from the heat of the day – or spend an evening on the riverside terrace watching the boats gently roll along the river.

Steigenberger Wiltcher's, Brussels

Steigenberger Wiltcher’s, Brussels

Brussels, in the late part of the year, is home to legendary Christmas markets, serving roast meat and mulled wine to compete with any in the world.  This, paired with a year-round selection of world-class beers and an impressive range of cigar shops, make it the ideal destination for a cigar lover’s break.  In Steigenberger Wiltcher’s they have a hotel perfectly suited to the luxury smoker – the expansive terrace is open from breakfast until midnight and offers a comfortable place to enjoy our cigars after hitting the shops of the up-market Louise district the hotel calls home.  If the chill is a bit too much for al fresco evenings, the indoor Davidoff lounge is free to all guests.  This is the ideal base from which to explore one of Europe’s great ancient capitals.

The Dorsey Bar at The Venetian, Las Vegas

The Venetian, Las Vegas

Las Vegas is another destination which will still be warm at the end of the year, and one which needs no introduction as a party city.  All of the casinos will allow smoking on their gaming floors, but only some extend this to their bars as well – The Venetian is one of the finest.  Located at the north of The Strip, this sprawling resort encompasses over 20 restaurants, a huge shopping mall with its famous indoor canal, hidden theatre featuring an immersive show experience and, of course, high-stakes table games and slots. The Dorsey is a stylish cocktail bar just adjacent to the main gaming floor and will allow guests the perfect spot to meet before dinner for a quick aperitif or catch a nightcap before retiring for the evening, all accompanied by a fine cigar.

Hotel Vila Vita Parc, Portugal

Hotel Vila Vita Park, the Algarve

This 22-hectare complex boasts 7 pools, a private beach, 11 restaurants, shops, fitness facilities, 9-hole golf course and even its own private yacht and helipad.  Rooms offer spectacular views and cutting edge technology.  The entire estate is bordered by majestic Atlantic coastline and offers levels of seclusion and luxury that are unrivalled.  Alongside all this is a cigar terrace with views across the pools and garden, serving cocktails from early until late in the beautiful climate of the sub-tropical southern tip of Portugal.  This is the ultimate in luxury relaxation for the discerning cigar lover.

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