A ‘Proper’ Smoking Hotel: Back to the Grind

“A Proper Smoking Hotel” could be misconstrued as meaning an hotel which has not been got at by the Holy Zealots and Thieving Charlatans of The Tobacco Control Industry. Mallorca is not such a place. But, even so, a small amelioration is better than none. Imagine my surprise, when I entered my hotel room to find not only an ashtray on the balcony table, but also one on a table in the room! Further, there was also a small ashtray in the bathroom. Not only that, but there was one of those small gift-boxes of matches in the ashtray in the room!

Let me explain why this was a surprise.

The hotel I usually stay at is a Sol hotel. For whatever reason, that hotel decided to close early and I was offered a couple of alternatives nearby. My normal hotel is 3 star and one of the alternatives was 4 star, so I elected to go there (on the same terms). It was a good hotel with superb views and excellent cuisine, but very quiet. That suited me fine. The room that I was allocated was big compared with the norm. It had a double bed and space for a separate table an easy chair, and there were lots of drawers. That too was a Sol hotel (of course).

People will be aware, probably, that Sol hotels are part of a huge group named ‘Sol Melia’.

You would expect that such a huge group would have defined smoking policies, which might differ from country to country, but you would expect that the Group’s hotels in Mallorca would have the same policy. My usual hotel has an unwritten policy of ‘non-smoking’ in rooms, which is why there is only an ashtray on the table on the balcony. I asked the public relations manager about this once some years ago and he sort of ‘winked and yawned’ – that is, “What the eye does not see…..”

So you see why I was quite shocked at the difference in policy between the two Sol hotels. The second hotel was not only ‘tolerant of’ but ‘welcoming to’ people who enjoy tobacco.

It makes you wonder what is going on. Let’s face it, the difference in policy between the two hotels is huge. I stayed in an hotel in Benidorm a couple of years ago. There, smoking was totally prohibited anywhere inside the hotel, including the balcony. Perhaps readers will remember this pic:

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It looks as if the sign is over the bed and is ENORMOUS, doesn’t it? It fooled Michael J McM! It amused me taking that pic. The clue in in the arm with the watch on it. The sign is stuck on the mirror and I am taking a pic of the mirror! The bed in the background is reflected in the mirror. But also notice the diagram of the bed under the ‘no smoking’ sign. Clearly, what is supposed to be represented is that the ‘no smoking’ sign refers to smoking in bed, but it is a trick, is it not? It is intended to discourage smoking in the room altogether.

It is amazing what tricks are being pulled these days. Some of them are hard to believe. For example, Palma airport has always had seats outside the airport entrances. In fact, in summer, there was a small cafe outside selling coffee and snacks. On this occasion, not only had the small cafe disappeared but also had all the seats. Amazing, don’t you think? You can understand the cafe closing late in the season, but the removal of all the seats? It can only be a deliberate ploy to ‘encourage’ people to go inside and spend money in the terminal in the abundant shops which you are forced to walk through. I don’t know about the Dear Readers of this blog, but if there is anything more likely to ensure that I do not buy anything in the airport’s shops, it is tricks like that. One cup of coffee and that’s it.

Oh….. And here is an amusing thing. That airport has really been got at. In a specific terminal, there is a bar. That bar has been closed for ages. It has an exterior patio. I remember some years ago when you could go and get a drink from that bar and take it outside, where there were tables and chairs in the open air. Was there a security problem which caused the ‘authorities’ to close that bar and patio? Well, there wasn’t before the smoking ban. In another terminal, there used to be a special ‘box’, which was enclosed, with tables and chairs. It was specially constructed for smokers and was ‘air-conditioned’ (special extractor system). That disappeared.

You wonder why, and then you remember that Spain has required substantial assistance from the World Bank and the EU Bank, and then you know why.

It doesn’t matter to me that much because I have a secret. In this specific terminal, there is one end which is hardly used. I think that it is almost entirely reserved for German airlines. Right at that end, there are toilets. Hardly anyone ventures down that end. The gents toilet always has a window wide-open. I cannot believe that it is not deliberate………..

Back to the hotel and the ‘welcome to smokers’ exhibits. The little ashtray in the bathroom is the clue. Why would they put a little ashtray in the bathroom without there being a specific reason? There are all sorts of reasons, such as marks on the sink surrounds or even blocked sinks, which may also relate to the ashtray in the main room – burn-marks. Which may also relate to the ‘welcome’ box of matches – “smoke but use the ashtrays” – sort of message.

It makes sense. No laws have been broken. Simple ‘implied suggestions’ have been made. “Here is a box of matches for you to light cigs with. You are welcome, but please use the ashtrays” Winks and nods and yawns.

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Since I returned from my trip, I have been reading up on my favourite blogs (see sidebar). There is a lot to catch up on. The WHO antics in Moscow are still receiving lots of attention despite its attempts to preserve the Iron Triangle by ignoring the reality. Has not that been the method for several years?

The ‘Iron Triangle’ consists of The Tobacco Control Industry, Big Pharma and Bureaucrats. It hardly involves politicians other than as useful idiots. The Triangle has been feeling some heat, but not sufficient to melt it as yet. But sooner or later, the truth will out. The truth is that people only smoke because they enjoy it. They enjoy it. And it also true that “children (meaning anyone up to the age of 18 and possibly up to 21)” will not seriously take up the habit, in the main, before they are earning enough to do so. Those economical considerations are always ignored by TC. The Zealots put it about that one cigarette hooks a person for ever. Tosh, I say!

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I must to bed. It has been a long day. The Academics are playing a sort of game of chess amongst themselves, and whoever checkmates the King gets to bamboozle the politicians.

It is fortunate, regardless of the misery, that only politicians can make laws.

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5 Responses to “A ‘Proper’ Smoking Hotel: Back to the Grind”

  1. J Brown Says:

    Welcome home! If you return to Mallorca next year, I bet I know which hotel you will return to…..

  2. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    Don’t keep the secret to yourself, which hotel is it?

  3. nisakiman Says:

    With regard airports, Athens airport, although ‘smoke free’ as per EU regs has a large, clean, fairly comfortable and well ventilated smoking lounge inside departures plus a very wide and pleasant area all along the front of the building which is well supplied with seating and ashtrays. There is also a very nice café bar out there too, with covered seating area (and ashtrays on the tables). There are also smoking booths airside. It is what I would deem a smoker-friendly airport. Which is not surprising really, given the Greek attitude to the bans generally.

    On the other side of the coin (and this surprised me), I was recently in the airport at Istanbul, Turkey. There, to even get in to the check-in desks in departures, you have to go through security (and then once again when you pass through immigration). Once in the airport, there is NOWHERE to have a smoke. If you want a smoke, you have to go outside the building (which is a narrow, exhaust-fume filled strip of pavement with no seating or amenities of any kind), and then go through the farce of queuing for another security check to get back into the airport. Very smoker-unfriendly.

    I don’t really understand why all airports can’t be like Athens. It costs next to nothing to provide comfortable facilities to smokers (who, let us remember, make up at least 25% of the travelling public). The smoker-haters who are setting the agenda must be deeply unpleasant people.

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