Hotell Havanna in the spa city of Varberg on the west coast is an exception, even though you have to leave your rum outside. Swedish laws don’t allow alcohol and smoking in the same room.
The hotel was opened in 2013, when owner Lasse Diding wanted to create his own Cuba in his hometown. And he has succeeded. As soon as you step in, you’re accompanied by Latin music coming from the speakers, and the walls are adorned with Cuban art and paraphernalia. “Lasse used to go to Cuba to smoke cigars, read and relax when he needed to recharge his batteries,” restaurant manager, Henrik Nilsson explains. The basement holds a spa and on the top floor is the aptly named Hemingway Bar, where summer evenings can be spent enjoying both a cigar and rum on the roof terrace.
“We started off with 40 different cigars and 50 kinds of rum. Today we have about 200 of each. There’s basically no limit to our budget. At one point, Lasse said he wanted all the different rums in the world.” As the Havanna specializes in Habanos, their cigars are predominantly Cuban. But through the glass of a table in the non-smoking part of the bar I see cigars by Padrón, Davidoff, Oscar Valladares and many, many more. Besides providing a place to smoke, the hotel also has about two rum tastings every week, and in August they arrange Sweden’s biggest cigar festival, Fiesta del Cigarro. “I wish we had an aerial photo of that,” says Lasse. “You probably wouldn’t see the hotel for all the smoke.”