Five aviation-themed airport venues

From a renovated Boeing 747 in Stockholm, to a World War II airport hangar-styled hotel in Fredericksburg, Texas, aviation is a popular theme for venues around the world. South Africa is no different, Liesl Venter reports.


Several establishments have incorporated aviation into their décor, delivering a journey all of their own to guests. So, if the goal is to gear up and motivate delegates to fly high, then there is no better way to inspire than choosing from one of these aviation themed venues.


Protea Hotel by Marriott OR Tambo Airport

Where better to showcase aviation-themed decor than on the doorstep of Africa’s busiest airport. With its striking floor-to-ceiling views that include take-offs, landings and impressive international aircraft, this hotel encapsulates aviation from the moment you step through the doors. Decorated throughout with an aviation theme, it is literally on the doorstep of OR Tambo International Airport. But, being this close to an airport also means dealing with noise. With this in mind the hotel has double-glazed windows throughout, effectively sealing it off from the daily hustle and bustle of ORTIA. Offering more than 836 sqm of event space, 10 event rooms in total and several breakaway rooms, it is the ideal venue for a meeting or conference close to the airport. The conference space is versatile and a team is on hand to assist with planning. Seven boardrooms for meetings and training seminars are also part of the package. The hotel also features large entrance bays for exhibits and car shows and is equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and built-in PA systems. For some added fun, especially for those with dreams of becoming a pilot, the hotel boasts its very own flight simulator.


Dakota Lodge

Situated at the beautiful and historic Rand Airport, the Dakota Lodge embraces the old bygone era of aviation. The lodge comprises 24 en-suite rooms that each feature a historic aviation theme. Named after the venerable Douglas DC-3 Dakota, one of the first aircraft to be put into service with most of the major airlines after World War II, including South African Airways, the lodge is now found in what was Hangar 5. The hangar was built for SAA in 1938 and is where many of South Africa’s DC-3s were serviced for many years. With staff fondly referred to as the crew, the lodge overlooks the airport runway.

Equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, a large conference and meeting space can accommodate up to 30 people.


The Aviator Hotel

Convenient, comfortable and aptly named for its location close to the OR Tambo International airport, the Aviator incorporates aviation décor throughout the establishments. Stylish furniture, brick accent walls and bold splashes of colour decorated with framed aircraft artwork welcomes ‘passengers’ to the 120-room hotel. Four conferencing and event spaces are available. Aptly named The Simulator, the largest of the spaces can accommodate a maximum of 400 guests, depending on what seating style is chosen, while the Hurricane room can seat up to 70. The Spitfire can host 40 delegates cinema style or 55 if opting for schoolroom style, while the Terminal 1-3/P1 can accommodate up to 130 delegates cinema style. There are also several breakaway rooms available while the large garden offers a great setting to relax in between meetings. The hotel has free high-speed, unlimited, fibre Internet available throughout the facility.


Grand Daddy City Flights

Possibly one of the most original places to stay in Cape Town, the Grand Daddy boutique hotel has become a local landmark in the Mother City, situated in bustling Long Street. While the hotel is not aviation themed throughout, it does offer unique accommodation in seven airstream trailers parked on the roof. There is nothing ordinary about the hotel’s rooftop trailer park where each trailer has been decorated to its own individual décor theme, collectively reflecting a typically South African road trip. The City Flights trailer is wallpapered with a collection of aviation maps showcasing a love for flying and fitted with a queen-size bed, wet room with a shower, and some modern comforts like TV, aircon and a fridge. The hotel itself has a venue available for meetings and events on the first floor of the building with high-tech presentation technology available.


Hi-Flyerz Aviation Bar

Situated on the premises of the Birchwood Executive Hotel and Conference Centre, a mere stone’s throw from OR Tambo International Airport, this aviation orientated bar is decorated with a wide range of flying memorabilia, photographs and aircraft models.

As a world first, Hi-Flyerz boasts an original Boeing 747 ‘classic’ ZS-SAL, ‘Tafelberg’ flight deck (cockpit) centrally situated in the pub. The cockpit protrudes on to a sunset deck, boasting excellent views of aircraft landing on Johannesburg's busiest runway, while real-time air traffic control transmissions are broadcast on the outside speakers. A nightclub is open on the weekend below the club. Hi-Flyerz is available for events and can accommodate between 60 and 70 people.

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