I visited TWA Hotel at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
When I arrived at TWA Hotel, I felt like I’d been through a time machine and stepped back 60 years to an earlier era of commercial aviation.
This was exactly what was supposed to happen when I walked into the hotel, which opened in 2019, as it used to be the Trans World Flight Center, an operating airport terminal that opened in 1962.
One unique feature about this hotel is that visitors who don’t want to book a standard overnight room can book a daytime room to rest during the morning and afternoon hours.
I chose to visit overnight — here’s what my $298 stay was like.
To get to the hotel, I took an elevator directly from JFK’s JetBlue terminal.
I emerged from the elevator and walked through a dimly lit, bright-red tunnel toward a white light in the distance. As I made my way to the hotel, hidden speakers played music by The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
The check-in desks looked like the airline counters where travelers check their luggage.
From the moment I walked into the lobby, I could tell that TWA Hotel was once a functioning airplane terminal. There were a lot of these check-in desks.
Every corner of the hotel contained nostalgic decor and historic artifacts.
The decor featured cutouts of people dressed in ’60s-era clothing.
In the images, they appear to be embarking on a trip back when travelers were supposed to actually dress nicely for a flight.
Even the prop luggage by the cutouts looked authentic.
The hotel decor made me feel like I was traveling in the 1960s.
Posters showcased the destinations that Trans World Airlines serviced before American Airlines acquired it in the early 2000s.
Of course, there was a New York poster since the city has always been a travel hub. I had fun just walking around and looking at the art and decor in the hotel’s public spaces.
TWA Hotel also had some really neat exhibits featuring authentic historic artifacts that highlight TWA’s legacy and air travel’s impact on the modern world.
Guests spend the night in either the Hughes or Saarinen Wing.
Outside of the lobby area, guests can spend the night in two separate wings. The wings host a total of 512 guest rooms, and both look out onto views of the JFK runways.
My room was on the top floor of the Hughes Wing, named after Howard Hughes, who once controlled TWA Airlines.
The other, the Saarinen Wing, was named after Eero Saarinen, the famous Finnish-American architect who designed the TWA Flight Center (now the TWA Hotel).
The hotel’s public spaces were the perfect place to grab food or learn about the history of aviation.
From the big atrium area, I could see the Lockheed Constellation coined as “Connie” outside.
Hughes commissioned the plane in 1939. It broke the existing transcontinental speed record on a flight from California to New York and served as Air Force One in the 1950s.
The Paris Café by Jean-Georges was where the terminal’s original Paris Café and Lisbon Lounge used to be.
The atmosphere in the Paris Café was laid back when I sat down on a Monday morning, but I could tell that it turned into a classic, lively spot with fun events in the evening.
Menu items were standard, and the prices were in line with what I’d expect for fancy food at an airport hotel. Plus, there was a beverage menu full of 1960s-inspired cocktails.
The last stop before my departure was upstairs at the famous TWA rooftop pool.
The infinity pool, the observation deck, and the Pool Bar are open year-round. Entry policies and schedules are broken down into two groups: summer/fall and winter/spring.
I visited in August, which meant I had to pay $25 for a pool reservation. However, I learned that non-hotel guests had to pay $50 for reservations in the summer.
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to the TWA Hotel.
I appreciated that TWA Hotel wasn’t just a place to sleep. It was a historically accurate, immersive cultural experience with plenty of on-site activities to enjoy.
It was amazing to see how far aviation technology has come since 1962 — and I’m looking forward to watching it progress in the next few decades.