I visited the long-awaited TWA Hotel at JFK airport, and it's a must-see for travel nerds, aviation geeks, and history buffs

01_TWA Hotel

  • The long-awaited TWA Hotel opened Wednesday at JFK
    International Airport.
  • Located in the iconic Trans World Airlines Flight Center
    terminal building, the hotel makes use of a classic building that’s
    been abandoned since the airline went bankrupt in 2001.
  • The hotel has six restaurants, a cocktail lounge in a classic
    Lockheed Constellation airplane, shopping boutiques, and an
    infinity pool overlooking JFK’s runways.
  • Business Insider had an opportunity to tour the hotel during
    the opening day ceremonies, and it’s a dream for any travel geek,
    aviation nerd, or history buff.

After years of back-and-forth, planning, and negotiations, the
long-awaited TWA Hotel finally opened Wednesday at JFK
International Airport in New York City.

The project transformed Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Flight Center
— the main trans-Atlantic hub for Trans World Airlines up until
it went out of business in 2001. The original building, which sits
adjacent to the newer construction that makes up JFK’s Terminal 5,
is a New York City landmark and a living artifact from the
so-called “Golden Age” of air travel.

While the hotel is officially open for business, and most of its
512 rooms and suites are ready for guests, the developers are still
finishing up work in the public areas, installing items in kitchens
and dining rooms, finalizing the pool, and installing

Even so, the hotel is already an impressive sight. With retro
styling, themed restaurants, and a pool that promises to make kids
and adult aviation fans geek out, it’s worth a visit the next time
you find yourself flying into or out of JFK.

A ribbon cutting was held in advance of the hotel’s first-ever 3
p.m. check-in time, and various media outlets, former TWA
employees, and aviation history buffs had a chance to walk through
the property. Although it’s obvious that work is still being
finished, read on for a first look at one of the world’s most
stylish airport hotels.

While the hotel isn’t part of any major chain — and isn’t
bookable through online portals just yet — you can still earn
rewards points on a stay by using a credit card that earns bonus
points on travel purchases. Be sure to check out our guide to the
travel credit card rewards here

best credit card rewards, bonuses, and benefits of

Wednesday was opening day for the TWA Hotel.

The TWA Hotel was built in the classic TWA Flight Center, which is
next to JFK’s newer Terminal 5.

The original Flight Center makes up the hotel’s massive lobby,
restaurants, and lounges, with guest rooms off in other connected

A prolific feature of the lobby is a vintage-style split-flap sign
board — also known as a Solari board, after the company that
makes them. While it doesn’t show live flight times, it’s still fun
to watch and helps set the atmosphere.

Over in the “arrivals” area…

You’ll find the front desk. There are self-serve kiosks, although
the desks will be staffed with attendants as well. These are the
original kiosks from when passengers would check in to TWA flights
— obviously, the self-service computerized parts on top are new.

There are stacks of blank key cards on top of each kiosk, waiting
to be programmed for your room.

There’s a conveyor belt for luggage running behind the check-in
kiosks. During the TWA days, this took checked bags to the planes.
Today, it leads to a luggage storage room for people who are
checking in before their rooms are ready.

There are a few boutique retail outlets in the hotel. This stylized
newsstand is more for overnight essentials, but there’s also a shop
around the corner selling TWA merchandise (I wasn’t able to access
it when I was there)…

A Shinola shop…

…And a Warby Parker boutique.

Towards the back of the building, the “Sunken Lounge” offers a
comfortable and spacious place to have a seat, and maybe a cup of
coffee or a drink.

The Paris Cafe, run by restauranteur Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is
the hotel’s flagship restaurant. It’s scheduled to open Wednesday

There are some smaller eateries and cafes, too, including the
London Club and the Lisbon Lounge …

… with a ton of comfortable seating.

Then, there’s the main attraction: The Connie, a 1958 Lockheed
Constellation L-1649A that’s been converted into a cocktail bar.

You enter the Connie, a restored TWA aircraft in the airline’s
original livery, just like you would have if you were taking a

At the very back of the plane, there’s a full-service bar.

There are a few different seating options, including restored
aircraft seats, and regular tables. According to a representative
for Gerber Group, which operates the lounge, some of the furniture
still needs to be installed …

… But the airplane seats are a permanent fixture. For anyone
wondering why you’d want to sit on a plane when you’re not actually
flying, keep in mind that these aren’t the slimline plane seats
we’ve grown used to. These are comfortable and padded, and a fun
throwback to what flying used to be like.

You can also take a seat in the cockpit, which has been left
more-or-less as-is.

There’s a live radio feed from one of JFK’s air traffic control
frequencies, and anyone — kids or adults — can sit in the
original pilots’ seats.

There’s TWA memorabilia all over the hotel …

… including classic uniforms …

… and reproductions of vintage posters.

There’s also 50,000 square feet of event space, including social
areas outside of the conference rooms (which were mostly still
being painted and furnished).

Sadly, I wasn’t able to get access to one of the hotel’s coolest
novelties, a roof deck and infinity pool overlooking the tarmac.

The hotel has 512 rooms and suites. I toured a standard king room,
the base-level accommodation, which looked bright, airy, and

While there’s definitely still work to be done …

The TWA Hotel is a creative, fun use of a classic building, and
looks like it will be a fantastic place to stay — allowing for
any initial bumps as it begins its first operations.
Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News
I visited the long-awaited TWA Hotel at JFK airport, and it's a must-see for travel nerds, aviation geeks, and history buffs