About The TWA Hotel
The TWA Hotel is a hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, United States, that opened on May 15th 2019. It utilises the head house of the TWA Flight Center airline terminal, designed in 1962 by the architect Eero Saarinen. The TWA Hotel project added two buildings (The Saarinen Wing and The Hughes Wing) on either sides of the existing TWA Flight Centre.
Map of The TWA Hotel
I booked my 1 night stay on the TWA Hotel official website; the hotel does not sell on expedia or booking.com. The price is more expensive than any other of the airport hotels at JFK. I paid $249 + tax (nearly $290 include tax) for a runway view room. The TWA hotel is not affiliated with any hotel chain, so you do not earn any hotel points or receive any status recognition.
The TWA hotel is located across from the Jetblue Terminal 5 at JFK, there is a red carpet walkway connecting you from the arrival floor of Terminal 5. Alternatively, you can also arrive by car straight to the front door.
The check in area looks like an airport check-in area, even including a baggage belt behind the check in desk. It is a self check-in style on an iPad. Swipe your credit card and make your own TWA Hotel key and you're all set. You can also opt in for an upgrade, for example to a suite, during check-in ($30-$50 extra which is pretty reasonable)
The hotel website also sells various day rooms in 4, 6 and 12 hour blocks, you can check in as early as 07:00 and stay as late as 20:00.
I got room 862 which is a runway facing king bed room in the Howard Hughes Wing. The room itself was a bit on the small side, but it had a full view of the apron between Terminal 4 and 5. The room had a very well stocked mini bar and lots of snacks (available for purchase).
Afternoon is the busy hour at JFK, with most international flights arriving between 13:00 to 18:00. Here are some pictures taken from the room.
There is plenty to explore at the TWA Hotel. There are 2 historic flight display "flip" boards in the lobby, with models dressed in retro TWA uniforms. There are museum exhibitions of all the uniforms of TWA. In the middle of the lobby there is also The Sunken Lounge.
There is a TWA gift store selling all kind of merchandise. I bought the red TWA T-shirt for $22.
The Pool and Observation Deck
The most popular spot at the TWA hotel is the roof top pool deck; it can be accessed from the Howard Hughes Wing by elevator to the R floor. The pool itself is very shallow, more like a dip pool, but the view is simply amazing!
The TWA Hotel website says guests who have a confirmed TWA Hotel room reservation can visit the pool from 07:00 to 23:00, weather permitting. Each registered TWA Hotel guest can visit the pool and observation deck area free of charge; each registered guest receives one free guest pass. There is a $25 fee (weekdays) and $50 fee (weekend) for non-hotel guests to use the pool/observation deck. When I was there, there was a security guard randomly checking guests at the door. You can buy the passes on the TWA Hotel website here.
From the pool and observation deck you have an elevated view over the JFK Airport apron and runway; the best runway configuration is 04/22 for viewing. Here are some pictures taken from the observation deck.
There is a restored Connie that has been moved 300 miles to its current location at the TWA Hotel. Inside is a cocktail lounge with retro chairs, there are also live ATC radio broadcasts from the cockpit. On the TWA Hotel website there is a brief history of this particular Connie.
The 1962 designed historical TWA Flight Centre is a stunning sight in the evening, with the lobby lit up with lights.
The hotel was just opened 2 months ago and it has quite a few maintenance issues. My rooms air conditioning failed in the late afternoon, the room became extremely warm and muggy. With no other choice, I was moved to a non-runway view suite in the Saarinen Wing.
The TWA Hotel has a full restaurant, The Paris Cafe, and a couple of lounges (The Sunken Lounge, The Connie Cocktail Lounge and the pool bar)
The Paris Cafe is open from 08:00 until 22:00 daily, this isn't the most convenient of times for early or late flyers. The price on juice is also quite steep, starting with a glass of OJ for $8. My smoked salmon omelette tasted fine but the price was on the premium side.
There is also a food court which is open from 10:00 until 21:00. The Halal Guys and Empanada Republic are but some of the vendors found here; you can grab a quick bite here easily.
The Howard Hughes Presidential Suite
During my stay, the hotel manager kindly showed me one of their best suites, over looking the runway The Howard Hughes Presidential Suite. This suite is currently selling for $749 per night.
The TWA Hotel is the ultimate airport hotel for the AvGeek. There are just so many displays to explore and so much history to appreciate. The Flight Centre building is one of the most unique ones in the world. The pool and Observation Deck were my favourite spots to hang out at. The rooms are small but very comfortable. The hotel does however have a few minus points, including inconsistent service and ongoing maintenance issues; the restaurant opening hours are also quite limited for such a large hotel. I hope over time the management can address these issues. The room rate is quite high but I think the whole experience more than justifies the high rate that they are commanding. I highly recommend a few hours or a night stop over at The TWA Hotel.