When the smoking ban came into effect in the UK in 2007, a few hotels, restaurants and bars tried to find ways to get around the legislation. But such efforts were soon stubbed out. So far, so British and law-abiding. But in the last few years encouraging green shoots of semi-rebellion have been appearing. Several UK smoking hotels now have cosy outdoor smoking areas or COSAs. It is still thoroughly law-abiding in that they are at least 50% open but the grander the hotel, the more kitted out they are.
Outdoor heating is universal but whether that is a gas-fired patio heater, an open fire or even under-floor heating depends on where you light up.
Here is our selection of the best smoking hotels in the UK. A smoking hotel is not one where you can smoke anywhere but one which has a place specially for smoking. Please feel free to call or email a friendly guru for advice. Contact
London is a smoker’s delight, particularly if you like to linger over a big fat cigar. The Dorchester on Park Lane is a super-luxurious hotel in a magnificent location overlooking Hyde Park in an area rich with smoking hotels.
The iconic thirties building is filled with traditional luxury touches from the gold leaf in the public areas to the marble bathrooms to the chintzy four-poster beds in some bedrooms and suites.
But there is plenty that is modern too. The spa is outstanding, Restaurant Alain Ducasse has three Michelin Stars and is one of several restaurants. There is a great cocktail bar and a place for smoking. For an opulent treat, it’s all here.
Iconic hotel whose signature is traditional British luxury and service that’s out of this world. Ritzy-yet-comfortable rooms, Italian marble bathrooms and opulent central lounge that’s a riot of gilt, fabric, statues and chandeliers. The place to go to be treated like royalty.
Up the road at The Goring, a well-known London hotel even before the Duchess of Cambridge and her family spent the night before her wedding there, the vibe is definitely country house in the city. And like many a country house, smoking is permitted in certain areas.
The family run most homely among smoking hotels in the UK now has its fourth Mr Goring in charge. It is traditionally comfy while keeping up to date with its service and food.
A family-owned luxury hotel in the heart of Belgravia with manicured lawns, award-winning high tea and proximity to some of London's most famous sights. Plush carpets, antiques and designer fabrics make up the rooms. Do not miss fine dining at the newly awarded Michelin star restaurant. Magical stay
Outside London at Pennyhill Park in Surrey, you are only 45 minutes from central London (if you don’t travel at rush hour) and half an hour from Heathrow (ditto) but surrounded by over 100 acres of parkland.
The spa is particularly luxurious and there is tennis and golf available to work up an appetite for dinner in one of the two restaurants. And if you work up the appetite for smoking a cigar over dinner, that can be accommodated.
Creeper clad 19th century country house hotel. Michelin-starred restaurant and award winning spa just half an hour from Heathrow. Country style with lavish facilities.
Further South in Hampshire, Lime Wood Hotel in the heart of the New Forest is a beautifully restored and extended Georgian house. If you didn’t know it had been renovated by two architects and an interior designer, you might well guess as you wandered its traditional yet restrained rooms and corridors.
UK Smoking hotels tend to have good restaurants and there are two here, one smart and one more informal and family friendly. There is a state of the art spa but more homely pursuits of foraging and boating can also be arranged. As can the traditional pursuit of smoking.
Scintillating luxury hotel in a superbly redesigned Georgian house in the heart of the New Forest. Wonderfully comfortable beds in large rooms all with unique features including free standing baths, fireplaces or four posters. A superb restaurant curated by a celebrity chef. Countryside perfection.
North west of London, Ellenborough Park Hotel, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire has wellies and umberellas available to borrow for guests who fancy a walk but that makes it sound altogether more hearty than it needs to be.
In terms of UK smoking hotels, this would have to be one of the most extravagant. Luxury suites have opulent four-posters and Nina Campbell interiors. There is a long list of indulgent treatments available in the spa and a heated outdoor pool.
The food is good and there are Range Rovers ready to whisk guests to nearby Cheltenham racecourse on race days. Smoking in the Range Rover might be frowned upon but there is somewhere to light up in the hotel.
16th century rambling manor restored to its former glory in a beautiful Costwolds setting. Opulent luxury suites boast antiques, four posters and Nina Campbell interiors. A serious country house hotel, with spa, pool and gourmet dining for the ultimate indulgent getaway.
On the other side of Cheltenham, nearer Cirencester, Barnsley House is a top pick from the lists of UK smoking hotels. It too has a deeply sybaritic spa. This dreamy Cotswolds spot also has a glorious garden having been the former home of renowned gardener Rosemary Verey; a top notch view for those who fancy a quick post prandial puff.
In its first few years as a hotel with its red leather padded bar it attracted a noisy Loadsamoney clientele but it has since been re-decorated in a way which suits this classy house far better and has come into its own.
Smoking is permitted and the terrace is a truly delightful place to sit on a summer evening, or any evening if you are dressed for it.
An imposing Cotswold house set within stunning (deservedly famed) gardens. Gorgeously renovated rooms are light, airy and full of mod cons. The chic modern interiors, indulgent spa and contemporary British cuisine make it hard to leave! A popular rural escape for urbanites.
Outside Bath in Somerset, the Swan Hotel in Wells, right next to the cathedral is a former coaching inn and smoking hotel with truly spectacular views. It is not only the suite which has great views, there are smaller cheaper rooms from which you can enjoy the same view as the people downstairs in the suite.
Part of the Best Western chain, it is great value. Any nearer the Cathedral and smoking here might feel wrong, but it is far enough away for smokers to enjoy the smoking facilities without any feeling of discomfort.
Stunningly located old coaching inn opposite Wells Cathedral. Opulent rooms mix tradition with contemporary. Gold embellished wallpaper, chintz fabrics and some have free standing copper baths. Contemporary British fare served in an oak paneled room. Ideal for exploring Wells and its surrounds.
Next door in Devon, the Hotel Endsleigh is set in the kind of countryside that would tempt even the most stubborn non-walker in to a pair of wellies. Stylishly designed interiors by Olga Polizzi compliment the glorious garden and terrace.
Built for the Duke of Bedford in 1812 as a shooting and fishing lodge, when it must have been the scene of some raucous parties, the house now seems infused with peace and calm. Some guests will always feel calmer in smoking hotels. There is a private stretch of the River Tamar which can be used for fishing and a place for a contemplative smoke in the evening afterwards.
Milton Abbot, Devon
Historic shooting lodge offers an intimate, Olga Polizzi styled stay. Relax in the stunning grounds or in the library. Beautiful rooms overlook the valley and stretch of private river. Italian meets Spanish cuisine with Jose Graziosi's delicious dishes. Good for outdoor-types and families.
Heading north, the Devonshire Arms at Pilsley in Derbyshire is one of four pubs owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, two in Derbyshire on the Chatsworth Estate and two in Yorkshire on their Bolton Abbey estate.
The seven bedrooms are cheerful and bright with good bathrooms and the food is traditional, well-cooked pub food, much of it grown or raised on the Chatsworth Estate. A proper English pub with smoking accommodation.
Stylish country pub with occasional antiques and great bathrooms, interior designed by the Duchess of Devonshire. Good food from the Chatsworth Estate, and walks from the door.
The Feversham Arms in the village of Helmsley in Yorkshire is near Castle Howard where Brideshead Revisited, the Downton Abbey of the eighties was filmed. Modern comfort at its best is what you get here with a heated outdoor pool, well-designed spa and 33 modern comfortable bedrooms with good bathrooms, some with roll-top baths.
Attention to detail is good with beds made up with Egyptian Cotton sheets and duck down duvets or sheets and blankets if you prefer. Like all UK smoking hotels, smoking in bed is not permitted. But smoking in peace can be arranged elsewhere.
Chic old York stone inn and spa located in a picturesque Yorkshire village. Contemporary interiors meet luxury features to make a relaxing stay. Enjoy a diverse menu at the Weathervane, relax at the heated pool and indulge in spa treatments. A luxurious stay for local exploring.
The Inn at Whitewell near Clitheroe in Lancashire has an exceptional location in the Forest of Bowland. Run for three generations by the Bowman family it is furnished partly with antiques bought over the years from local auctions and is full of character.
Uniquely among UK smoking hotels there is a wine shop in the reception area which is a good indication of the priorities of this likeable place. Shelves full of cookery and guide books are also for sale. The good things in life are everywhere here. You wouldn’t expect smoking to be forbidden here and it isn’t.
Nr Clitheroe, Lancashire
An antique-filled inn; full of character, on the Duchy of Lancaster Estate in the Forest of Bowland. Fine gardens, fishing available, child friendly. Charming.
The Hotel du Vin chain is extremely hospitable to smokers. The branch in Newcastle has a particularly good COSA which they call a cigar shack and a good stock of cigars. Their hotel in Cheltenham also has a cigar shack.
Newcastle (City Road)
A boutique hotel with spacious guest rooms, modern interiors and views of the nearby quayside. Set slightly outside the lively city centre, the hotel has a number of meeting rooms and good event spaces. A great spot for business events or a weekend break in this exciting city.
Outside the oil city of Aberdeen where they like a cigar, The Marcliffe at Pitfodels has a smoking area and a lovely 11 acre garden in one of the driest parts of Scotland. The treatment list in the spa is as extensive as the wine list in the conservatory restaurant. There are three golf courses nearby and plenty of shooting and fishing opportunities.
Delightful Scottish refuge in 11 acres of woodland on the edge of the historic city of Aberdeen. Elegant and spacious bedrooms, Conservatory restaurant with extensive wine list, luxury spa.