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Hotel Highlights

  • Mind-blowing modern architecture dressed with tactile opulence
  • Sexy cocktail lounge and farm-sourced restaurant food
  • Ideal base for rural road trips in Hampshire and Surrey


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

Here's what you get for booking Aviator with us:

A selection of handmade chocolate truffles


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Aviator – Hampshire – United Kingdom

Need To Know


169, including 19 suites.


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


Double rooms from $104.02 (£79), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates include a full English breakfast


Public areas and some rooms are wheelchair accessible.

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.


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.

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.


Keep an eye on the airfield and you should see the famed Red Arrows doing some impressive formation take-offs and landings.


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

Food and drink

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Aviator – Hampshire – United Kingdom

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).

Smith Insider

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 bottle-lined wine room gives perfect private-dining seclusion.

Local Guide

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Aviator – Hampshire – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

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.

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Airfields of Farnborough


55 Farnborough Road, Hampshire GU14 6EL, United Kingdom


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.


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


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.


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Aviator – Hampshire – United Kingdom
Aviator 55 Farnborough Road Hampshire GU14 6EL Hampshire United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by , Team Wordsmith at Mr & Mrs Smith

Rating: 10/10 stars
‘We’re going to check out the Aviator, then?’ ‘We’ll just be touching down for a weekend – a flying visit, really.’ ‘Are these puns likely to continue throughout our stay?’ ‘There’s a high chance – that’s pretty plane.’ ‘Do I really have to come?’ It’s hard to avoid dipping into aeronautics…
Read more


Anonymous review by Anthony Leyton, Team Wordsmith

‘We’re going to check out the Aviator, then?’
‘We’ll just be touching down for a weekend – a flying visit, really.’
‘Are these puns likely to continue throughout our stay?’
‘There’s a high chance – that’s pretty plane.’
‘Do I really have to come?’

It’s hard to avoid dipping into aeronautics when talking about the Aviator; this hotel lives for the skies. Situated bang beside the runway of Farnborough’s private airport, shaped like a colossal jet propeller, and dotted with arty aero-biz paraphernalia, it couldn’t emphasise its love of flight more if it served food in plastic trays and stowed life jackets under the seats.

As we drive through Farnborough – an unremarkable Hampshire town that just happens to be the heartland of the British aerospace – we aren’t sure what to expect: this is a land of conferences, handshake lunches and air shows; is it really possible we’ll find the romantic hideaway we are looking for? When the hotel itself swings into view – a bizarre swoop of gleaming glass laced with ribbons of shimmering steel – more questions are raised:

‘Where in the name of Orville and Wilbur are you taking me?’
‘The out-of-town headquarters of an international petrochemical business, it appears.’

But, as anyone who has spent time in Thailand’s nightclubs will tell you, appearances can be deceptive. The Aviator may look like a well-designed conference centre, but inside it’s a very different beast. Our jaws plummet upon entry. We’re looking at a dramatic central staircase that comes pouring out of the first-floor balcony in a curve of cream. Above, another three circular balconies ring the space up to the rooftop. For a moment, we wonder how we’ve ended up in the New York Guggenheim, then a slick-suited concierge scoots into view and pinpricks our wonderment with a beaming welcome.

We're led up the grand staircase, past the flickering open fire and velvety sofas to the first-floor front desk. At some point while we're signing forms and handing over cards, two cocktails miraculously appear beside us – I swear I didn't see anyone come over with them. The woman on the front desk (also smiling – this appears to be part of the uniform) asks us what brings us to the Aviator.
'We're here on a secret mission to determine whether it's actually possible to have a romantic weekend at a novelty airport hotel in Hampshire's industrial hinterland.'

…is what I don't say.

'Well, we've never been to Hampshire–'
'We're looking for a chest of drawers–'

…is our simultaneous and unintentionally surreal response. The receptionist doesn't blink and, seconds later, we're presented with a map marked with the location of the nearest antique centres.

'And we'd quite like to go somewhere nice for a pub lun–'

Another map appears, with Bel & The Dragon handily circled. With our weekend quite literally mapped out, we trot off to our room, whisperingly wondering whether they have a pile of pre-annotated maps covering every eventuality and a midget mixing drinks under the front desk.

The Aviator has a staggering 169 rooms, which makes me wonder how we can call it 'boutique', but I very quickly realise that despite its capacity, the hotel is cleverly designed to preserve the illusion of intimacy – like that first, rejected Tardis model, it feels smaller on the inside. And the room itself doesn't seem like a suite for a suit. Sure, it's got all the desk space and free WiFi the average CEO could possibly need, but these sleek woodsy interiors, abundant mirrors, cosy armchairs, and the knock-out view of the airfield dotted with lights at dusk are crying out for appreciative couples. Mrs Smith is enraptured by the little planes taking off and touching down (quietly) right outside the window but I, being a true Mr Smith, I make straight for the flatscreen and scroll through the niftily integrated movie and CD library – it's like having a branch of Blockbusters and a very trendy jukebox trapped in your TV. By the time Mrs Smith's earmarked which toiletries will find their way into her washbag, I've soundtracked our stay with the coke-addled melodies of Bowie's Station to Station, and decided that our evening's entertainment will be much-loved assassin caper In Bruges.

But first, dinner. And before that, cocktails. There's a terrible moment when Mrs Smith's habitual martini arrives with a twist of lemon rather than the promised olive, but our waitress must have glimpsed the rising fire in her eyes and swiftly diffuses the situation with a new one – made from scratch, no less; none of the picking-it-out-with-a-cocktail-stick you get in lesser hotels. Our meal is equally accomplished. The brasserie menu has the Aviator's biggest nod towards the macho business world: steaks. Big juicy manly steaks for big juicy manly men. Thick, pink and with a fabulous woody char to the taste. There were other items on the menu, I'm sure; I just didn't notice them.

The next day, we explore. It doesn't take too long to realise that Farnborough town needn't distract us for long – I suspect its one horse left long ago – but we're in the perfect spot for pootling around shady country lanes, nipping into antique fairs, supping in wayside pubs and generally having a right-old rural road trip. And it's brilliant. By the time we get back to the hotel, we've a car full of pick-your-own courgettes, second-hand books, half a dresser, a chest of drawers (hurrah), and two very contented weekenders who now know the answer to their question – it's not only possible to have a romantic weekend staying at the Aviator, it'd be difficult not to.

As we check out, we 'accidentally' overhear a pair of indeterminately European men enquiring about the long-term availability of a room in two months' time. They seem very insistent that it should have a safe and are equally adamant that they're unable to book in advance. As we drive home, we can't help but speculate. Hmm, two men, with unidentifiable accents, who need a safe, for a substantial period of time, next to a private airport, but can't make a definite booking. For a moment, we convince ourselves that we've just solved the mystery of UK's biggest jewellery heist, but quickly dismiss this as a compelling flight of fancy. Just like the Aviator, really.

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 have to say about Aviator in the Guestbook below…


Stayed on

We loved

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

Rating: 10/10 stars


Stayed on

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: 9/10 stars


Stayed on

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: 8/10 stars