Blast From the Past: JFK Airport’s New TWA Hotel

Pack your bags—the hottest new hotel has officially taken flight. Situated inside the historic John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, the TWA Hotel is a restoration of the former Trans World Airlines terminal, created in 1962 by Eero Saarinen. Once a landmark that reflected the glamour and allure of the Jet Age (it was even listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places in 2005), the hotel is making the ultimate comeback, with over 500 hotel rooms, a 50,000 square-foot events center, and numerous retail and amenity features. The project—which began in 2016—involved 22 government agencies, over 170 firms, and 450 union tradespeople working on site each day.

The TWA Hotel rethinks typical airplane food through its installations of high-quality restaurants. Paris Café—featuring meals by renowned French chef Jean-Georges—contains 200 seats surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows; the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner from an open kitchen as 1960s music plays in the background. Both The Sunken Lounge and Connie serve as cocktail lounges that pay homage to the legacy of airlines. While The Sunken Lounge features a split flap departures board that displays custom messages overhead, Connie is located on the original “Connie” airplane by Lockheed Constellation. On the other hand, Departures Hall and the Intelligentsia Coffee Bar are grab-and-go experiences, highlighting meals from restaurants such as Antico Noè, Empanada Republic, Fresh & Co, The Halal Guys, and Playa Bowls.

TWA also includes the world’s largest hotel gym, summing up to 10,000 square feet. Post swim, guests are invited to relax at the rooftop infinity pool and observation deck with views of runway 4 Left/22 Right, as well as its pool bar.

Visitors are invited to explore the hotel’s museum to learn more about aviation history; the exhibition features 440 TWA uniforms, 43 award-winning travel posters, vintage furniture, and artifacts curated by the New-York Historical Society.

Additional unique features include the Warby Parker Pencil Room—where travelers are invited to use pencils adorned with one-liners to customize postcards—and the Phaidon + Herman Miller Reading Room—which allows guests to unwind on mid-century modern furniture by Herman Miller while surveying Phaidon books.

As their flight time approaches, visitors are invited to purchase memorabilia at The TWA Shop, which sells apparel that honors Trans World Airlines’ legacy. Although an exotic destination may await, the TWA Hotel allows for your vacation to get a head start—chances are, you may even dread a departure.

Photo Credit: The TWA Hotel