Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Jay-Z, May/June 2009
I have been a reader of your magazine since the beginning. In fact, I believe I have every single issue. I compliment you on your accomplishments and fine publications.
However, I am writing to object to your featuring the Montage Laguna Beach resort in the April "Good Life Guide" because it is not cigar friendly. Over the years, I have noticed that you accept ads for hotels and restaurants that are not cigar friendly. I figured that business is business and that you shouldn't turn away revenue (even though I believe that these ads should feature a disclaimer that states that these places are not cigar friendly).
The feature about the Montage Laguna Beach resort is not business, however. It's a free plug in a nonpaid editorial feature. It is not advertising. The resort doesn't deserve the free mention. Surely there are many fine resorts in the world that are cigar friendly—feature those. We readers are interested in learning about nice vacation spots where we can enjoy a cigar. I and too many of my friends have traveled to expensive and fancy resorts only to learn that there is no smoking permitted. (I now know, always ask prior to booking.) Even in business, I try not to schedule seminars and conventions in hotels and locales that are not hospitable to all guests. A leadership nonsmoking state like California has been on my non-schedule list for years. If more people would cancel conventions in these places and tell them why, perhaps they would rethink their policy.
Although I understand that you must accept all paid advertising, I hope that in the future you will never have an editorial feature on a resort, hotel or restaurant that is not cigar friendly. They do not deserve this publicity in your publication.
Editor's note: Mr. Levinson, we understand your point of view. But with cigar smoking being prohibited in more and more places, we don't feel it is right to punish the hotels. When possible, we do recommend cigar-friendly outposts, but we also point our readers to great destinations, regardless of cigar policy.
I just returned from a Caribbean cruise with seven of my favorite cigar smokers from our local cigar shop in Plano, Texas. The line was Celebrity, the ship, the Solstice out of Fort Lauderdale.
The service and the food on the ship are amazingly good and the smoking environment is nonexistent. Well, almost. The cigar smokers were relegated to eight chairs manned by six ashtrays at one corner of the fantail on the very top deck. On a nice day, it might have been tolerable, but our first three days at sea were in 20-foot swells, 50-mile-an-hour winds and lots of rain pouring over the only six-foot overhang that protected us at all. But as cigar smokers must do nowadays, we coped. This included turning chairs upside down, making a fort like we used to do as youngsters and all crowding in to have our cigars and a little camaraderie. And just as cigar smokers do everywhere they go, we had other cigar smokers from the ship discover our secret hiding place and join the festivities.
We met some great people and all shared some great cigar stories. Then we took a blood oath (it might have been brandy) to never, never, consider Celebrity in the future for our cruising and cigar-smoking adventures.
Douglas S. Keane