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Fari Beach Bar, Patina Maldives

The World's Best Beach Clubs

by Nick Hendry

Summer has well and truly arrived, and is probably the best time of year to enjoy Cuban cigars.  Havana puros are born in the heat, and in a city by the sea, so it seems natural that they are enjoyed in the same environs.  There is something special about the feeling of a warm, salty ocean breeze caressing your face and carrying the pale blue smoke of your cigar off into the distance.  It elevates the whole experience, soothes the body and mind and allows us to disconnect from the hectic modern world.  Add in a cold, crisp cocktail and we might just have the ultimate cigar smoking experience.

Of course, there are plenty of places around the world where such an experience can be found.  The Cuban coast may be the spiritual home of cigars, a place of pilgrimage for smokers to visit, but variety is the spice of life and many other nations provide that mixture of sun, sea and sand that so beautifully accompanies smoke.  Here are just a few magnificent options.

Byblos Beach Ramatuelle

Byblos Beach, Ramatuelle, France

Ramatuelle is a tiny hamlet on the Côte d'Azur, just 10 minutes’ drive from its more famous neighbour, Saint-Tropez.  It is from Saint-Tropez that the wonderful Byblos Beach draws its history – the property is an extension of the legendary Hotel Byblos in the centre of town.  Guests will be treated to an astonishing menu, created by the hotel’s Executive Chef, Nicola Canuti, using only local ingredients, some of which come from his own kitchen-garden.  Sustainability is a key point of principle at Byblos Beach, with power consumption kept to a minimum and ethically sourced, a 100% ‘No Plastic’ policy and even the table lighting kept muted so that there is less light pollution when night falls.  The most substantial effort comes in close-season: when November rolls around, and the tourists have moved on from the south of France, the entire wood-built property is dismantled and taken to storage, allowing the beach eco-system to recover from the strains of the busy period.  The views are incredible, the ceviche is delicious and the drinks are cold – this is an excellent spot for your summer cigar.

The Deck Bar & Grill, MarBella Corfu

MarBella Corfu Deck Bar & Grill, Corfu, Greece

Across the Mediterranean from Byblos Beach we find the island of Corfu, and the stunning MarBella resort.  Overlooking the Ionian sea to the east, views of turquoise waters will provide a soothing backdrop to your lunch or dinner, and of course the subsequent cigar.  The bar is accessed only by guests of the adjoining resort, either by walkway or via a gentle stroll through the lush hotel gardens, and offers an ideal spot to refuel after taking part in the ocean sports offered.  The real star here is the food: classic Greek cuisine is prepared in an open kitchen and grilled to perfection.  Locally caught seafood, bespoke cocktails and traditionally-cooked meats await you, and will be an excellent precursor to a full-bodied cigar as the evening becomes the night.  The aspect of the resort is due east, so it will even provide a comfortable spot to watch the sun come up with a morning coffee and a short, light smoke.  Bliss.

Nikki Beach, Saint Barth's

Nikki Beach, Saint Barth's

Saint Barths is an exquisite little Caribbean paradise island, part of the French territory in the region.  It has become a haven of luxury travel – full of wonderful vistas and secluded beaches, it has latterly attracted luxury hotels and touring superyachts so often associated with such locales.  The main town of Gustavia is home to every luxury brand you could hope for, while the adjacent village of Saint Jean is where the best beach is to be found, and that is where you will also find Nikki Beach.  A little livelier than the others on this list – think flowing champagne, energetic music and regular entertainment – this eccentric little property will nevertheless offer the same astonishing sea views, world-class service and delicious sustenance.  No matter how much we like relaxing with a cigar, sometimes we need a little more excitement to go with it – Nikki Beach will provide just that.

Fari Beach Bar, Patina Maldives

Fari Beach Club, Patina Fari Islands, Maldives

The Maldives Archipelago is one of the most astonishing places on the planet, and the Patina Maldives resort is one of the most incredible places to stay while you visit.  Simply put, this is true luxury.  The villas are majestic, the sunsets are sublime and the range of food, drinks, activities and amenities allow for any and every whim to be catered for.  The Fari Beach Club is a relaxed beach property designed to inspire marvel and allow guests to leave all their troubles at the door.  A daring, international menu is curated by 2- Michelin Star chef Nick Bril and the views over the ocean will allow you to sip a cocktail and smoke a cigar while admiring probably the most wonderful sunset you have ever seen.  Best bring a special cigar, as the Maldives truly are a special place.

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