No one really gets excited about going to the airport. Between the TSA lines that stretch to the horizon, standstill traffic and the unsolvable riddle of what does and does not need to be placed in its own tray, a visit to the airport can be the most unpleasant part of any trip. But at one of America’s busiest airports there is about to be a new reason to go whether you’re flying or not.
The TWA Hotel at JFK’s Saarinen Terminal is finally set to open and lovers of travel and architecture can book their rooms now. The hotel is the latest (and largest) property from MCR, the company behind New York’s Highline Hotel and The New Yorker Hotel. But the TWA is something different. The hotel is the culmination of a years long project to rehabilitate the historic, but vacant TWA terminal at New York’s JFK Airport. The terminal itself is a legendary work of mid-century modern architecture from Eero Saarinen that opened in 1962. But like TWA itself, the terminal closed in 2001. And, except for a brief appearance that included Leonardo DiCaprio running through its halls in 2002’s Catch Me If You Can, remained an abandoned, haunting memory of the golden age of flight.
For those looking to jump back in time, the hotel preserves the look and feel of the Saarinen Terminal right down to hundreds of retrofitted rotary phones. But the amenities are decidedly modern: a massive fitness center, six restaurants (one by multi-Michelin star winner Jean-Georges Vongerichten) and a rooftop pool. They even turned a ‘50s Lockheed Constellation airplane into a cocktail bar.
Because the TWA is the only hotel actually at JFK airport, it will provide a nice change for anyone flying into New York. Before, if you wanted to stay close to the airport, your options were mostly the types of beige hotels and motels that typically sit just outside of major travel hubs. And if you wanted something hipper you’d have to spend a solid hour heading into Manhattan or Brooklyn. And for anyone worried about the noise of staying on airport property, don't worry. They designed the windows to be so thick that you can watch jets take off, but you shouldn't hear a thing.
You don’t even have to stay overnight to enjoy everything the TWA has to offer. The hotel will offer “day stays” for anyone with a long layover, which is definitely a better option that using your rollerbag as a pillow and fighting for a USB outlet next to the Chili’s Too.
“[It’s] a labor of love,” said MCR CEO Tyler Morse. “We are counting down the days until the landmark building, dark since 2001, filled with life again.
Rooms are available for stay beginning on May 15 and start at $224 a night, which, by New York hotel standards is downright affordable.