The Handbook
The Handbook

Happy National Cigar Day on February 27th! Thanks to modern ventilation methods you can tell Frank Sinatra to pipe down, coz smoke does not get in your eyes… There’s really nothing quite like lazing in a wing-back chair, holding a cigar bigger than a bratwurst and discussing affairs of state; Brexit, Trump, Love Island and so forth.

But with smoking struggling with a rep about as toxic as Prince Andrew right now, it’s hard to find a sociable place to enjoy those sweet sweet cancer-sticks. Step forward some of our favourite hotels and restaurants, who have cleverly circumvented the freedom-restricting provisions of the smoking ban by creating rooms that are perfect for puffing away, sumptuous and yet protected from the elements. The smoking lounge: keeping dry cleaners in business since 1586.

Where: 11 Knightsbridge, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LY
Website: www.thewellesley.co.uk

The Wellesley

Bill Clinton famously didn’t inhale, which should take him straight off the guest list at The Wellesley because this is cigarette central. The Knightsbridge hotel is the place to stay if you’re a 60-a-day-er, the smoke wafts out like the fire brigade are en route.

Smoke wafts out like the fire brigade are en route

And if cigars are your bag, then follow the delicious smell and you’ll find that ground zero is the smoking room and Europe’s largest hotel humidor containing over £1.5m of cigars at any one time. Sample a cigar in the tasting room, then enjoy it on the brand new terrace designed by Lee Simmons.

The Ritz

The fug of opulence can’t be more clearly articulated than by visiting The Ritz. The hotel’s smoking lounge comes with its own cigar shop, with a walk-in humidor flogging no end of Cohiba, Partagás, Montecristo, Ramón Allones and Bolívar cigars, not to mention the hotel’s own collection of Ritz cubans.

The art deco smoking lounge comes with its own cigar sommelier, giving smokers the chance to sample at leisure, and you’re in The Ritz, so it’s, y’know, Ritzy…

Where: 150 Piccadilly, Green Park, W1J 9BR
Website: www.theritzlondon.com

The Lanesborough

The Lanesborough is the epitome of London chic, and their smoking terrace is the quintessential place to relax with a pretty little Cuban. Or a cigar.

The garden room has an extensive collection of Cuban and pre-Castro cigars in their walk-in humidor, let the Cigar Sommelier guide you to find the perfect flavour and strength for you.

Where: Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7TA
Website: www.oetkercollection.com

Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill

One of history’s most famous cigarists has to be Sir Winston Churchill. The Nazi beating, Pol Roger swigging, cigar chomping legend is immortalised in, among many other places, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, and their smoking terrace is a great place to honour the titan.

The Nazi beating, Pol Roger swigging, cigar chomping legend is immortalised

The hotel has its own, award winning, cigar sommelier who will help pair the perfect Champagne with your cigar, and the hotel’s humidor has a varied selection of cigars on offer.

Where: 30 Portman Square, Marylebone, W1H 7BH
Website: www.londonchurchill.regency.hyatt.com

The May Fair Hotel

Trust The May Fair to come up with a smoking terrace that’s even more fashionable than smoking. With fireside swingy chairs, lashings of rattan and deep cushions, making this Mayfair haunt one of the most desirable places in town to inhale those tumorigenic agents.

One of the most desirable places in town to inhale those tumorigenic agents

The space is also ideal for drinks plus Mediterranean dining as the terrace serves Spanish and Italian bar bites, plus Mexican and Peruvian highlights from their sister kitchens.

Where: Stratton Street, Mayfair, W1J 8LT
Website: www.themayfairhotel.co.uk

Montague on the Gardens

The Montague on the Gardens is never anything short of genteel, and of course the same goes for The Cigar Terrace. The spacious humidor cabinet includes the latest and most exotic cigars from around the world, which can be enjoyed by guests accompanied by snacks and drinks.

The terraces works in partnership with Hunters & Frankau to source limited edition and vintage cigars, then simply sit back and puff away to the glorious view of the eponymous gardens.

Where: 15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BJ
Website: www.montaguehotel.com

Boisdale of Canary Wharf

Apparently Boisdale owner Ronald Macdonald (not the clown, although…) has compared the smoking ban to “a Nazi occupation”. Forthright and ridiculous comparisons aside, The Cigar Terrace, just above The Macdonald Bar, is replete with sofas, armchairs, cushions and rugs, with outdoor heaters and an awning and cashmere blankets in winter.

Where: Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, E14 4QT
Website: www.boisdale.co.uk

Where: Bulgari Hotel London, 171 Knightsbridge, SW7 1DW
Website: www.bulgarihotels.com

Bulgari Hotel

Old-school glamour, wood panels and deep leather chairs, The Bulgari Hotel has created a smokers’ paradise along with cigar merchant Edward Sahakian.

This place is worth taking up smoking for...

Channelling 1950s style, the smoking lounge sources cigars from Edward Sahakian’s private collection and exploits the handy legal loophole that allows cigar shops to provide an enclosed smoking room.

This place is worth taking up smoking for…

Corinthia Hotel

Bridging the indoor/outdoor divide, the Garden Lounge at Corinthia Hotel London is comfortable and protected from the elements by large brollies, rugs and fires. A collab with  cigar experts Hunters & Frankau, the well-stocked humidor is packed with rare and vintage cigars, which would go down perfectly with one of the 62 varieties of whisky on offer, not to mention the rare selection of Symington family ports, which includes the Graham “Ne Oublie” 1882 port.

Where: Whitehall Place, Westminster, SW1A 2BD
Website: www.corinthia.com

Dukes London

Down a little St James’s dead-end you’ll find Dukes London, one of London’s best kept secrets (along with how on earth to get out of King’s Cross station). Head up to the cigar and cognac terrace and combine the rich heavy smoke from your cigar, with a delicious swill of cognac. Sit back and reflect that the world really isn’t that bad after all. Although maybe it is for the Cuban virgin upon whose thigh the cigar was rolled.

Where: Dukes Hotel, 35 St James’s Place, St. James’s, SW1A 1NY
Website: www.dukeshotel.com

The Handbook has teamed up with The Grill at The Dorchester for an exclusive competition. Entrants will have the chance to win a dinner for two at The Grill at The Dorchester when it re-opens! www.dorchestercollection.com