James Leavey's Corner
Go On, Pamper Yourself

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by James Leavey, editor, The FOREST Guide to Smoking in London
and The FOREST Guide to Smoking in Scotland

First published in Cigar Style, a new magazine just launched in Britain.
Reproduced with permission.

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James Leavey
When you stroll up the sweeping helical staircase which connects the ground and mezzanine floors of Alfred Dunhill's newly refurbished Jermyn Street shop in London, you can see that the designers took serious note of the late Mr Dunhill's famous maxim – arguably the corner stone of the world famous British company's success in over a century, "It must be useful, it must work dependably, it must be beautiful, it must last, it must be the best of its kind."

The luxurious polished walnut, stainless steel and glass décor includes original 1920s Art Deco lamps and the cash desk from the company's old shop in the Rue de la Paris, and several glass screens carved with designs taken from Dunhill's famous Japanese lacquered Namiki pens.

Sports widows will despair when their husbands disappear into the brand-new golf department, glued to the TV screen showing the best tournaments fromThe Alfred Dunhill Cup at St Andrews, or highlights from the equally prestigious The Alfred Dunhill Queen's Cup Polo held annually in Windsor. The excellent Pipe department has moved upstairs, just outside the Humidor Cigar Room, and is certain to become a mecca for the world's tobacco aficionados.There you can sink into deep, battered leather armchairs and rest your weary feet on the finest Afghan rugs, relaxing to jazz (Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra) playing in the background.

If you're suffering from jet lag or overwork the friendly, authoritive staff will mollycoddle you with an impressive array of complimentary services, whether you're purchasing their goods, or not.

While you're washing down a premium sample cigar with the free Dunhill Old Master Scotch whisky, they'll lend you a Sherlock Holmes-style dressing gown and steam press your suit. There's even tea or coffee for the Puritans.

If you insist on working you can use the fax machine and share price monitoring while your other half curls up with a newspaper, magazine, The FOREST Guide to Smoking in London and munches the free Champagne truffles . She can also watch satellite or terrestrial tv, or one of a selection of classic movies such as Casablanca and Brief Encounter, while occasionally dabbing you behind the ears with a free sample of Dunhill Eau de Toilette.

Spill some of the Alfred Dunhill Malt down your tie and they'll lend you another free of charge which can either be returned later or purchased at a special price.

While you're leisurely sniffing out a selection of Havanas or the finest hand-blended pipe tobacco, they'll polish your cufflinks, tiebar or watch and, when your wife's not looking, give you wardrobe advice (by appointment) with a personal dressing stylist.

History lovers can nip down to the lower ground floor and marvel at the Alfred Dunhill Museum, now permanently moved from its former home in Burlington Arcade. Exhibits from the Alfred Dunhill Archive Collection include the longest lighter in the world (one metre long), accessories created by Alfred Dunhill for pioneer motorists and the Dunhill Bobby Finder, the first police detection device.

"It's a return to the old values of good service and courtesy which are fast disappearing elsewhere," said Marc Burrows, who has managed the shop's widely regarded pipe department for the past five years. "We like to pamper our customers and make them feel comfortable."

If only they would install a bed, I'd move in tomorrow.

Copyright James Leavey, 1997.All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the Author.


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