The May Fair Hotel has officially opened its new cigar room and is aiming to attract as many female cigar enthusiasts as male, according to the general manager Anthony Lee.
London doesn’t have many cigar rooms, and some of the best such as the RAC, Tramp, and Dunhill’s “Homes” are in private clubs, while others are just outdoor areas, so there’s certainly going to be a demand.
The new room is located in an inner courtyard of the hotel, an area formerly “good only for pigeons” according to Lee, which has been transformed into a COSA (cosy, outdoor smoking area), and one aimed to appear to women as much as men.
As smokers know, many of these areas are no more than a gazebo or shelter erected in whatever spare space a hotel can find, good for a quick cigarette, but unsuitable for a longer more reflective cigar, no matter how many heaters try and keep the chill of winter at bay.
The May Fair’s Cigar Room is a grander conception. Considerable investment and a design by Graham Cox and the hotel’s in-house team has resulted in a first floor area which satisfies the legal requirement of being at least 50 per cent outside, while at the same time feeling like you have remained inside. It is achieved by walls of elliptically-shaped wooden louvres, a slanted glass roof partly obscured by drapes, and chain mesh walls, both obscuring the surrounding buildings and creating an intimate feel to the room.
The picture doesn’t really do it justice, as in summer at least, as the evening draws in and the lighting takes over the surrounding hum of air conditioning units in the inner courtyard create the sensation of being on a luxury liner, with swing chairs, day-beds, and a modern fireplace.
The Cigar Room is accessed beyond Silvena Rowe’s Quince Restaurant, so you have to know it is there, and certainly this isn’t a place to grab a quick cigarette – not least since there is a minimum £20 spend. It is a place to spend a relaxing hour or two, and there’s plenty for cigar smokers – and drinkers – to enjoy.
All of the Cuban cigars on offer have been supplied by Hunters and Frankau, which are stored in an Italian-made humidor housing 40 varieties of cigar – everything from the Cuban Behike 52 Cohiba or the Montecristo Open Master to more lighter options such as Santa Domiana and Hoyo de Monterrey. Mark-ups on the cigars aren’t high: taking the well known Montecristos as an example, selected prices are as follows: No.2 £28, No.4 £15, No.5 £15 and Petit Edmundo £20.
Drinks also are a major appeal of the area – and the May Fair as a whole. As well as Armagnacs, Cognacs and Whiskeys, there is a selection of signature Martinis (£20) including the exclusive Rococo Chocolate Martini, available in “his” or “her” options, mixed using rich, single estate chocolate. So-called “Cigar Sommeliers” led by Sophia Christoforidou help select your cigar and match your cocktail.
Lee says the aim of the new Cigar Room is not only to attract female clientele but also high spending international tourists from the United States, China and the Gulf and is part of his larger plan to turn the May Fair into an “urban resort”.
Future plans for the Cigar Room include annual memberships of £500 with members guaranteed admittance and in return receiving a box of cigars, their own named cigar locker and liquor locker allowing them to store their cigars at the hotel, something visitors from the US will particularly cherish because of the ban on Cuban cigars in that country.
The Cigar Room at the May Fair is open from 5pm-12am. To reserve a space customers should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information visit themayfairhotel.co.uk or call +44 207 769 4041.