TWA Hotel at JFK Airport

 
 
 

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About the Hotel: The TWA Hotel is the only on-airport hotel at JFK International Airport in New York City. It opened in 2019 in the historic Eero Saarinen designed TWA Flight Center. The TWA Flight center operated at Trans World Airlines’ main intercontinental terminal from 1962 through its close in 2001, where it sat vacant until the nearly $300 million dollar redevelopment project gave it new life as an upscale hotel.

Rates: Nightly rates are dependent on dates and room type, but are typically between $200 and $300 (as of May 2019).

Airport Access: The hotel is connected to JFK Terminal 5 through the old concourse walkways. T5 is accessible from all other terminals and the NYC Subway via the AirTrain. Visitors do not need to be hotel guests to view the lobby and historical exhibits.

Parking: The hotel only offers valet parking. Check the website for current prices. Guests may also utilize airport parking lots and either walk or take the AirTrain to the hotel.

Executive Lounge: The TWA Hotel does not have an executive lounge.

Other Amenities: One of the Crown Jewels of the TWA Hotel is the heated rooftop infinity pool overlooking the parking apron between T4 and T5. The outdoor terrace also features a bar. There is an on-site gym.

Dining: There are several restaurants and cafés on the property. However, most of the dining establishments require advanced reservations, even for hotel guests, so book in advance. The food is rather pricy.

Officer Wayfinder’s Review: This property is a MUST VISIT for any aviation fan, even if you aren’t staying the night. If you have a JFK layover of 90 minutes or more, take the time to at least do a quick walkthrough of this incredibly well done time capsule. Even if you aren’t an aviation fan, it is still a great hotel if you have an overnight layover. 

The developers did a wonderful job of capturing all of the historical elements of the TWA Flight Center. The attention to detail on the TWA brand is exemplary - a true homage to a storied airline. I don’t think anyone expected the brand would resurface in such a way when TWA merged with American in 2001. TWA’s legacy lives on thanks to this well manicured exhibit that doubles as a hotel. 

Aside from the aviation aspect, it is a very good place to spend the night. Though it has a relatively high nightly rate, it is competitive with most offsite properties and offers an added level of convenience. The room was welcoming and comfortable, and there was no shortage of TWA branding throughout, a constant reminder of where I was staying. 

It’s hard to pick a favorite thing about this hotel, because I loved almost everything about it. Though if I have to put my finger on one or two, it is either the rooftop infinity pool or the Lockheed Constellation parked outside the lobby.

There are a few minor discrepancies I noted during my stay. The website is very lackluster and feels cheap. It doesn’t do this incredible hotel justice. I also noticed a few places inside the newly constructed wings that appeared to have water damage (photos below). Additionally, the rooms don’t have any USB charging ports. This is a minor inconvenience, but still surprising for a hotel that opened in 2019. Finally, room service is not offered 24/7. So, if you check-in late at night (as I did), there are little to no food options other than the small mini-bar in the room.

In spite of the minor drawbacks, the developers and hotel management can be extremely proud of what they have (re)created. I only hope the glamour and excitement doesn’t fade. I will definitely stay at this property again and can’t recommend it highly enough.

 
 
The hotel is connected to Terminal 5 (JetBlue, Aer Lingus, and Hawaiian). Signage is posted throughout the terminal making it easy to find.

The hotel is connected to Terminal 5 (JetBlue, Aer Lingus, and Hawaiian). Signage is posted throughout the terminal making it easy to find.

An elevator leads down to the hotel lobby level.

An elevator leads down to the hotel lobby level.

The hotel is connected to T5 via the old bridge that is an original part of the TWA Flight Center and was featured in the film  Catch Me If You Can .

The hotel is connected to T5 via the old bridge that is an original part of the TWA Flight Center and was featured in the film Catch Me If You Can.

The bridge leads into the hotel lobby, which was once the departures hall.

The bridge leads into the hotel lobby, which was once the departures hall.

The Sunken Lounge is one of the several bars and restaurants on the property.

The Sunken Lounge is one of the several bars and restaurants on the property.

Connie, the restored Lockheed Constellation rests just outside the main lobby windows.

Connie, the restored Lockheed Constellation rests just outside the main lobby windows.

Another view of the stunning lobby from the Mezzanine Level.

Another view of the stunning lobby from the Mezzanine Level.

It is said that Eero Saarinen, the architect of the TWA Flight Center, used no right angles in the whole building.

It is said that Eero Saarinen, the architect of the TWA Flight Center, used no right angles in the whole building.

There are two Solari boards in the lobby, each displaying historical airlines and flights, such as a Pan Am flight to Casablanca.

There are two Solari boards in the lobby, each displaying historical airlines and flights, such as a Pan Am flight to Casablanca.

Another view of the Solari board, looking towards the front hotel entrance.

Another view of the Solari board, looking towards the front hotel entrance.

A Connie model resting below the main Solari board.

A Connie model resting below the main Solari board.

Room check-in counters occupy what used to be the airline desks.

Room check-in counters occupy what used to be the airline desks.

It is possible to check-in, get your room and room key on iPads in the lobby. I was the only person checking-in when I arrived so one of the friendly staff members assisted me before I had a chance to try the electronic check-in process.

It is possible to check-in, get your room and room key on iPads in the lobby. I was the only person checking-in when I arrived so one of the friendly staff members assisted me before I had a chance to try the electronic check-in process.

There is what appears to be water damage on the faux wood panels in the stairwell.

There is what appears to be water damage on the faux wood panels in the stairwell.

There are two wings, each on eather side of the lobby, accessible through the bridge to T5. One wing is named after the famous TWA owner Howard Hughes, and the other is named after Eero Saarinen.

There are two wings, each on eather side of the lobby, accessible through the bridge to T5. One wing is named after the famous TWA owner Howard Hughes, and the other is named after Eero Saarinen.

The TWA logo is visible throughout the hotel - this one on the elevator floor.

The TWA logo is visible throughout the hotel - this one on the elevator floor.

One of the hallways in the Hughes Wing. Both wings were newly constructed for the purpose of the hotel.

One of the hallways in the Hughes Wing. Both wings were newly constructed for the purpose of the hotel.

The designers did a wonderful job of capturing some of the mid century elegance.

The designers did a wonderful job of capturing some of the mid century elegance.

My room key sleeve.

My room key sleeve.

I booked a non-runway view king room. The room has a modern feel and the bed is very comfortable.

I booked a non-runway view king room. The room has a modern feel and the bed is very comfortable.

The interior design is very minimalist, but completely functional.

The interior design is very minimalist, but completely functional.

I was surprised to find a lack of USB charging ports in the room.

I was surprised to find a lack of USB charging ports in the room.

The rooms feature publications from the era - mine was a copy of  Life  from February 1961.

The rooms feature publications from the era - mine was a copy of Life from February 1961.

I really wanted to take the bathrobe with me, but was afraid of what I would be charged if I did.

I really wanted to take the bathrobe with me, but was afraid of what I would be charged if I did.

There is a well stocked mini-bar in each room. Though the prices are on the high side and I think the mini-bar slightly cheapens the experience and makes the room feel more like a Las Vegas casino.

There is a well stocked mini-bar in each room. Though the prices are on the high side and I think the mini-bar slightly cheapens the experience and makes the room feel more like a Las Vegas casino.

The bathroom has a single sink, but ample counter space.

The bathroom has a single sink, but ample counter space.

I really wanted one of the cups as well.

I really wanted one of the cups as well.

The amenity kit is very classy.

The amenity kit is very classy.

However, I have a feeling that many people won’t bother to look on the bottom to see that it actually costs $19 and will be surprised when it appears on their bill. There are no notifications posted in the room, other than the bar-code on the bottom.

However, I have a feeling that many people won’t bother to look on the bottom to see that it actually costs $19 and will be surprised when it appears on their bill. There are no notifications posted in the room, other than the bar-code on the bottom.

Even the toiletries in the shower feature the TWA logo.

Even the toiletries in the shower feature the TWA logo.

As do the towels.

As do the towels.

The Crown Jewel and biggest draw of the hotel is the rooftop infinity pool and bar overlooking the apron between T4 and T5, as well as two of the runways.

The Crown Jewel and biggest draw of the hotel is the rooftop infinity pool and bar overlooking the apron between T4 and T5, as well as two of the runways.

The pool wasn’t open for the first 2 weeks. I happened to stay there the day it opened. I was the only person at the pool, so it is safe to say I was likely the first guest ever to use it. However, I think the heater was still broken because it was freezing, so I didn’t stay in it long - other than to sit down and drop my legs in.

The pool wasn’t open for the first 2 weeks. I happened to stay there the day it opened. I was the only person at the pool, so it is safe to say I was likely the first guest ever to use it. However, I think the heater was still broken because it was freezing, so I didn’t stay in it long - other than to sit down and drop my legs in.

Looking towards the parking apron.

Looking towards the parking apron.

The pool towels match the rest of the decor.

The pool towels match the rest of the decor.

JetBlue’s T5 as seen from the rooftop pool.

JetBlue’s T5 as seen from the rooftop pool.

Unfortunately the bar wasn’t yet open. In fact, there were still construction workers finishing small portions of it while I was at the pool.

Unfortunately the bar wasn’t yet open. In fact, there were still construction workers finishing small portions of it while I was at the pool.

Connie is open daily.

Connie is open daily.

They didn’t miss a single detail, to include runway markings and lights.

They didn’t miss a single detail, to include runway markings and lights.

I ran into several people throughout the duration of my stay that were not guests of the hotel, but were aviation enthusiasts on a JFK layover and just had to experience this incredible property for themselves.

I ran into several people throughout the duration of my stay that were not guests of the hotel, but were aviation enthusiasts on a JFK layover and just had to experience this incredible property for themselves.

The Cocktail Lounge inside Connie is accessed via airstairs.

The Cocktail Lounge inside Connie is accessed via airstairs.

About to board the Cocktail Lounge.

About to board the Cocktail Lounge.

The Cocktail Lounge on Connie is very well done.

The Cocktail Lounge on Connie is very well done.

The bar area is incredibly small, so I imagine that it can take a long while to get drinks when the Lounge is full. Certain times of the day require reservations.

The bar area is incredibly small, so I imagine that it can take a long while to get drinks when the Lounge is full. Certain times of the day require reservations.

I had to get a Scotch on the Rocks, it just felt right.

I had to get a Scotch on the Rocks, it just felt right.

I regret not taking the coaster with me.

I regret not taking the coaster with me.

The cockpit has been restored and is open to view.

The cockpit has been restored and is open to view.

The original inscription inside the departures hall.

The original inscription inside the departures hall.

The view of the front entrance of the TWA Flight Center.

The view of the front entrance of the TWA Flight Center.

This is the back of the terminal building, which once faced the parking apron.

This is the back of the terminal building, which once faced the parking apron.

The original building is designed to resemble a butterfly about to take flight.

The original building is designed to resemble a butterfly about to take flight.

The two new guest room wings are designed in such as way as to complement the TWA Flight Center, while not detracting from it. I’m not an architect, but I think the developers did a masterful job.

The two new guest room wings are designed in such as way as to complement the TWA Flight Center, while not detracting from it. I’m not an architect, but I think the developers did a masterful job.

The Paris Cafe is one of the dining options and is located upstairs on the Mezzanine Level.

The Paris Cafe is one of the dining options and is located upstairs on the Mezzanine Level.

The seating area of the Paris Cafe.

The seating area of the Paris Cafe.

There is additional seating on the lower floor of the lobby. I imagine that more dining options might soon open.

There is additional seating on the lower floor of the lobby. I imagine that more dining options might soon open.

If you’re just looking for a coffee and a quick bite, Intelligentsia Coffee is a good option.

If you’re just looking for a coffee and a quick bite, Intelligentsia Coffee is a good option.

BLADE offers on demand helicopter flights to and from Manhattan.

BLADE offers on demand helicopter flights to and from Manhattan.

A small sundries mart is located in the lobby.

A small sundries mart is located in the lobby.

The historical charm of the building is retained, including a shoe shine station.

The historical charm of the building is retained, including a shoe shine station.

There is a row of payphones in the hotel lobby. Yes, working payphones.

There is a row of payphones in the hotel lobby. Yes, working payphones.

There are historic mock-ups and displays around almost every corner.

There are historic mock-ups and displays around almost every corner.

One of the museum-quality displays is a history of TWA’s crew uniforms through the years.

One of the museum-quality displays is a history of TWA’s crew uniforms through the years.

More historical information about TWA is featured on a wall. The photos below are a mock-up of Howard Hughes’ office, which is located at the elevator to T5. It is the first thing you see as you enter the hotel from the terminal.

More historical information about TWA is featured on a wall. The photos below are a mock-up of Howard Hughes’ office, which is located at the elevator to T5. It is the first thing you see as you enter the hotel from the terminal.

The photos below are TWA flight posters from 1955-1965 that are displayed in the lobby.

The photos below are TWA flight posters from 1955-1965 that are displayed in the lobby.

 

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