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The Garden Room at The Lanesborough Hotel, London

Nick Hammond
Posted: February 15, 2011

There are cigar bars. There are cigar lounges. And then there's The Garden Room at The Lanesborough.

London's high-class hotel (a personal butler for every room) is head and shoulders above its competitors when it comes to catering for the lover of the leaf.

Not only is this sensational cigar terrace warm, with underfloor heating, overhead heating and internal heating provided by killer vodka Martinis, it also houses one of the best-stocked humidors in the northern hemisphere.

Don't forget that you are in England, the land of the pervasive smoking ban, which has ousted cigar smokers from just about every comfortable nook in the country. Not here at The Lanesborough, though. No expense spared, combined with an ingenious design, means this is a thoroughbred among smoking shelters.

The room is low, ceiled by oak panelling with inset spotlights. A warm glow emanates from beneath your feet. Shrubs and plants to either side of the room give you the impression of full enclosure, even if there is none. And the open fire at the end of the room adds the pièce de résistance to the library feel. Discrete overhead heaters breathe benignly on your comfortable, leather armchair. In external temperatures of 3 degrees Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit), businessmen around you smoke comfortably in short-sleeves, hands airily waving blue smoke from exquisite Cuban cigars.

This astounding outside venue is the personal fiefdom of Giuseppe Ruo.

The Italian, whose official title is Director of Bars at The Lanesborough, including The Library Bar and The Garden Room, is passionate about cigars.

"I travel to Cuba four times a year," he said in his lilting accent. "I purchase cigars for our humidors. I guarantee there are sticks here you will not find anywhere else in London, because I buy them myself, sometimes from other collectors around the world."

Bidding at Cuban auctions—sometimes from another country—Ruo is recognised as an authority on Havanas, and steals away with some mouthwatering boxes as a result.

Fancy a Dunhill to accompany your Champagne? No problem. Cuban Davidoff Dom Perignon with your gin and tonic? Ruo will arrange with a wave of the hand and a nod of the head.

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Comments   1 comment(s)

Jordan Wild — Inver Grove Heights, MN, USA,  —  September 24, 2013 12:53am ET

Visited the Lanesborough a few times while working on my MA. It is a wonderful lounge with great customer service. The £25 fee for non hotel residents shouldn't scare anyone off because of the service and selection available. When I return to London in the winter I will visit the Garden Room again.

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