Special Venue Review: The Aviator Hotel - Farnborough

by Thomas Haydn Dee

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Housed in an elegant, modern and exciting structure The Aviator Hotel manages to exude a charismatic chaleur and feeling of luxury, made evident upon arrival and permeating throughout the entirety of the stay.

We were greeted by friendly and professional concierge staff and immediately offered a complimentary cocktail on arrival, a more than welcome countermeasure to the cruel November rain we had just emerged from.

As for the accommodation, we were fortunate to have one of the more spacious suites available which had a larger than expected seating area. The furnishings were exquisitely and thoughtfully appointed and the overall quality of aesthetics and comfort could easily rival many top London hotels. Small finishing touches promoted a harmonious feeling, which reminded you that whilst being in a large hotel, this establishment takes pride in being a refreshing antidote to the all too often blander, corporate hotels. Things such as complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the building, complimentary movies & entertainment in the room and delightfully thoughtful aspects such as the courtesy selection of chocolates in the room and fresh flowers made you feel instantly relaxed and looked after.

The brasserie exceeded expectations and though a relatively modest wine selection, the varietals were well balanced and of good quality including the house wine � a hearty Syrah Grenache which served as the perfect companion to an expertly prepared meal of fillet-steak and potato dauphinoise. (You won�t be disappointed with the portions either!) One of the most surprising elements of the meal was the dessert, and as someone who is usually less engaging in this chapter of a meal, preferring to skip towards a few after-dinner cocktails, the selection of desserts was far too inviting to ignore. A pear tarte-tatin accompanied by peanut parfait was an absolute must and long may this remain on the menu!

Speaking of after-dinner cocktails, my fellow dinner and I enjoyed several good martinis which at �9.50 each may seem more suited to a London cocktail lounge, but were on the whole very enjoyable. Each of the barmen has a signature cocktail and the Royal Martini was a particularly refreshing treat. The only slight shame was that some of the later shift bar-staff weren�t as well acquainted with their top shelf spirits as they may be, even insisting vermouths such as Lillet were not available despite it sitting proudly amongst the other bottles. Though in fairness the bar had fallen victim to a deluge of conference delegates and on the whole the bar staff coped superbly with a very busy shift.

The conferencing, wedding and other event spaces are all well thought-through and you can tell that both the building and the staff are suitably versatile to make this venue a strong-candidate for almost any type of event. The rooms are all spacious without seeming vacuous and the meeting spaces enjoy all the luxurious touches that the rest of the hotel benefits from.

The only thing stopping this hotel being a 5* is the lack of swimming pool and spa facilities though the quality of service and the rest of the facilities more than make up for it in my opinion. (The hotel does have a very well equipped gym area)

Time didn�t allow us to visit Farnborough itself though with such good food and accommodation, it is difficult to imagine why you would want to venture outside of the hotel.

Upon leaving The Aviator, the staff were as friendly as when we arrived which is sadly not always the case with Hotels. A quick coffee in the stylish Boston-style deli and it was time to leave.

All in all The Aviator Hotel far exceeded expectations, delivered on every promise and left this visitor with a pressing desire to return at the next available opportunity. Whether for business or pleasure, I would thoroughly recommend The Aviator Hotel, Farnboroughto all discerning travelers.

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