The 5 Must-see Things at the TWA Hotel

David Mitchell/Courtesy TWA Hotel

You now have a reason to visit JFK airport even if you don’t have a flight.

Let’s face it. Traveling is great; spending hours at the airport dealing with crowds and long lines is not. But, the TWA Hotel at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is giving travelers a reason to visit the bustling airport even if they don’t have a plane to catch.

The new property, which opened today, took over the old TWA terminal (which opened in 1962 and closed nearly four decades later) and is offering a luxurious retro-inspired experience that you won’t want to miss. While it’s hard to narrow down all the things we love about the mid-century modern structure, we’ve done our best to highlight the five things you absolutely have to check out.

The Food Options

Though airport food offerings have made significant strides in recent years, the TWA hotel takes it to another level. It has six restaurants and eight bars, including Jean-George Vongerichten’s 38th restaurant: Paris Café, and a five-vendor food hall with local favorites like the Halal Guys and Empanada Mama. Even the coffee is top notch. Intelligentsia opened a coffee bar in the 1962 landmark building designed by iconic architect Eero Saarinen, and baristas will take orders from custom mobile carts. An outdoor garden and 1960’s van turned coffee shop is also set to open this year.


Christopher Payne/Esto/Courtesy TWA Hotel

The Swanky Retro Hotel Rooms

Airport hotels are typical, pretty basic, and focused on function. These are way more fun. The retro-inspired guestrooms come complete with vintage rotary phone, cocktail bar, authentic Knoll furnishings, and views of JFK’s runway. Even cooler is that the rooms are accessed through Saarinen’s space-age tubes made famous by the film Catch Me If You Can.


David Mitchell/Courtesy TWA Hotel

The Rooftop Pool

You don’t typically think of going for a dip before takeoff, but you will at this stunning infinity pool. It was inspired by the pool at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Cap d’Antibes, France, and is perched on a 10,000-square-foot observation deck with unobstructed views of Runway 4 Left/22 Right and Jamaica Bay.


David Mitchell/Courtesy TWA Hotel

The Onsite Museum

You can’t have a vintage-inspired hotel and not have original artifacts from the Golden Age of Travel. While the building itself is a relic, the New York Historical Society also curated an exhibit in the space of TWA uniform pieces, travel posters, vintage furniture, and large airline artifacts like a luggage tug.


David Mitchell/Courtesy TWA Hotel

The Vintage Plane Turned Cocktail Lounge

Yes, we already said the food was worth checking out. But, if you only have time for a drink, head over to the cocktail bar inside the Connie—a restored 60-year-old airplane that broke the transcontinental speed record in 1946. It comes complete with original 1958 airplane chairs and a cockpit that’s airing JFK’s live air traffic control feed. To access the unique bar operated by Gerber Group, you actually have to walk onto a tarmac.

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