TWA Hotel opens doors to former JFK terminal

16 May 2019 by Jenni Reid
TWA Hotel exterior

The first guests have landed at the TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK Airport.

The 512-room hotel inhabits the 1960s terminal used by Trans World Airlines until 2001, and its launch has been eagerly awaited by aviation enthusiasts.

It features a cocktail bar in a Lockheed Constellation ‘Connie’, another bar in the retro red-carpeted lounge, a ‘Departures Hall’ with takeaway food options, ‘flight tube’ corridors leading to Jetblue’s Terminal 5, a shop selling TWA memorabilia and a museum.

TWA Hotel

Plane spotters can relax at a rooftop infinity pool, observation deck and bar with views over JFK’s runway 4.

Back indoors, guests can peruse a Shinola watch bar and leather goods store, Warby Parker Pencil Room with custom postcards and pencils, and a Phaidon and Herman Miller Reading Room.

In the way of more traditional amenities, the hotel features a 200-seat, all-day restaurant, 10,000 sqft gym, 50,000 sqft of event space and a ballroom.

The hotel also says it will offer Blade helicopter services into Manhattan.

TWA Hotel rooftop pool

The terminal was listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places in 2005, seen as an emblem of the glamour and excitement of the Jet Age.

A restoration project was led by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners, who built two new wings designed by Lubrano Ciavarra Architects and a 50,000 sqft events centre by INC Architecture and Design.

Construction began in late 2016.

TWA Hotel interior

A ribbon-cutting celebration was led by New York Governor Andrew M Cuomo on Wednesday, attended by former TWA staff wearing their old uniforms.

One report suggests the opening didn’t quite go to plan, with rooms still not prepared and public areas still showing signs of construction.

It was previously reported that May would see the hotel’s soft launch, with a full opening later in the year. From the reservation page, rates appear to be consistent for the rest of the year. Rooms can be booked overnight, or for various ‘day stay’ periods.

TWA Hotel guest room

“The preservation and conversion of this world-renowned landmark offers a one-of-a-kind destination for international visitors and New Yorkers alike,” said Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“As we celebrate this one milestone, we look forward to many more, as this is just the beginning of JFK’s transformation into an entire airport that’s as welcoming, impressive and iconic as this beautiful new hotel.”

The airport is seeing a $13 billion investment that will increase capacity from 60 million to 80 million by 2035 and add two new international terminals. The project is expected to commence in 2020.

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