In recent years, Qatar has been talked about across the globe. Thanks to the country’s thriving economy, which is mainly based on the export of natural gas and oil, Qatar has been able to position itself among the richest countries in the world. But the peninsula has undoubtedly received most of its attention for its hosting of the 2022 FIFA world cup.
Located on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar has a population of 2.7 million. Although it is a small country, it can hold its own and prove itself to its larger neighbours in the region, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The country is rather conservative in its customs and religion (Islam). The population spends a lot of time in traditional majlis – private rooms where family and friends sit together for many hours. Yet, in recent years, the city’s cigar lounges have attracted more and more Qataris and have paved the way for the enjoyment of cigars, which has won some followers from the traditional and deeply cultural shisha-smoking circles.
In Doha, Qatar’s capital, all cigar lounges are located in hotels. Most Qataris live in Doha, where there is the most tourism and where one can dine on cuisines from all corners of the world, but mainly from Europe. In the meantime, the cigar lounges have been experiencing lively interest, for it is here that the various cultures of the locals and foreigners are connected by a mutual passion for puros.
The Library & Cigar Lounge is one of the best-known and oldest cigar lounges in the capital. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel in the West Bay district, it has been open since 2005. The Library has a large smoking area that is characterized by its elegant traditional interior with a combination of leather, wood, and paintings hanging on the walls. In addition, a fully equipped bar serves excellent cocktails and offers a wide range of spirits. The selection of Habanos in the Library’s cabinet humidor includes the classic brands from Habanos S.A., with Cohiba, Partagás, and Montecristo being among the most popular brands with guests.
A Casa del Habano is situated in the heart of The Pearl-Qatar, a luxurious and impressive artificial island in the West Bay Lagoon district, which, surrounded by a huge number of yachts, primarily scores points with its modern architecture and classy shops. It is one of two Habanos S.A. branches in Doha; another Casa del Habano is located in the center of Doha in Al Rayyan Street.
The Casa del Habano The Pearl offers a good selection of humidors and accessories, but there is only a small selection of Habanos themselves. The reason for this is that Qatar has been levying a tax surcharge of one hundred percent on products such as tobacco and alcohol since 2019, which since then has had a strong impact on the import of Habanos. Currently, Casa del Habano is the only outlet for puros, both for the public and for distribution to cigar lounges and hotels in the country.
Due to the strict smoking laws in Qatar, these days smoking is only allowed on the terrace of the Casa del Habano. But this is not at all a disadvantage, because from there, together with your Havana, you can enjoy a wonderful view of the sea and the countless yachts that dot the panorama.
Qatar is growing rapidly, and its proud inhabitants are experiencing this change with buzzing enthusiasm. Huge buildings, luxury hotels and, above all, stadiums nourish the illusion of progress and make the approach of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar tangible.
Smoke & Mirrors is an exclusive cigar lounge in the extravagant, super luxurious Mondrian hotel. It creates an ambience with an attractive design, in the dim light of chandeliers and black walls with integrated mirrors – an ambience in which it is pleasant to immerse oneself. Situated in the West Bay Lagoon district, Smoke & Mirrors is one of the city’s most famous and most frequented cigar lounges. You will find a good assortment of Habanos, which are stored in cabinet humidors under ideal conditions.
In Smoke & Mirrors you also enjoy superb service. Yennyfer Reyes from the Dominican Republic is the managing employee of the lounge and has been working there since it opened in 2017. “Customers prefer the brands like Partagás and Romeo y Julieta,” she says. “We organize various events, such as the longest ash competition or our embassy meetings with participants from different countries who are all enthusiastic Habanos smokers. Our customers are both Europeans and locals who appreciate this location not least because of the live concerts we host every weekday with Latin American music or jazz,” explains Reyes. The Smoke & Mirrors cigar lounge in Doha is not to be missed, also because of the excellent à la carte offer and the selected range of spirits.
Another interesting place for lovers of cigars is El Cedro Tasting Room, a cigar lounge in the Ritz-Carlton Sharq Village & Spa, known as the Qataris’ favorite hotel and which is recreated in the classic architectural style of a traditional Qatari village. This makes it one of the most popular hotels in the country. Equipped with an excellent walk-in humidor, El Cedro is the latest addition among the cigar lounges in Doha. Offering a good selection of Habanos, some limited editions from the Habanos S.A. portfolio, and exclusive regional editions, the range of puros is even more interesting.
El Cedro stands out in its design and decoration and positions itself as a traditional cigar lounge with modern influences. At the central bar you can enjoy a corresponding selection of signature cocktails, which ideally complement the cigar assortment. This makes it one of the most visited cigar lounges in the city. Marija Vranjanac, director of El Cedro, says: “Qataris and tourists alike come to us. They prefer the brands Cohiba, Hoyo de Monterrey, and H. Upmann, and also gladly order our signature cocktails.”
Doha always surprises with its new, luxurious buildings and designs. Surrounded by its own island on The Pearl-Qatar island is the Bohemia.
This modern cigar lounge of the Kempinski Marsa Malaz hotel has one of the most privileged views and best locations in the city. The cigars are stored under ideal humidified conditions. The humidor was built into the wall of the salon, as if it were another painting or one of the sculptures that decorate the main room. The quiet and pleasant lounge is mainly frequented by Qataris who know to appreciate the excellent offering and the beautiful sea view at the inviting window fronts. Alcohol is not served at this cigar lounge, but there is a fine drinks menu with non-alcoholic beverages that includes a recommendable selection of brilliantly prepared teas and coffees.
An interesting and attractive cigar lounge is La Vue in the Hotel Intercontinental. This small fumoir has an attractive walk-in humidor, which is mainly used by members to store their cigars. The inhouse range includes the brands H. Upmann, Cohiba, and Hoyo de Monterrey. La Vue has an extensive wine list with wines from all the world’s major wine regions, as well as a fine selection of cocktails and spirits.
The concept of the Edward Lounge is different from the other cigar lounges in Doha. The entrance way is fitted with 40 humidors that are all reserved for members who store their cigars there. This is an advantage in that the lounge does not offer cigars or alcohol, but it does offer an excellent menu and nonalcoholic beverages, especially teas and fresh juices. It is located in the city center in the Millennium Hotel – in the Al Sadd district, to be precise. The lounge proves to be an elegant place in classic style. Characterizing the interior are leather armchairs, wooden floors and cladded walls, and a main room surrounded by windows, from which one can enjoy a beautiful view of the city skyline due to its excellent location. And from the center of the room, a piano player accentuates the peaceful ambience with pleasant background music.