The TWA Hotel at JFK
Since the cheapest flights are usually in the morning or late at night, staying at an airport hotel is sometimes a necessity. When I do book a room, I keep my expectations low. Airport hotels are meant to be convenient, not comfortable. Well, it’s safe to say the TWA Hotel at JFK blew my expectations out of the water.
New York City has plenty of chic and cozy luxury hotels, but I didn’t expect to find such style and comfort at the JFK airport. The TWA hotel provides a unique experience unlike any other hotel I’ve been to. But aviation fanatics in particular will have a field day.
What is the TWA Hotel?
The TWA Hotel was once part of an active flight center at JFK for Trans World Airlines. The TWA Flight Center featured an iconic, neo-futuristic design by Eero Saarinen. But the airline struggled to stay afloat and was acquired by American Airlines in 2001. As a result, the flight center sat empty and unused for over a decade.
But in 2019 the TWA Hotel opened. It is currently the only on-airport hotel at JFK. It has 512 rooms, 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a curling rink, several food and drink options, a rooftop pool, and the world’s largest hotel gym. All those amenities come with the flight center’s original design and style.
About the Rooms
Like the rest of the building, all rooms are clean, sleek, and rocking that 60s vibe. There are plenty of nice features like fast Wi-Fi, large TVs, and midcentury modern Knoll furnishings. But the windows are probably the most important part of the room. Many of the rooms feature views of the runway so you can watch planes take off. But all of the rooms have ultra-thick glass to dampen the noise.
The TWA Hotel at JFK offers executive and presidential suites for those that want the best of the best. These offer luxurious bedding, large seating areas, and a lot more space.
I stayed in the Standard King guestroom, the TWA Hotel’s most basic option. The room was small, but I had everything I needed (king-sized bed, TV, shower, desk, fridge, etc.). Plus, the room gave me access to all the same amenities. For a one-night stay, it’s hard to justify a more expensive option.
Open year-round, the rooftop pool provides a welcome break from the heat during summer. And in winter, the pool is kept at 95 degrees.
There is also a pool bar, which changes based on the season. In the winter, the bar transforms into an alpine hideaway with festive drinks, runway views, and a heated tent.
Depending on when you go, you may need to reserve a spot at the pool. So make sure to double check availability if you want to go.
TWA Hotel Fitness Center
At 10,000 square feet, the TWA Fitness Center is the largest hotel gym in the world. There are plenty of machines, free weights, bikes, and more to give you a full workout.
You can also come anytime you want since the gym is open 24/7. And in my experience, it isn’t usually that busy. You shouldn’t have a problem with crowds or occupied equipment.
Food and Drinks
In addition to the rooftop pool bar and a small coffee shop, the TWA Hotel at JFK features three main dining/drinking venues.
The Sunken Lounge
The Sunken Lounge is the TWA Hotel’s main hangout spot. Here you’ll find hotel goers as well as others looking to kill time before their flights. So even though the Sunken Lounge serves drinks, most people use it to, well, lounge.
Like the lounge itself, the drinks embody the glamor of the sixties. You can enjoy retro cocktails with elevated bar fare. Also, you get cute swizzle sticks like those used in-flight.
Connie Cocktail Lounge
While the Sunken Lounge calls to mind images of the luxurious past of air travel, the Connie Cocktail Lounge puts you right in the plane. The lounge was built inside a real 1958 Lockheed Constellation “Connie” airplane. It’s one of the most popular draws of the TWA Hotel. I even met a local couple that regularly visits the hotel just for this bar.
The cocktails are simple classics: martini, old fashioned, paper plane, and so on. But they are classics for a reason and well-executed too. This consistency paired with the retro aesthetic is a powerful combo.
However, I did expect a more adult crowd. There were a lot of kids running around. Either they forced their parents to see the airplane or the parents forced them to tag along while they drank. On the one hand, it lessens the glamorous vibe. But on the other hand, it makes the Connie Cocktail Lounge a great place to mingle with other families.
The Paris Café is one of the best places to eat in JFK. The restaurant is owned by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges, so you can expect the quality to be top notch. In addition to rich and flavorful food, the staff is also quite attentive and efficient.
Without question, the Paris Café is a humongous upgrade from the greasy fast food joints in JFK. But I had one incredibly minor complaint. The TWA Hotel’s Paris Café isn’t very Parisian. Although delicious, dishes like fried calamari, sushi, and pizza aren’t French.
Booking the TWA Hotel
If you want to book a stay at the TWA Hotel, you have options. To coordinate with your flight, you can choose to stay overnight or for the day (for 4 hours or more between 6am and 8pm). You can also choose to check in early or checkout late.
The lowest rate for a room is usually around $200 a night. But taxes and fees add on about another $50. So double check prices before you lock in that room.
To sum it up, the TWA Hotel at JFK offers an incredibly unique and comfortable experience. Why wait in JFK for your layover? Why drive at night to catch your early flight in the morning? Just stay at this incredible airport hotel.
But if you need a lavish accommodation and don’t mind a longer trip to the airport, try one of these luxury NYC hotels.