Venue Review: The Aviator by TAG
When I was asked to go an visit an airport hotel in Farnborough I must admit my heart wasn't fluttering with excitement. Airport hotels tend to be sold entirely on their location, I can’t think of any that would be considered leisure destinations. However driving into Farnborough airport you get a feeling that this place is a bit different. The two imposing private planes with Saudi flags on the tail fins and the numerous Lear Jets and helicopters, tell you that there’s a bit of money floating around here. Of course opening a business hotel at a quiet airport may seem like madness however, there’re plentiful companies in the surrounding business parks, not to mention the phenomenally successful Farnborough Airshow, which fills the hotel for weeks.
The Aviator Hotel was built by TAG Aviation, owners of the airport, founders of TAG Heuer watches and 25% owner of Maclaren, in 2008 and is run as an independent hotel. This is evident as you walk in, it has the feel of a place that has that personal touch, you know the owner has probably had a real involvement in the design, and has crafted a place that they would be happy to stay in. The hotel has a modern, yet warming, feel. As you enter reception the centrepiece staircase immediately draws your eye up to a breathtaking atrium, a fine piece of design.
The hotel has a dedicated events wing with separate entrance with rooms suited to meetings and conferences up to 150 delegates. Each room has natural daylight and is equipped with state of the art AV, some rooms even have views across the airport and access to a private terrace. Up on the 4th floor you’ll find the Sky Lounge, which offers great views across the runway and 200sqm of event space.
For guests they offer some of the nicest, and largest, bedrooms I’ve seen. They have a great informal British-American dinner, serving some great pizzas, milkshakes and burgers. Upstairs is the exclusive Sky Bar serving afternoon tea and then cocktails. For those wanting something a bit special the Brasserie offers a fine a la carte menu as well as a seasonal tasting menu.
Ultimately don’t be put off by the fact that this is an airport hotel, consider it more as a splendid hotel that happens to be near an airport. The fact that it’s a mere 35 mins from Waterloo means it is perfectly located for a short residential meeting, the travel cost and time is more than compensated for by the service, food and keen prices.