Signalling smokers: A website catalogs smoking hotels

| March 17, 2017

When it comes to searching for smoking hotels online, puffers face a smoke and mirrors situation of time-intensive research and poorly-organized hotel information. One website, Smoketels.com, founded in November 2013, aims to make the process a bit easier by cataloging hotels with smoking rooms throughout the world. As Shawn Bradley, the site’s founder, told the New York Times, “We don’t offer nonsmoking rooms, so if you’re a nonsmoker, you’re not for us.”

The site’s search tool quickly scans hotels worldwide to find smoking rooms available in 100,000 hotels in, according to the company, under one minute. A recent search for available rooms in March and April found a Holiday Inn in Serbia, Belgrade; five inexpensive hotels in Manhattan (ranging from $127.20 to $219); and 16 options in Beijing, China, a place known for its heavy smoker culture.

smoking hotels

Smoking rooms are getting harder and harder to find. From Matt Trostle.

Some hotels have banned smoking in all rooms, reports the Times. The Marriott International, for example, prohibited lighting up in 2,300 of its hotels (covering about 400,000 rooms) throughout the U.S. and Canada in 2006. Smokers’ rooms are still available throughout the U.S., but finding one can be a time-consuming process, as hotels prefer not to promote their smoking-room availability.

“For those who are smokers, and I am myself, they’re spending hours trying to find hotels,” Bradley told the Times. His website uses Expedia.com’s Expedia Affiliate Network, a booking system that Bradley says “pushes” all the smoking room inventory to Smoketels.com, where it’s easily searchable.

Despite arguably increased awareness of smoking’s fatal repercussions, the habit is still on the rise worldwide. While it is on the decline in high-income and upper-middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of the globe’s one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. Smoking kills six million people yearly, with 10 percent dead due to secondhand smoke exposure.

smoking hotels

Some hotels have banned smoking in all rooms.

Yet it isn’t only cigarette smokers who are in need of smoking rooms. Cigar smokers are another part of the market, reports the Times. Premium cigar smokers are often interested in pricier hotel accommodations, “including high-end hotels with cigar-shop humidors in the lobbies, where a prized Arturo Fuente Opus X might cost as much as dinner.” Long a business traveler staple, cigars are often enjoyed occasionally and in lounges or other social spots, rather than in packs, as cigarettes are, or in individual hotel rooms.

Jack Riepe, author and cigar aficionado, told the Times, “The cigars I smoke, Maduros, are enormous, basically the size of a bus muffler. They’re as black as an attorney’s heart, and they emit voluminous clouds of smoke, which works against a desire to smoke one in the confines of a hotel room.” Still, he admits, “I do smoke cigars when I travel, so I often look to find a hotel that allows smoking. You can generally find them in the cheaper properties.”

Cigar Aficionado, a monthly niche magazine, is now working on an app that will catalog cigar-accepting hotels and area cigar lounges for smoking travelers.

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Category: Smoking Rules

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