I went to the opening day for the TWA Hotel at JFK, the first hotel on this airport’s grounds and a restoration of the TWA Flight Center that serves as the hotel’s entrance and main lobby.
Built in 1962 and designed by a visionary architect named Eero Saarinen, the TWA Flight Center was the terminal for Trans World Airlines or known as TWA. Coming into use during the Jet Age of aviation, the TWA Flight Center was both a thing of beauty and innovation. It was noted for features such as its long, red carpeted tunnels that passengers and flight crew walked to and from. After TWA ceased operations in 2001, so did its terminal. Landmark status saved it from demolition and overtime it was restored and fitted with two new adjacent buildings housing 512 hotel rooms.
A stay at the TWA Hotel at JFK is bringing both old and new TWA Flight Center as many aspects of the former terminal are still present. There’s the Sunken Lounge, a chili pepper red-carpeted lounge area whose name fits its design. The terminal’s iconic flight tubes connecting to what’s now JetBlue’s Terminal 5 also are there.
Modern-day hotel amenities blend in as well. Additions include:
- a 10,000-square-foot fitness center;
- A Warby Parker Pencil Room, where visitors can use pencils engraved with funnyone-liners (available by donation with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit VisionSpring) to fill out custom postcards;
- A Phaidon + Herman Miller Reading Room, where guests are invited to relax on midcentury modern furniture by Herman Miller while browsing Phaidon books;
- The TWA Shop, selling apparel and gear honoring Trans World Airlines’ legacy;
- The Paris Café by Jean-Georges, a 200-seat restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from an open kitchen;
- a grab-and-go dining Departures, including restaurants such as Antico Noè, Empanada Republic, Fresh&Co, The Halal Guys and Playa Bowls;
- An Intelligentsia coffeebar and coffee carts throughout the hotel grounds; there are no coffee pots in the rooms, so guests can order from these options;
- A rooftop infinity pool and observation deck with views of JFK’s runway 4 Left/22 Right plus a Pool Bar serving cocktails and meals;
- Museum exhibitions on TWA, the Jet Age and midcentury modern design curated by the New-York Historical Society.
Another neat feature is Connie, a 1958 Lockheed Constellation airplane whose exterior has restored to its original splendor while its interior gets a slight twist – as a cocktail bar. Walk up a stairway to get inside the Connie’s cabin, where you can sit in vintage TWA passenger chairs while sipping on drinks. Connie is located in the back of the Flight Center; you can reach her by walking through a side door corridor.
Reached through Saarinen’s flight tubes, the 512 guestrooms are designed to suit overnight stays for those catching a next day flight or perhaps a long layout. While their window offer great views of the runway, they are also sound proof in being seven panes and four-and-a-half inches thick to cancel out noise. Each guestroom features a glamorous martini bar custom built from walnut, glass, mirrors, brushed brass and crystallized glass plus a plush bed, midcentury modern furniture and TWA insignia toiletries.
Various room rates start at $149. Learn more here. Would you book a stay at the TWA Hotel at JFK? Let me know in the comments section.