Opulent: the art deco-style smoking lounge at the Ritz for cigar aficionados
London has strengthened its claim to be the cigar capital of the world with the launch of an opulent shop and smoking lounge at one of its most famous hotels.
Ritz London Cigars opened this week on the ground floor of the five-star Piccadilly landmark and will be open daily from 10am to 11pm.
It is the latest venue in central London where cigar-lovers can buy and sample some of the world’s finest Havanas.
The shop will display a range of Cohiba, Partagás, Montecristo, Ramón Allones and Bolívar cigars as well as its collection of six Ritz cigars from Cuba in a walk-in humidor.
The range includes the rare Cohiba Behike 56 priced at £210 per cigar. The RitzCollection Laquito Number Six box and the Ritz Cigars Churchill Box 12 each cost £960 for 12 cigars.
Buyers will be able to try their purchases in an art deco-style “sampling lounge” which is exempt from the ban on smoking in public places, and get advice from a cigar sommelier.
Some of the world’s most famous cigar smokers were regulars at the Ritz, including Charlie Chaplin, Sir Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan.
The shop and sampling lounge replaces Ritz Fine Jewellery and will have entrances from the hotel and direct on to Piccadilly.
London has seen a huge increase in luxurious cigar lounges and terraces that can side-step the smoking ban which came into force in 2007. Indoor smoking lounges are allowed so long as smokers are “sampling” cigars bought at a shop.
One of the most lavish is the cigar salon at the new Annabel’s nightclub on Berkeley Square in Mayfair. There are also cigar rooms or terraces at exclusive private members’ clubs such as the Arts Club, Mark’s Club and 5 Hertford Street in Mayfair and Ten Trinity Square in the City, as well as at luxury hotels such as The Wellesley and the Bulgari. Earlier this year Darius Namdar, group cigar sommelier of Birley Clubs and director of Mark’s Club, won the World Habanosommelier Championship.
The Ritz’s director Ciaran Fahy, said: “We are delighted to be opening Ritz London Cigars this week, our cigar shop and sampling lounge, in tribute to some of the Ritz’s iconic British guests who have shared a passion for fine cigars.
“We look forward to offering cigar aficionados both a premium selection of some of the world’s finest cigars as well as a luxurious experience within the comfort of the elegant sampling lounge.”\