We just got back! Refreshed, re-energized, and ready for the 8th season at the Elkhorn Inn!
Seriously, http://www.cheapcaribbean.com/ gives GREAT customer service. I spent 8 hours on the phone with them & nearly drove them nuts with my insistance on a holiday where we could smoke and not be made to feel like criminals, and they truly knocked themselves out to accommodate us. I was just about to book a Windham Resort stay in Puerto Rico, where we have a LOT of friends, when I learned that PR has enacted a stupid law that made their resorts totally non-smoking, so that bit the dust. We WILL NOT spend our money to be made to feel like criminals or second-class citizens. Period. Got it, travel guys, government wonks, & CBOs? We've paid our dues & we smoke & drink & eat what we fish & shoot, and we'll take our hard-earned money & go elsewhere- and send our friends & coworkers elsewhere, too. THE Reason Royal Caribbean got our business- we had No idea which cruise line to choose- was that they make smokers welcome. Note that if a cruise line tells its highrollers they can't have a cigar with their $25/shot single malt, they can kiss that business goodbye. Also note that the smoking bars on the ship were the ONLY ones that were full of people, night after night- standing room only! When we ventured into the ship's non-smoking disco, cute as it was, we found it TOTALLY empty! Did we stay, order drinks, spend money? No, of course not. Are you getting it yet, guys, or are you still going to play judgemental, hypocritical games & puritanically try to convert the heathens?
Note that the Elkhorn Inn's guest rooms are all non-smoking, but that we do make smokers (who have turned out to be over 60% of our guests, by the way- many pretending they don't smoke at first...) welcome on our covered front porch and balcony. And we have a fireplace- and it smokes. The lovely, cozy smell of burning logs in the fireplace that our guests rave about is SMOKE. The fabulous aroma of Chef Dan's herb-crusted smoked lambchops, smoked duck, and spice-rubbed smoked ribs that make everyone drool in anticipation for 4 hours is SMOKE.
Also note that EVERYWHERE we went on this trip, including Savannah, GA, New Smyrnah Beach, FL, & St. Augustine, FL- all places heavily dependant on tourism- the ONLY clubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes doing a booming business- actually, any business at ALL- were the SMOKING ones. ALL the other non-smoking wine bars, restaurants, cafes, and clubs- no matter how adorable or chi-chi or special-were closed up by 9p.m. or before, as they were EMPTY. Ditto in Columbus, OH, Charleston, WV, Wichita, KS, and San Diego, CA, where were were last spring. While we eat in non-smoking restarants for lack of choice, we no longer linger for another glass of wine or coffee- in other words we spend a LOT less than we used to. We watched bar after bar go out of business in NYC after the no-smoking law came into effect, while reading lies in the papers about how "great" business was as a result of it! Make me stand in the street to smoke, and come back to find my purse or coat stolen, my drink gone, and my chair taken, and I PROMISE you that my money & I won't be back. We've paid our dues & work damn hard for a living. Make us feel like a bad people and we'll take our money someplace else.
In our opinion the fanatical anti-smoking obsession is a malicious distraction being used to get people to focus on issues of NO importance and thus ignore those that truly matter to the future of our country- namely our imploding economy, imbalance of trade, lack of jobs, skyrocketing unemployment, & terrorism. We focus on sheer and utter nonsense- smoking, sexual politics, women's uteruses, gay marriage, fur, transfats, and other such idiocy- at our peril. I vividly remember (with nausea) the hypocritical & often nasty "non-smoking" fanatics, whining incessantly about the smoke in NYC restaurants, who'd I'd then run into in the evening puffing away in smoky neighbood bars- or find passed out in the toilet from a little too much blow. Dan was hilariously lectured by one of his Army officers in Vietnam on how "smoking will kill you!" And, for the record: my 87 year old smoking mother has not only outlived all her non-smoking friends and most of her doctors, she's in the Senior Olympics for golf and bowling. Put That in your pipe and smoke it!
And always remember that alcohol kills FAR more people than cigs- but Prohibition was such a dismal failure- making criminals out of most of the country before it was repealed- that it isn't likely to be repeated. There was just WAY too much money in it for it to remain illegal... In other words, kids: Get a Life. Of your own. And quit trying to change other people's. Ditto for religious fanatics. Deal with the REAL stuff, kids!
And now: back to Elisse & Dan's wonderful holiday!