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Hotel du Vin smokin' consistency
I had a great cigar-smoking at the Bothy at the Hotel du Vin in smoke-phobic Glasgow. Well, the Hotel du Vin in Cambridge, England, I was pleased to learn, offers the same environment! Behind the hotel is a small, covered, and heated outdoor smoking lounge where guests are invited to light up and relax. Its name, the "Cigar Shack," is only half accurate – fortunately, it's the first half.
The Hotel du Vin (and Mal Maison) properties in Great Britain pride themselves on offering a unique guest experience rather than the homogeneity of the major chains. This is particularly true at the Cambridge hotel, where room numbers are eschewed in favor of names (I spent the evening in the Taylor's Port room, which is appropriate, given how much I enjoy the drink).
At reception, I was told about the outdoor smoking space and proceeded to it immediately after dropping my bags in Taylor's Port. Though it's not a carbon copy of the Glasgow Bothy, the Cigar Shack's similarities are striking. The covered space is of roughly the same design, though it is a bit smaller. Also, like its Scottish cousin, the smoking lounge offers a fireplace and ample seating. Cuban cigars are available for purchase (in case you forgot to bring your own stash).
Gallery: Cigar Shack at the Hotel du Vin
Outside the Cigar Shack, there is a large patio with four tables that seat four people – and a bench that handles two comfortably. The lucky rooms are Graham Beck, Concha y Toro and tk-Zapata, which open directly into the this outdoor space. Sure, you have to sacrifice a bit of privacy, but I'm a sucker for access to outside, probably because I live in a city that charges a premium for it. It can't be too bad, as I smoked several cigars in a row (during which I saw people enter these rooms), and nobody complained.
If you're a smoker, this is the best alternative to being able to light up in your room. In fact, I find it preferable. It's a great environment, with covered, climate controlled areas, an dprovides a bit of a social scene.
As always, non-smokers are welcome, too!
Disclosure: Visit Britain paid for this trip, and British Airways picked up the flights. There are many other reasons to stay at this hotel, but I'm sure the other writers on the press trip will cover them. I'm unashamedly a cigar guy.