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After years of anticipation, planning and construction, the long-awaited TWA Hotel has finally opened. The hotel revives Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Flight Center at New York’s JFK airport as the centerpiece of the property, which is a true testament to the Golden Age of air travel.
As of Wednesday, the hotel has launched operations — rooms are open for guests and visitors can now enjoy much of what the property has to offer. However, it should be noted that this is a soft launch, and when TPG toured the property on Tuesday, there was still a fair amount of work that needed to be done, although it mostly seemed cosmetic and could likely be finished quickly.
The TWA Flight Center is stunning and sports the largest hotel lobby in the world. The attention to detail and the recreation of the TWA brand makes it feel like you’re stepping back into 1962 at the height of the Jet Age. The interior is decked out in the original white penny tiles, which offers a stark contrast to the Eero Saarinen-designed Chili Pepper Red carpet throughout the terminal.
In the lobby, you’ll find the hotel’s check-in desk. I also caught a glimpse of a Blade desk, which is the service that provides continuous helicopter transfers between JFK and Manhattan. Its presence in the lobby could mean there’s a future partnership in the works, although hotel representatives wouldn’t comment further.
Two split-flat displays were in full effect, clicking and clacking between different airlines and destinations. One hangs over the Sunken Lounge, which is one of the many places you can grab a drink at the hotel.
Foodies will have the option to dine at Jean-Georges reimagining of the Paris Café or enjoy a quicker meal at one of the five smaller eateries, including a New York City staple: The Halal Guys. When we turned the corner into the Paris Café during our tour, Jean-Georges Vongerichten himself was standing there with a pizza in hand, prepping the restaurant and its staff for Wednesday’s launch. The thin crust, veggie-topped pie did not disappoint.
The hotel is a haven for AvGeeks — and not just because of all its TWA memorabilia. We took a peek at one of the property’s 512 rooms, which had prime runway and airport views. (Think a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 parked in the foreground with a KLM Boeing 777 landing in the background.)
And if that isn’t enough, you can have an aviation-themed cocktail inside a fully-restored 1958 Lockheed Constellation.
If you can’t book a room, don’t fret — you’re free to enjoy a drink or meal at the rooftop pool, which is truly a planespotter’s paradise.
To book a room or make a reservation at one of the restaurants or bars, you’ll need to book directly on the TWA Hotel’s website. The property is not a part of any major chain and has no plans on being bookable through OTAs (that means no 10x Capital One miles through Hotels.com). For now, be sure to use a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Premier Card, both of which earn 3x points on travel purchases.
Rooms rates start at $250 a night, although MCR Development CEO Tyler Morse said that shorter stays than one full night are available. You can book rooms in four-hour blocks, starting at $150 — perfect for a business traveler who just got off a red-eye and needs a shower and a place to kill some time before an afternoon meeting. Just remember that if you’re visiting in the next few weeks, you’re likely not going to get a completely finished product.
All images courtesy of the David Mitchell / TWA Hotel.
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