When the TWA Flight Center opened in 1962 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (then called Idlewild Airport), the jet age was just beginning. The Eero Saarinen–designed building wasn’t completed until after the architect’s death in 1961, but it remains one of his most well-known projects, along with the Washington Dulles International Airport and St. Louis’s Gateway Arch. The terminal closed in 2001—along with its namesake Trans World Airlines—because it could no longer support the size of modern airplanes.
Nearly two decades later, the landmark building will reopen on May 15 as the TWA Hotel, JFK’s first on-airport hotel. It will be accessible via car or the AirTrain at Terminal 5. It’s full of retro details that nod to the terminal’s midcentury past. In addition to a rooftop pool and observation deck, here’s what the new TWA Hotel will include.
Located in a pair of new buildings behind the historic terminal, the rooms at the TWA Hotel will feature midcentury modern-inspired furniture and lighting to remind guests of the project’s 1962 origins. With walnut martini bars and tambour walls made by a family-owned business in Ohio’s Amish Country, the rooms will also be decorated with vintage TWA advertisements.
To muffle sounds from planes taking off at nearby runways, the hotel was built with a glass curtain wall by Fabbrica that is seven panes and 4.5 inches thick. That means that you’ll be able to see planes taking off through the floor-to-ceiling windows, but you won’t be able to hear them.
In addition to overnight stays (rates start at $249 a night), the TWA Hotel will open up shorter day-stay reservations for guests who have long layovers or are arriving on early morning flights and want to freshen up before heading into Manhattan for meetings.
The Gerber Group, which renovated The Campbell Bar at Grand Central Terminal, will also be responsible for returning The Sunken Lounge to its original 1962 design. Located in the center of the terminal underneath a split flap departures board, the cocktail bar will serve 1960s classics like the Aviation (crème de violette, maraschino liqueur, gin, and lemon juice) as well as the Royal Ambassador (champagne, orange juice, and Grand Marnier), which was once served to TWA passengers in gold-flecked glasses. The Gerber Group has also created its own signature cocktails for the bar, including the Come Fly With Me, a drink inspired by Frank Sinatra’s 1958 album cover.
Paris Café, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant
There will be six restaurants throughout the TWA hotel, but the most exciting one is the Paris Café by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Located inside the historic building, the restaurant will take over the footprint of the terminal’s original Paris Café and Lisbon Lounge, which shuttered in 2001 when the terminal closed. The new restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and will serve food inspired by in-flight menus from TWA.
There is no news yet as to what the other five restaurants will be, but Intelligentsia has been tapped to provide service at the coffee bar and coffee carts located throughout the hotel.
In October 2018, a meticulously restored Lockheed Constellation L-1649A airplane from the 1950s was moved from Maine’s Auburn-Lewiston Airport to JFK. The 1958 plane will be repurposed into a cocktail lounge at the new hotel and is just one of eight bars planned for the property.
A 10,000-square-foot fitness center
Open 24 hours a day, the fitness center at the TWA Hotel will clock in at 10,000 square feet, making it the world’s largest hotel gym. Designed by Jay Wright, a celebrity trainer and CEO of The Wright Fit, the center will include both strength-training and conditioning machines, a yoga studio, and an on-site galley with juices and snacks. The gym will be free for hotel guests, but day passes and monthly memberships will be sold to anyone looking to freshen up in the locker rooms after a red-eye flight.
The TWA Hotel is now taking reservations from May 15, 2019, onward with rates starting at $249 per night.
This article originally appeared online on February 24, 2019; it was updated on March 1, 2019, to include current information.