Hookahs in Portugal 🇵🇹 Interview with Romeo MAGALHAES.
Let me introduce you to our new Jury member of Hookah Battle:
Hello Romeo! You are the first man from Portugal hookah community I’ve met and very curios what is your hookah business in Portugal?
My hookah business consist in a bar/restaurant, inala is the name.
I also have commercial part, selling of course everything about hookah and accessories.
All in exclusive distribution, tobacco included.
Can you please tell your story how (and when) did you get into the hookah industry, how it happens.
So My parents are emigrants from Portugal to France, so born in Paris and at age of 14 we used to go to a friend’s house smoke hookah on Fridays while his dad was at the mosque. That was the trigger.
At age of 17 move to Portugal and became a passionate. Through the years I developed knowledge and contacts. That was 27 years ago.
I started with Badri (el Badia) as friend and supplier. He then was in the industry for a while. So it was in 1994. I bought my first hookahs and started to sell it to people close to me. (Author’s note: Badri Helou – founder of El-Badia)
How you came up to the idea to open a hookah lounge in Portugal? In which year it happens? What can you tell about your hookah lounge (also please send some link to the social media / website) and 1-2 pictures of this hookah lounge
In 2014 I decided to open my lounge Inala because it was a dream since I was 17 but I also knew that the lack of ethnicities in Portugal was an obstacle.
So when I opened the first one I was in a kind of position of no pressure, did not depend on it to pay my bills. It was ok, let’s do it, you’ll have a place to smoke Romeo and chill with friends.
I take it seriously anyway and in 2 weeks I was full everyday. Must confess, a huge surprise !
Which hookah models do you have in your lounges? And which tobacco brands do you serve? What is the average price to smoke hookah?
Price goes from 17 to 25€.
Al Fakher that I am exclusive distributor and Adalya as tobacco brands.
Is it allowed in Portugal lounges to smoke inside? Do you have any other specifics with low?
Well it is but you need to invest in a ventilation/vacuum system and have specific areas.
We know that the law tends to be more strict across the world, so that’s why I also have a good exterior area, in a rooftop with river view 🙂
How do you think, how many hookah lounges exist in Portugal?
We don’t have specific numbers unfortunately, I would like though but I consider close to 200.
We develop the online service called where2smoke.net which help people to find a good hookah lounge with particular shisha brand to smoke. Do you see any potential of it in Portugal?
I do see potential. As I told you Stan, the community is young because no cultural dna. Só it’s a long journey and my goal is to give all I can to make the community grow in the right direction.
Have you ever heard something about our event: Hookah Battle Lounge Design Award 2021? Last year we have organized it in 9 countries. Do you think it makes sense to do it in Portugal as well?
It would be great to see more people in my country looking at it the same way.I do have heard and seen the hookah battle. You did a great job honestly ! That’s the kind of events that helps to bring the best of hookah world. Congrats about the events though 🙂
What can you tell about the dynamics of Portugal hookah market? How it looks like in 00s, 10s and what are the changes now?
Well the dynamic he’s at the beginning honestly. When I look at other markets, as French, German or even Spanish, we are just babies 🙂
In 00s, nothing to say, in middle 10s thanks to globalization of hookah, people get more curious about it. 20s definitely changes the game. Social network allowed people to accept it in a social point of view.
Do you have any local hookah manufacturers (hookah/tobacco producers) in Portugal?
We do not have any national brand. It is brand new and a fierce market anyway. Don’t think it will happen soon.
Do you know any kind of hookah bloggers from Portugal? Like instagram or youtubers or facebook hookah communities?
I don’t and honestly don’t think there is Stan. As you said I am the first Portuguese you met. It will happen very soon because I am working on it 🙂
Have you ever been in Brazil? If yes, what do you think about Brazil hookah products
Never been there but in contact with some bloggers and lounges. It is a wonderful market, with interesting products already and hope to be part of it soon also.
What is the business name of your distribution business? (some link if you have) What is your top 3 best seller hookah product for the last 6 months in Portugal?
The name is also Inala (store),
Instagram page and website restructuring because of all new products, videos etc.
Quasar heating system
Vapes Hooky Slim
How regular do you personally smoke hookah? What is your favorite tobacco brand and the most favorite flavors?
I smoke everyday, more than once a day.
I recently use Hooky slim to allow me to smoke less per day because it was too much My favorite flavor is snowy and big blue swirls. Summer days, mint orange and lemon mixed.
Some member of our Hookah Battle work team (from Russia) have a dream to immigrate to Portugal. Do you think its a good idea and its easy to find some hookah project to work? What do you think about our “HHH” service to find a hookah job?
About to move to Portugal, it is a nice country but a whole diferente way of life and hookah culture. We had a lounge from Russian people but heard they sold it a few weeks ago…
About the HHH service I think it is really nice. I do have issues for finding people and it could be interesting.
What is the retail price of 50gr hookah tobacco in Portugal?
We do not have 50g packaging. Only kg (The kg is 40€), but in a month will have 200g in Al Fakher, which is my favorite brand. And 50g very soon also in Kartel brand.
What do you think about Ukraine-Russia situation in the context of hookah business and hookah commuinty?
Well I commented it that It was sad not to see them in the shisha messe and I for instance suffered it personally because I was supposed to start also with space smoke and it is on stand by now. I hope everything can come to normal asap.
Would you like to become the jury member of some Hookah Battle this year?
It would be an honor, a really big one
P.S. Meet me and Romeo as a Jury member at ShishaMesse Spain 18th June 2022: Latin Cup Hookah Battle