Ritz-Carlton Dubai adds shisha sommelier to staff

Interested in smoking some hookah on your trip but nervous about looking like a novice? The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Finance Center now has an expert on hand to not only show you how to properly smoke flavored tobacco, but also how to pair shisha flavors with food, drinks, and personal preferences.

The Shisha Sommelier position, which is part of the hotel’s Shisha Terrace, is held by Sadek Zeineddine, a Lebanese national, who has experience working in the food and beverage industry in various regions including Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

What’s really unique about this service is that guests can have special blends of shisha created just for them which will be saved and provided for future visits.

Interested in staying at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai? Nightly rates at the hotel begin at $258.

Hookah bars in Paris fight smoking ban

I was surprised Parisians have accepted the new smoking ban as willingly as they have.

There is, however, one resistance movement: Hookah bars. Some of them have continued to break the law by continuing to offer customers tobacco in water pipes, IHT reports.

Hookah or shisha bars, which began springing up in France more than a decade ago, became increasingly popular across Europe, both among immigrants from Islamic countries and among the hip student crowd. France had 800 hookah bars before the smoking ban, half of them in Paris or its suburbs, but perhaps one-third have closed since the ban took effect.

So far, Sarkozy’s government shows no inclination to negotiate since declaring in December that there would be no exceptions to the smoking ban. Apparently, “it’s a matter of public health.”

That seems harsh. These are, after all, as close to private smoking clubs as you can get.