Hampshire, United Kingdom

Aviator

Rates from (ex tax)$100.74

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP95.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Silver belle

Setting

Airfields of Farnborough

Situated alongside the runway of Hampshire’s private airport, the propeller-shaped Aviator hotel in Farnborough never let’s you forget that you’re deep in British aerospace country. Inside, the stylish, moody, Guggenheim-inspired lobby wows with circular balconies up to the roof. The sleek rooms, all decked out in walnut, are warm and contemporary with art deco design flourishes. It’s a good base for trips into the Hampshire countryside or high-level meetings with the Farnborough Aerospace Consortium.

Smith Extra

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A selection of handmade chocolate truffles

Facilities

Photos Aviator facilities

Need to know

Rooms

169, including 19 suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible depending on availability and subject to a charge (£50 until 2pm; £100 until 6pm). Check-in: 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $100.74 (£79), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP95.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates include a full English breakfast

Also

Keep an eye on the airfield and you should see the famed Red Arrows doing some impressive formation take-offs and landings. The hotel doesn't have a spa, but a range of treatments (facials, massages, body scrubs and wraps, manicures and pedicures, and reflexology) are carried out in orchid-adorned, candlelit private rooms. Get rubbed, brushed and scrubbed and then wind down in their relaxation area.

Please note

The brasserie will be closed on Fridays and Saturdays from 1–17 December 2016; packages which include dinner will not be available during this time.

At the hotel

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 mini fridges with free soft drinks and DVD players.

Our favourite rooms

To get a view of the planes taking off and touching down opt for a room at the rear. Aviator Studio 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.

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

Public areas and some rooms are wheelchair accessible.

Children

Welcome – extra beds for older ones (in Studios and Sky Suites only) and cots for babies are provided free. Brasserie has a stash of highchairs and will happily adapt any menu items for wee ones.

Food and Drink

Photos Aviator food and drink

Top Table

In summer, take a table outside and watch the little planes zoom in and out. Inside, the bottle-lined wine room gives perfect private-dining seclusion.

Dress Code

If stewardess suits and captain’s uniforms are beyond your wardrobe, casual suits and eveningwear will do fine.

Hotel restaurant

Following the arc of the building on the ground floor, 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. Masterchef finalist, Adam Fargin, presides over the locally-sourced menu with its hearty, European bent – French-inflected 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, an American diner-from-the-Bayou, where you can settle in for jambalaya, shrimp gumbo and Creole soft-shell crab as well as your classic burgers, hot dogs, milkshakes and bourbon-laced cocktails (served in jam jars, naturally). 

Hotel bar

As suave and sophisticated as any Soho cocktail lounge, Aviator’s Sky Bar overlooks the airfield. Take traditional tea (£25; £35 if you take the champagne option) in the afternoon and, come nighttime, be seduced by attractive illuminations, a slick soundtrack and showy, ice-block-chipping mixologists. 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.

Last orders

Brasserie serves lunch between noon and 2pm and dinner from 6pm to 9.30pm. One Eleven serves til 11pm. The Sky Bar is an all-day hang-out, which moves and shakes 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).

Location

Photos Aviator location
Address
Aviator
55 Farnborough Road
GU14 6EL
Hampshire
United Kingdom

Planes

If you’re lucky enough to have your own wings (or rotor blades), you can touch own on the runway next door at Farnborough Airport. If you’re limited to travelling in other people’s planes, Heathrow is half an hour away, and Gatwick an hour.

Trains

South West Trains run directly from London Waterloo to Farnborough’s main station (a mile away) in around 40 minutes.

Automobiles

A car can is a good idea for pootling around the countryside and cute neighbouring towns. Local taxi firms are affordable and reliable, or you can ask the hotel's concierge to secure you a self-drive for the duration of your stay. The town’s a short drive from the M3.

Worth getting out of bed for

If your Aviator stay has got you in the mood to take to the skies, try a lesson at Blackbushe School of Flying. If you want to keep your feet on the ground (or at least, not far above it), take a lesson in horseback mallet-swinging at the illustrious Guards Polo Club near Windsor. It’s worth setting aside a couple of hours to meander around The Sculpture Park in Churt – a swathe of wildlife-packed forest with some seriously impressive artworks hidden around every corner. Nearby Frensham Little Pond is great for countryside rambles and a spot of bird-watching, too.

Local restaurants

Five minutes away in Farnborough, you’ll find a proper country pub menu with a glimmer of gastro glamour at The Swan (+44 (0)1252 510920), and an outpost of the ever-reliable seafood eatery Loch Fyne (+44 (0)1252 748 030), 15 minutes away in neighbouring Farnham. There’s more refined Brit dining at Bluebells (+44 (0)1344 622 722 ), 20 minutes away in Sunningdale and at Bel & The Dragon (+44 (0)1428 605 799) in the historic village of Odiham.

Reviews

Photos Aviator reviews

Anonymous review

Mr Smith strides past our double bed to the phone: ‘There’s been a mistake. We actually booked a twin room…’ 

At this early juncture I should point out that due to a vacancy in my Mrs Smith department, I have recruited Mr Smith – my former flatmate; a successful corporate lawyer who I will never tire of introducing to people as ‘my attorney’ – as my travel companion for the weekend. 

I watch him avert his gaze from the bed, survey the room and say: ‘Ohhhhh, right. Well I have known him for years – what’s a super king-sized bed between friends? Thank you.’ 

‘They’ve upgraded us, haven’t they mate,’ he explained.  

So distracted were we by the bed situation that we’d sort of forgotten to actually, y’know, look at our surroundings. And sure enough, this was no mere bedroom – this was a suite of stately proportions, dandily dressed in polished teak, flashy chrome and handsome detailing. There was a bottle of champagne chilling, a walk-in wardrobe, two TVs and a roomy, Ren-stocked bathroom – worth getting closer than planned to Mr Smith for, basically.

We pour ourselves some ice-cold Moët and toast our temporary home. ‘I guess this might all be because I booked the romance package,’ Mr Smith informs me. ‘I thought it’d be funny…’

Indeed, choosing Farnborough, the industrial centre of British aviation, as a setting for a romantic retreat could be considered ‘funny’ – unless you have a particular penchant for planes, of course. But there’s something decidedly jetset about our arrival: the adjacent private runway, the grand Guggenheimish staircase, the low-lit lobby lined with aeronautical tidbits, the well-groomed staff whisking our luggage skywards (well, to the fourth floor)…

Champagne swiftly dispatched, it was most definitely time for dinner. In a cosy corner of the brasserie we’re talked through a five-course tasting menu (Mr Smith’s romance package was the gift that kept on giving – a sentence I hoped I’d never write) that was thankfully more high-flying haute cuisine than chicken-or-beef plane portions. Each dish – British, seasonal, faultless – is devoured with grateful gusto and perfectly paired with wines selected by a sommelier so good we enquire about employing him on some kind of retainer.  

We repair to the sweeping Sky Lounge for some post-pudding cocktails and the seamless service continues, so new ones keep arriving – seemingly by the power of thought – until single-ingredient cocktails served in very tiny glasses seem like a good idea. 

Our bleary-eyed appearance at breakfast the next morning suggests they probably weren’t. However, the glasses of champagne that are snuck onto our table as we pile our plates high with locally made sausages at the buffet were a veritable masterstroke. Hangovers decadently dismissed, it was on to our main plan: horses.

Though we’re a paper-plane’s throw from the South Downs, we’re persuaded to make the hour’s drive south to the New Forest by the opportunity to go horse-riding (and to get a photograph of said activity to prove the entirely-true-yet-frankly-unlikely fact that us two city-raised urbanites can do so). We set the sat-nav for Google's recommended stables and drive through a year’s worth of weather on our way. 

There appears to be no obvious way in to these stables, though, so we try the nearest door, amble aimlessly down some corridors and emerge into the very middle of someone’s wedding photos. ‘Pretty sure these aren’t horses, mate,’ says Mr Smith (Mr Smith is a successful corporate lawyer). 

Just as the guests’ angry looks become increasingly hostile, a kindly man in a suit materialises. We explain we want to ride horses; he explains we’re four days too late – the stables just closed – but he’ll point us in the direction of a neighbouring yard. Quite how this segues into a detailed half-hour showaround of his hotel, I will never know, but should you ever want to know anything at all about a 40-roomed 19th-century manor with excellent wedding facilities in Burley, just ask. 

WTAFs uttered and directions eventually procured we set off for less non-existent stables. 

‘Hi, we’d like to ride some horses,’ says Mr Smith on arrival.  

‘You can’t. All the horses are busy,’ replies the stableman (who probably has a better job title than this). 

‘They don’t look very busy,’ Mr Smith fires back, gesturing to all the bored-looking horses staring at us. He has a point. 

‘Earliest I can do is Tuesday. You have to book things well in advance round here.’

Never forget that spontaneity and the countryside don’t go very well together. We get back in the car and head instead to Lymington for a harbourside seafood feast, which partially helps heal our broken horse dreams. 

Full of scallops, but not sore of saddle, we make our way back to Aviator – we know we can be spontaneous there – via a bracing walk through the New Forest where we jealously stare-out horseback riders, briefly lose our car, then laugh all the way home at the ‘Ponies don’t dent; they die’ road-safety message written on the local buses.

We settle back into our brasserie booth, order the venison and listen intently to our sommelier’s recommendations for equestrian disappointment (Pouilly Fuissé, apparently – he’s a real talent). This, we decide, is much more relaxing than any country pursuits. 

So too is a couple’s massage, it turns out – Mr Smith’s final hilarious ‘romantic’ surprise on our morning of departure. In a cleverly repurposed suite we lay side by side to have our city-worn stresses kneaded out to the sound of pan pipes. It was so soothing, in fact, we made it some way down the M3 before the hysterical laughter kicked in. 

Fun, finessed and with service that reached for the sky – and delivered – our Aviator weekend had been a total triumph. With any luck, when I return for a romantic retreat, it’ll be with Mrs Smith, not my attorney. No offence, mate. 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Aviator’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Excellent room service and chic rooms.

Don’t expect

...Lots to do in surrounding area.

Rating

Stayed on 30 Oct 2016

We loved

Our spacious room with views on the airfield and super comfy bed (we stayed in an Aviator Air); the service, especially in the Brasserie, the food (the blue cheese gnocchi, the tartiflette terrine, the lobster ravioli and the savarin with pistachio custard... need I say more?!); the hotel was spotless, from the staircase to the mirrored lift doors and although they host events, it doesn't feel like an event hotel at all. We visited the Farnborough Air Science Trust just 5 minutes walk from the hotel and it's brilliant. Kids can climb on some of the old aircraft (if it's not too busy) or have a go at one of their simulators. The staff are attentive and certainly know how to share their enthusiasm with you. An unexpected surprise visit!

Don’t expect

There isn't much to do around but you're only a short drive away from the countryside.

Rating

Stayed on 8 Oct 2016

We loved

Room was very comfortable, bathroom too, didn't expect a premium room overlooking runway, very very nice. Exceeded expectations, cannot fault it.

Rating

Stayed on 17 Sep 2016

We loved

Beautiful room, comfortable bed, gorgeous hotel decor, excellent staff service. Recommend Swan pub, within walking distance. 

Don’t expect

Sadly, not much to do nearby

Rating

Stayed on 27 Aug 2016

We loved

The modern, original building and excellent staff. The Skybar serves really good cocktails and is very smart.

Don’t expect

Anything special in the restaurant, we were disappointed with our meal but did receive money off the bill because of this.

Rating

Stayed on 13 Aug 2016

We loved

The food, staff and luxury

Rating

Stayed on 13 Aug 2016

We loved

Everything - the welcome cocktail on arrival, the gorgeous afternoon tea and champagne, attentive staff at all times, delicious cocktails in the bar and the best buffet breakfast I have ever had! Five star service all weekend long. Absolutely wonderful! Although The Aviator is in the centre of Farnborough, it's on the doorstep of the Surrey Hills so there's plenty of opportunity to explore the countryside.

Don’t expect

Nothing to add

Rating

Stayed on 23 Jul 2016

We loved

The impeccable service at dinner by Nonu and Irene, all the staff couldn't do enough for us thank you!

Rating

Stayed on 8 Jul 2016

We loved

Our room was fantastic and the service was great. My fiancé didn't expect there to be GHD hair straighteners in the room. We had our 3 month old with us who was very welcome.

Rating

Stayed on 24 Jun 2016

We loved

The airfield views at the hotel were great, and worth it for the private jet spotter. The room we had (55sq m) was a great size for the two of us, very spacious and well laid-out with high standard

Don’t expect

Rolling hills and countryside, this hotel is very close to the centre of Farnbourogh.

Rating

Stayed on 13 Feb 2016