One of the world’s most ambitious airport hotels has opened this week at New York’s JFK airport.
The TWA hotel has been created within the iconic architectural TWA Flight Center building, which was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1962.
The 512-room property will be JFK’s only on-airport hotel and has been one of New York’s largest and most significant building projects of recent months.
When the TWA terminal opened in 1962, it epitomized the glamour and optimism of the Jet Age, with the structure designated a New York City landmark in 1994. After its 2001 closure, it was listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places in 2005.
Developed by Morse Development and MCR – one of the top 10 hotel owner-operators in the US – the hotel project is the result of an adaptive reuse of the old terminal, and its features now include a cocktail lounge created out of a ’Connie’, a Lockheed Constellation L-1649A. The Connie aircraft was originally commissioned in 1939 by TWA’s eccentric owner, Howard Hughes.
In addition to the restored building at the core, two new hotel wings have been added, designed by Lubrano Ciavarra Architects with interior design by Stonehill Taylor; the LEED-certified building even has its own power plant operating entirely off the grid.
The hotel also now boasts a rooftop pool and observation deck looking out over the runways, as well as several high-end retail outlets, a 10,000-square-foot fitness centre and 50,000 sq ft of meeting and events space.
Its 512 guest rooms will each boast walnut martini bars and tambour walls expertly crafted by 200 woodworkers from Ohio’s Amish Country. The ultra-quiet, soundproofed rooms also feature authentic Knoll midcentury modern and authentic Saarinen-designed furniture, including a 16-inch round white Saarinen Pedestal tulip side table from where guests can make unlimited free international and local calls on a 1950s Western Electric 500 phone.
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo cut the ribbon this week in front of thousands of guests at the airport hotel, where there was also a retro live performance of the Beatles’ Twist and Shout on the Flight Bridge within the hotel. Guests at the opening included former employees of TWA, many of whom turned up proudly wearing their old preserved uniforms.
Hotel guests and passengers from every terminal will be able to connect to the TWA Hotel via the AirTrain, as well as through the famous Saarinen passenger tubes that connect directly to JFK’s Terminal 5 and famously featured in the 2002 Leonardo di Caprio film, Catch Me If You Can.
For those on a certain budget, BLADE helicopter services to Manhattan can be arranged from the hotel.