- Style Silver belle
- Setting Airfields of Farnborough
The Aviator hotel is a surprise package: a stately sweep of glass and metal from the outside, an essay in sultry opulence on the inside, with plush velvet sofas, flickering open fires and a Guggenheim-inspired lobby with circular balconies reaching to the roof.
Need to know
- Rooms 169, including 19 Sky Suites.
- Rates Double rooms from $229.03 (£139), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
- More details Rates exclude breakfast (£11 Continental buffet, £16 for cooked).
- Facilities Gym, free WiFi throughout, seven function rooms. In rooms: flatscreen TV, free films and albums on demand, Bose entertainment sound system, cafetière and organic teas, free bottled water, Ren toiletries. Suites come with minibars with free soft drinks and DVD players.
- Check–out 11am, but flexible depending on availability and subject to a charge (£50 until 2pm; £100 until 6pm). Check-in: 2pm.
Children Welcome – extra beds for older ones and cots for babies are provided free. The brasserie has a highchair stash.
- Hotel closed The Sky Bar and restaurant will be closed on 7–8, 14–15 21–22 and 31 December, 2012, for special events (Smith guests are welcome); room service will still be available. Guests will be given the quietest rooms to minimise any potential disturbance.
- Also Public areas and some rooms are wheelchair accessible.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms Make sure you get a room to the rear with a view of the planes taking off and touching down (the road to the front is not an inspiring vista). Aviator Plus rooms such as 328 combine oodles of space with fabulous views of the airfield (helped by the sliding floor-to-ceiling windows and Juliet balconies). The top-floor suites (412 and 414 are our favourites) are more spacious still and feature walk-in wardrobes, huge bathrooms with full tubs and three TVs (including one you can watch while you soak).
- Packing tips Leave your flight socks at home, unless you plan to take flying lessons. No need for DVDs or iPods, either – you can choose from dozens of recent film releases and albums old and news via the free in-room library.
- Also The hotel's range of spa treatments (facials, massages, body scrubs and wraps, manicures and pedicures, and reflexology) are carried out in orchid-adorned candlelit treatment rooms. Get rubbed, brushed and scrubbed and then wind down in their relaxation area. There’s a stack of garden games for alfresco summer showdowns; lock horns over giant Connect4 racks, Jenga towers, snakes and ladders, or dominoes. The delectable Turner & Sons sausages you can tuck into in the One Eleven restaurant were given the green light on Dragons’ Den.
Food and drink at Aviator
- Hotel restaurant Following the arc of the building on the ground floor, the Aviator’s brasserie recaptures yesteryear glamour with black-and-white portrait photos on the dark walls (inspiring games of ‘name the Hollywood icon’), leather banquette seating and chrome table lamps. The menu (though locally sourced) makes stop-offs all over the world, with Chinese salads, steak tartare, pasta dishes, and classic British fare, but it’s the delectable chargrilled steaks that really set the mouth a-water. Take a laid-back lunch at One Eleven, a bistro-style eatery; offering simple, hearty fare – fish with fat, Jenga-stacked chips and chunky sausages with three tempting mash flavours – in an artfully antiquated, Steampunk-inflected setting.
- Dress code If stewardess suits and captain’s uniforms are beyond your wardrobe, casual suits and eveningwear will do fine.
- Top table In summer, take a table outside and watch the little planes zoom in and out. Inside, the tables nearest the bar will guarantee you special attention.
- Last orders The brasserie serves lunch between noon and 2.30pm and dinner from 6pm to 10pm. The Sky Bar moves and shakes from 5pm until the last guest leaves.
- Room service Full meals and drinks can be brought to your room 24 hours a day (with a reduced offering between 10pm and 6am).
- Hotel bar As suave and sophisticated as any Soho cocktail lounge, the Aviator’s Sky Bar overlooks the airfield – attractively illuminated by night. At £9.50 a glass, the cocktails aren’t cheap, but they are expertly crafted. The aviation theme continues in the oversized photos of bolts, rivets and other aeronautical bits and bobs that line the walls. The Brasserie Bar is a more informal outfit on the ground floor, with a terrace that's great for catching the sunset over the airfield. The Sky Lounge at the top can be booked for private shindigs.
Also worth knowing
- Weddings This property is suitable for weddings. More details