We finally had the chance to visit the TWA Hotel in New York’s JFK Airport and it was even cooler than anticipated. Here’s our review of the TWA Hotel and why we think you need to go see it too!
For a long while now I’ve been transfixed by the “Mad Men” era. Sure, there was a lot NOT to like about that era (like smoking basically everywhere, rampant misogyny, sexual harassment as a sporting event, and so on). But, there was also a lot to like about the style, the architecture, the advertisements, and the overall vibe of the era. It’s that part that has always appealed to me.
So, when the TWA Hotel opened I could hardly wait for our chance to visit this destination-style hotel. Thanks to COVID I had to delay that experience. However, recently, I had two weeks in Chicago for business with a weekend in between. What to do, what to do!? A quick trip to NYC to visit the TWA hotel? Perfect!
TWA Hotel Review – my experience
I didn’t completely know what to expect when I arrived, but I’d seen lots of pictures so I had some idea. But, it was so much cooler in person.
The TWA Hotel was repurposed from the original TWA Flight Center which was designed by architect Eero Saarinen. The terminal, which stopped being used in 2001, was designated a NYC landmark in 1994 and it’s easy to see why. The striking architectural themes demand your attention.
Officially, the hotel opened in 2019, mere months before the pandemic of 2020, and with much fanfare.
TWA Architecture and Lobby areas
The hotel’s main lobby and check-in areas reuse the ticket counters from the original terminal and it’s pretty cool. Lots of open space, sweeping curves and vintage touches pretty much everywhere. The staff are in uniforms from the era and were pretty friendly, for the most part.
On your visit, be sure to simply wander around the facility. There are multiple picture opportunities to be had, exhibits to view, vintage memorabilia to gawk at and more.
Vintage Plane Bar at TWA Hotel
Guests can wander outside and climb the steps of a vintage airplane from the era and be transported back in time. The Lockheed L-1649 Starliner features a bar and lounge inside of its vintage walls. Visitors can sip Harvey Wallbangers and pretend they are back in the 60’s. This is a must-see exhibit.
TWA Hotel Rooms
Guests stay in one of two wings that were added as part of the renovation project. The rooms are built and styled to the era and are themselves quite neat. I stayed in the Saarinen Wing in a small room that faced the main terminal.
Deep red colors mixed are prevalent throughout the facility including the rooms and it totally works.
Protip: the rooms have huge windows which are more transparent than you might expect. Pull the blinds down when walking around in your skivvies. I observed several people who were aware of this need as I walked the property.
Eating at the TWA Hotel
NYC is currently requiring COVID vaccinations to eat in restaurants so be sure to bring yours. I’d forgotten about this requirement and had to run back to my room to retrieve mine.
The Paris Cafe is pricey, but the food and drinks are superb.
To keep things simple, fly into JFK, however, it’s also a quick cab ride from LGA which is what I did (better ticket price into LGA for me that weekend).
Aside from things being a bit pricey, I had an absolute blast at the property. Would I do it again? Probably not, unless it was with someone who’d not been yet, or perhaps as a part of a corporate event. I could easily see myself planning a sales meeting or team-building event there. In fact, events are a big revenue stream for the hotel, including weddings (I witnessed one while I was there…which was pretty cool, actually).
Is the TWA Hotel worth it? Yeah, 100%. It was amazing and I had an absolute blast soaking in the vintage airline nostalgia. So much fun! I recommend you make a point of visiting!