New TWA Hotel at JFK to open in May!
Return to the halcyon days of air travel, when cocktails were stiff and clothes were pressed
The TWA Hotel is now taking reservations for its May 15 opening date and beyond.
When the TWA Flight Center opened in 1962 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (then called Idlewild Airport), the jet age was in its infancy. The Eero Saarinen–designed building wasn’t completed until after the architect’s death in 1961, but it remains one of his most well-known projects, along with the Washington Dulles International Airport and St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. The terminal closed in 2001—along with its namesake Trans World Airlines—because it could no longer support the size of modern airplanes.
Nearly two decades later, the landmark building will reopen on May 15 as the TWA Hotel, and, boy, is it swell. JFK’s first on-airport hotel, it will be accessible via car or the AirTrain at Terminal 5. It’s full of retro details that allude to the terminal’s midcentury past. In addition to a rooftop pool and observation deck, here’s what the new TWA Hotel will include:
512 midcentury modern-inspired rooms
Located in a pair of new buildings behind the historic terminal, the rooms at the TWA Hotel will feature midcentury modern-inspired furniture and lighting to remind guests of the project’s origins. With walnut martini bars and tambour walls made by a family-owned business in Ohio’s Amish Country, the rooms will also be decorated with vintage TWA advertisements.
To muffle sounds from planes taking off at nearby runways, the hotel was built with a glass curtain wall by Fabbrica that is 7 panes and 4.5 inches thick. That means that you’ll be able to see planes taking off through the floor-to-ceiling windows, but you won’t be able to hear them.
In addition to overnight stays (rates start at $249 a night), the TWA Hotel will open up shorter day-stay reservations for guests who have long layovers or are arriving on early morning flights and want to freshen up before heading into Manhattan for meetings.
The Sunken Lounge
The Sunken Lounge has been lovingly restored to its former glory as a place to rest and mingle. Located in the center of the terminal underneath a split flap departures board, cocktail bar will serve 1960s classics like the Aviation (crème de violette, maraschino liqueur, gin, and lemon juice) as well as the Royal Ambassador (champagne, orange juice, and Grand Marnier), which was once served to TWA passengers in gold-flecked glasses.
There will be six restaurants throughout the TWA hotel, but the most exciting one is the Paris Café by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Located inside the historic building, the restaurant will take over the footprint of the terminal’s original Paris Café and Lisbon Lounge, which shuttered in 2001 when the terminal closed. The new restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and will serve food inspired by in-flight menus from TWA. Super hip Intelligentsia will provide coffee bar and cart service.
Lockheed Constellation L-1649A cocktail lounge
In October 2018, a meticulously restored Lockheed Constellation L-1649A from the 1950s made the journey from Maine’s Auburn-Lewiston Airport to JFK—with great fanfare en route. The 1958 plane will be repurposed into a cocktail lounge at the new hotel and is just one of eight bars planned because, well, cocktails.
The 24-hour fitness center will clock in at 10,000 square feet, making it the world’s largest hotel gym. Designed by Jay Wright, a celebrity trainer and CEO of The Wright Fit, the center will include both strength-training and conditioning machines, a yoga studio, and an on-site galley with juices and snacks. The gym will be free for hotel guests, but day passes and monthly memberships will be sold to anyone looking to freshen up in the locker rooms after a red-eye flight.
Sources: AFAR and Dwell