The House of Grauer, Geneva, Switzerland
A short walk from the Rolex Headquarters you come across a vintage, pink Chevrolet. Parked outside an ash-gray building in Geneva’s business district, the car looks conspicuously out of place—like it should be cruising the streets of Havana. Finding the Chevy means you’ve arrived at The House of Grauer, a luxury smoking lounge with a staggering selection of Cuban cigars.
Opened to the public in 2016, House of Grauer is quite large, measuring more than 6,458 square feet. Its wide entryway, lined with books, porcelain cigar jars and high-end spirits leads to five main areas: an expansive walk-in humidor, a wine and spirits shop, a private cigar lounge, a cigar museum and a sweeping curve of retail space reserved for cigar accessories.
The star of the show is the walk-in humidor. House of Grauer claims it is the largest in Europe, measuring more than 1,130 square feet. Inside, towering shelves are stacked high with Cuban cigar boxes. Glass-top cabinets loaded with puros line the perimeter, along with rare humidors. There are currently around 500,000 smokes in the room, “but it can hold up to one million cigars,” says Hanna Panzica, House of Grauer's executive assistant manager.
The selection is vast, focused primarily on new, special and regular-production Cuban cigars. Cohiba 55 Aniversario Edición Limitada 2021 is here, along with some of the earliest Edición Limitadas, such as Romeo y Julieta Exhibición No. 2. There are also many Regional Editions from across the globe, like the Diplomaticos Bushido Exclusivo Asia Pacífico and the Punch Platino Exclusivo India.
Thoughtful selections of non-Cuban cigars also make an appearance. A variety of Arturo Fuente Don Carlos and Fuente Fuente OpusX are in the mix (including the very limited OpusX 2020 made for the United Arab Emirates market), along with Davidoff Royal Release, Plasencia Alma Fuerte, Ashton Virgin Sun Grown and Oliva Serie V.
“Our guests enjoy mostly Cuban cigars, but we’re getting more and more requests for non-Cuban offerings,” Panzica says.
Outside the humidor, a stunning assortment of luxury cigar accessories are highlighted in display cases. S.T. Dupont Ligne 2 and Le Grand lighters, Elie Bleu cutters and humidors, Davidoff scissors and ashtrays are all available for purchase. A wine and spirits room nearby offers up an impressive selection of rum, whisky and wines by the bottle. Another room is lined with cigar lockers, where guests can rent humidified storage space for their cigars. Rentals are 800 Swiss francs (about $855) a year, according to Panzica.
The accessories corridor leads to the museum and exhibition space, with artifacts from Cuban cigar factories, antique humidors and paintings by contemporary Cuban artist Ciro Quintana. There’s a desktop cigar humidor on display said to have once belonged to Ernest Hemingway. It’s an interesting piece: though Hemingway loved Havana, he was not a serious cigar smoker. According to House of Grauer, the humidor was offered to Hemingway by a group of Cuban journalists in 1959. An engraving commemorating the event is inscribed under the lid.
The final area—House of Grauer’s superb cigar lounge—is a delight for the senses. There’s a palatial feel to the smoking room, outfitted with white columns, warm lighting and large green ferns. Bar tables and leather armchairs embellish the space. Water pours from a fountain draped in hanging plants. From hidden speakers, Cuban music plays softly while slow-moving ceiling fans swirl the air. On a walnut countertop, drink dispensers house Macallan 18 Triple Cask, Lecompte 18 Calvados Pays d’Auge and Havana Club 15, among others.
“The spirits are self-service in the lounge,” says Panzica. “Each guest has a personal leather token or card with an RFID code. He can swipe it and get served. An invoice will be automatically created in his online account and adds up to his current purchases. He can pay his purchases on his way out or later back home. No cash or payments are used in the lounge, where guests feel like they’re at home.”
To kick back in the splendid setting, you need to be a member. “We offer different levels of membership,” says Panzica. Annual prices begin at 1,200 Swiss francs ($1,280) and go up to 4,800 ($5,100) for the highest tier of membership, which includes special perks including discounts on purchases, personalized gifts at contract renewal, first access to collectors’ items and priority invitation to special events.
House of Grauer is more than just a smoking lounge with an incredible selection of cigars. There’s passion and attention to detail in every room and comforts at every turn. The sum of its parts make it feel like a personal oasis. A home away from home. A slice of Cuba in the southwest of Switzerland.
The House of Grauer
Route des Jeunes 9
1227 Genève, Switzerland
+41 22 552 2799
Open Monday through Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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