THE smoking ban in England may have taken hold of the country more than 14 years ago – but one venue in County Durham has explained why it’s just created the ‘region’s first’ cigar and spirits den for people to enjoy “the finer things in life”.

On July 1, 2007, it became illegal for people to smoke in enclosed spaces within England after political and campaign pressure over the health implications of cigarettes and cigars.

However, one North East hotel revealed earlier this week that it would be launching a new concept that would see it offer a range of premium Cuban cigars and spirit choices which pair with them.

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The new cigar and drink space at Lumley Castle, Chester-le-Street, which has been created in the outside courtyard of the venue, will allow guests to sit in a dedicated outdoor area where they can pick from a unique pairing menu.

The Cuban cigars – which are kept in a humidor to ensure they are at the correct temperature – have been specially selected for the hotel, while each spirit has been chosen to enhance the whole experience, according to Lumley Castle.

While the new venture might raise a few eyebrows from members of the public and health experts, Gordon Cartwright, general manager at Lumley Castle Hotel, has explained that the new cigar and spirits den is for “an occasional treat” instead of a “habit-forming experience”.

The Northern Echo: The hotel say that this concept will be the 'region's first' but has warned that it's an "occasional treat" and not a "habit-forming experience". The hotel say that this concept will be the 'region's first' but has warned that it's an "occasional treat" and not a "habit-forming experience".

He said: “Good cigars are still really popular, and by pairing them with these specially chosen spirits, it makes for a memorable experience.

“We believe our guests will appreciate being able to enjoy something very different in amazing surroundings.”

He added:“A luxury cigar is an occasional treat rather than a habit-forming experience which is why you see cigars being sold by luxury hotels around the country.

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“I believe this is the only one of its kind in the region, and we look forward to welcoming guests to Lumley Castle Hotel.”

Staff at the castle have undergone specialised training to learn how to cut the cigars correctly and will also be able to advise guests on their choices.

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