The brand new TWA Hotel just opened at JFK last week and Keaton and I booked a stay to see if it lived up to the hype. The main lobby of the hotel is inside the 60’s jet set dream of a terminal created for TWA by Eero Saarinen. When TWA stopped flying in 2001 the terminal was shuttered and abandoned. For us aviation geeks and retro junkies, the transformation of the haunted looking terminal into what is being breathlessly described in headlines as “the sexiest new hotel in the country” is what dreams are made of.
What to Know about the TWA Hotel
The passenger tubes featured in the movie Up in The Air have been revived. They lead to the guest room elevators and are the perfect spot for photos. For the hotel opening they’ve hired actors to add ambience. I finally understand cosplay.
The rooms are small, but perfect. We had a runway view room. It’s true that the glass is thick enough you don’t hear the planes taking off, but you do hear the honking. Which makes me wonder who is honking on the runway in the middle of the night. They have plush robes, comfy beds, lots of candy snacks and instead of piles of tiny wasteful plastic toiletry products they have full-sized bottles mounted in the shower. Yeah for reducing plastic. Also, there’s something magical about watching planes land silently at night literally at the foot of your bed.
The restaurant and cocktail scene is glamorous, but expensive. We stopped at the Paris Cafe by Jean-Georges, I needed a drink, Keaton needed food. Over $100 later, we both needed more. The hotel just opened and I’m sure they are adjusting, and I hope they adjust either the prices or the portions. Keaton ordered fish and chips, for $28 he got one piece of fish and exactly four pieces of potato. The meal cost me much more as he went back to the room and raided the vintage candy mini-bar. I tried the ginger margaritas, not sure what they cost, but they were worth it. Also, just posing in the fun yellow chairs was worth the price of admission.
The restored airplane just behind the hotel known as “Connie” is opening as a cocktail lounge. But let’s be honest, it’s the perfect place for a photo shoot. You don’t need to be a hotel guest to book a table or check out the vintage cockpit.
They say they don’t have bell service, but they were super helpful about storing my luggage and then it was all waiting in my room before I got there, which never happens. You check yourself in and make your own room key, which is weird but also fun. You also check yourself out again, which is freeing, I HATE standing in line to check out. Personally, I think they should take the entire thing WAY upscale and offer white glove door to terminal service, and charge accordingly. We actually missed our flight the next morning because I was head faked by proximity. After getting confused in the passenger tubes we hauled our bags to Terminal 4 since we were flying Delta and missed the cut off for checking bags. I think there’s a fortune to be made by making this hotel ultra luxe, but I’m not a hotelier, I just like a lot of service.
You can book rooms by the day or by the night. Anyone who has ever been stuck at the airport will love this option. A day stay starts at $149 and overnight at $249. See the TWA Hotel FAQ page for details on day rate hours. Our room with a runway view was $280 and I felt it was worth it. It was incredibly comfortable for an overnight and had everything you would need. I was most excited about the rotary phones in the rooms and the promise of free local and international calls. My phone wasn’t working, but even better, an operator connected my call! It’s hard to explain this to millennials, but once upon a time you could just dial 0 and a helpful lady would place a call for you or make an “emergency break in” on your mother’s marathon call with her best friend so you could tell her you needed a ride home.
The infinity pool is not quite open yet, but the photos are stunning. The hotel is full of memorabilia from the 60’s and the entire span of TWA’s years in flight. It’s honestly a huge amount of fun. Come for drinks, stay the night before an early morning flight (but don’t miss it) or grab a nap during a long layover. I love this hotel, it’s the perfect mix of cheeky and convenient and I hope it’s wildly successful.
All photos were courtesy of Flytographer. I cannot recommend them enough for a vacation, a family shoot or just pretending you are 1960’s Jetsetter. Use KIMMARIEEVANS as your code when you book and you’ll get $25 off your shoot!