Where to Smoke: The Lanesborough
The stunning Garden Room at The Lanesborough
VINTAGE SPIRITS. EXPERT TEAM. PRESTIGIOUS GRANDEUR
The fourth edition in our spotlight series Where to Smoke. An inside guide on the most opulent rooms, lounges and terraces to enjoy Cuban Cigars. We explored the Garden Room at The Lanesborough. The iconic, Knightsbridge hotel, is under the vision of Oetker Collection and reopened in 2015 after a stunning refurbishment. Here are our previous establishments from the series:
They say nothing beats an original, and if that is true, the Garden Room cannot be compared. Located at The Lanesborough, an iconic mansion on the doorstep of Hyde Park, the outdoor terrace was the first in London designed for cigar smoking after the UK’s indoor ban. With marble-floored corridors and red-carpet stairs, what other hotel provides such splendour to admire on the walk to an enjoyable cigar? Upon arrival, we met manager Sophian Ejjani, who has looked after guests in the Garden Room for more than three years.
OPULENCE OF THE GARDEN ROOM - “There’s nothing like this in London. It’s green, it’s vibrant, it’s nice and inviting. When the sun goes down – it’s really cosy. It’s like a living room – in the middle of London”, says Sophian. You would never believe such a picturesque escape is situated in the depths of London’s bustling sites. Comfy seating, heating underfloor and overhead, plants constructing privacy. It’s the little touches that frame the luxury. Thirst quenched because staff do not leave your glasses empty and motionless, an orange flower or two to compliment your table, and when you look closely, unique ash trays and lighters.
Inside the Garden Room, before you reach outside, is a bar housing an elaborate collection of whiskey, cognac and other spirits and alcoholic beverages, along with a handmade humidor built by Massimo de Munari – the industry’s best cabinet maker. For cigar enthusiasts, the humidor is like a cigar mecca. An array of habanos with Regionals from each part of the world. The humidor assortment is so extensive, that there are mini humidors filled with cigars inside. Peak times at the Garden Room, are pre-dinner – approximately between 5pm to 8pm, and then from 10pm till closing when guests have eaten. The room closes at 2am everyday with the exception of Sunday at midnight.
The beautiful interior by designer Alberto Pinto, with the always welcoming staff. Right: Garden Room Manager Sophian Ejjanfi, who once worked at The Lanesborough's Library Bar.
"Magnificently paired with delicious drinks"
EXPERT KNOWLEDGE AND REMARKABLE SERVICE - The team of seven skilfully work together to highlight individual strengths. As Sophian says, “it’s a little family”. He prides himself on his effortless manner with guests, whilst his assistants Luca Tramontana and Neil Millington are adept with cigar procurement. Luca is the very first Master of Havana Cigars – the UK’s prestigious certification, and Neil has decades of experience in the industry. Together they oversee around 8,000 sticks.
Their renowned collection includes the rare 50th anniversary from Cohiba, plus pre-Castro, Cuban Davidoff’s. Partagas Serie D No. 4 Cigar, Cohiba Robustos, and Romeo Y Julieta Wide Churchills Cigar are what Sophian calls “the bread and butter”. These are the top choices chosen by visitors. For cigar aficionados, they are the cream of the crop, must-smoke habanos. There is no minimum spend at the Garden Room, but guests are expected to smoke cigars from the humidor. And with such a spectacular collection and the best advice on cigar choices, it would be incredibly difficult to not smoke one. With the staff's first-rate expertise, all Cuban cigars are magnificently paired with delicious drinks.
The Lanesborough is a destination for those who appreciate quality spirits, cocktails and classic beverages. Top Left: luxurious Macallan Whiskey, Top Right: Vintage 1770 Cognac, Bottom: A perfect pairing of green tea and a 2016 Limited Edition Montecristo Dantes Cigar.
"light bites, satisfying meals and tasty desserts"
FINEST SPIRITS AND BEVERAGES - When celebrated bartender Salvatore Calabrese joined The Lanesborough in the early 90’s, he brought along his knowledge of vintage cognacs. The hotel houses many of the finest. Particularly, a Napoleon 1770 bottle which has of course survived world wars, revolutions, and is close in age to the discovery of Australia. For £6,500 per gram, you can taste centuries old history. Fifty-five-year-old whiskey Balvenie 55 is another vintage still present and costs £5,500 per gram.
As well as these dated masterpieces, The Lanesborough excels at classic cocktails. The upstairs Library Bar specialises in the spirit-based mixology. “We try to avoid the fruity – raspberry, strawberry… red fruits – doesn’t go really well with a cigar. Citrus goes well, you can have a Margarita or Daiquiri” explained Sophian. What he strongly suggests for a cocktail pairing, educated with his bartender background, is an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. With that being said, the Garden Room bar is ideally a spot for spirits and red wine like Port. On top of the delectable drinks, there is a food menu with light bites, satisfying meals and tasty desserts.
The Garden Room has one of London's greatest walk-in humidors with 150 different cigars. Top Left: Cohiba's 50th Anniversary Humidor, Top Right: Cohiba Majestusos 1966 Humidor.
ICONIC STATUS - Redeveloped and now in the safe hands of the Oetker Collection, a selection of opulent hotels, The Lanesborough has surpassed iconic status. The hotel is a city landmark admired by all. Even by locals and tourists who haven’t yet had the privilege of visiting. What was formerly a hospital, is now a rapture of affluent suites, bedrooms and ‘graceful London living’. Award-winning Michelin-starred Celeste restaurant is where you dine if you want the most delectable meal before your cigar, and the hotel's Afternoon Tea is esteemed as one of the top experiences. Their exclusive private members’ Club & Spa has leading wellness professionals, and in the midst of all those amenities, there is the serene Garden Room. We believe it is one of the most luxurious places to smoke, with an ideal location, hospitality, drink mastery and least forgetting, a humidor with many of our adored Cuban Cigars online.