Cigar Aficionado

Havana Club Cigar Lounge (& Barbershop), La Quinta Resort & Club, Palm Springs, California

Until I moved to Southern California, I never quite got “the desert.” I’d been to Phoenix and Tucson on tennis vacations. Meh.

The first two times I visited the Palm Springs area were on company business, retreats during which the main activities involved golf, beer and poker. Maybe some tequila as well, though I can’t recall, so almost surely tequila was involved.  Those visits, however, were in the summer months. Scorching three-digit temperatures and an unrelenting sun drove most year-round residents to become nocturnal creatures.

Just recently, I visited La Quinta Resort & Club, built in the 1920s, because the folks there had been so gracious as to open the Havana Club Cigar Lounge. This, among other attributes, further distinguishes La Quinta as perhaps the best and most cigar-friendly resort in “the desert.”

You see, the Havana Club is not just a place where you can smoke a cigar. It is also a barbershop where the straight-razor shave lives and recently delighted one visitor, who had never experienced such close grooming before, to expound, “I want to do this every day!”

His wife was very happy as she had given him the shave and haircut as a gift.

All this now happens in what used to be a real estate office that was not bringing in revenue, explained Jim Pedone, La Quinta’s marketing director. So, the resort’s executives went out and recruited a barbershop entrepreneur, known mysteriously only as “Mrs. Kim,” and put together a two-chair tonsorial parlor that houses a very decent sized humidor owned and run by Pasadena tobacconist Anto Kamarian. Kamarian also owns the cigar business at all nine of La Quinta’s world-class golf courses, as well as the resort’s Morgan’s restaurant.

A customer inside Havana Club's humidor.
A customer peruses the smokes inside Havana Club's humidor.

Louie was my barber. I got a very fine haircut, beard trim and a neck and shoulder massage. The haircut runs a very reasonable $20, plus $10 more for the beard trim. The massage ($25) is done with one of those old-style hand-vibration contraptions that definitely helps take the edge off.  So did the cigar and rum I enjoyed on the patio after the haircut. I smoked an Oliva Serie O and had a Gosling’s Black Seal on a couple of rocks.  

The cigar selection far outstrips the choices of rum, but I’m hoping the bar will evolve in that regard. While I was smoking the Oliva and chatting with regulars, the store’s manager walked out with a Davidoff Special ‘T.’

“Anto wants you to try this one,” she said.

That became my after-dinner cigar in the courtyard just outside of Morgan’s where I had just finished a superb prime-grade Certified Angus Beef New York strip steak and a Vizcaya rum (this time with a lime wedge, cuz, wow, that’s sweet rum).

I sat by a fire-pit, that just helped warm up the mild night.

After dinner, I just sort of floated back to the room, wondering when I might need a haircut again.

For more on the resort, check out this feature we ran last year.

Havana Club Cigar Lounge (& Barbershop)
La Quinta Resort & Club
49-499 Eisenhower Drive
La Quinta, CA

Cigar lounge open daily, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. (760) 777-5839.
Barber shop open daily, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (760) 777-5835.

Cigar lockers: $500 per year

"i recently visited the quaint,cordial cigar and barber lounge. the service was impeccable, the atmosphere warm and jovial. i did indulge with a shave by ms. kim. a wonderful, relaxing and meticulous shave. followed my a delicious ecuadorian corona cigar! an immaculate himdor with a wonderful selection for every occasion. i look forward to my next indulgence at the havana lounge. cheers! enrique c." —January 5, 2012 20:02 PM
"Hey, FYI that's not a picture of a customer perusing the humidor. That's Anto Kamarian, the owner! :D The natural and stately manner with which he is holding his cigar was a dead giveaway." —December 21, 2011 22:09 PM
"To answer your question, anyone can visit. You don't have to stay at the resort. " —December 14, 2011 16:38 PM
"Enjoyed the article and especially nice to know since we visit the desert. However, you didn't say whether or not Havana Club is open for the enjoyment of cigar smokers that are not guests of La Quinta Resort." —December 14, 2011 15:08 PM
"a test comment" —December 5, 2011 14:41 PM
"sounds like a great place" —December 5, 2011 14:39 PM