Retro airport property opens in New York

Retro airport property opens in New York

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The TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport opened and invited guests to experience the glory days of mid-century travel.
USA TODAY

The TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport opened Wednesday and invited guests to experience the glory days of mid-century travel.

Reimagined from when the building was the Trans World Flight Center constructed in 1962, the TWA Hotel creates an airline-themed stay and play experience.

“I used to be a former flight attendant on TWA in ’96,” says TWA Hotel front desk assistant Karen Espinal. “Working here brings back memories of the airline that opened the door for me to a career in aviation.”

The 512-room hotel with a rooftop infinity pool that overlooks a JFK runway has been one of the most-anticipated hotel openings of 2019.

More: A short history of the first airport hotels

From sipping cocktails at the Paris Cafe and Lisbon Lounge by Jean-Georgesto viewing a fashion exhibit showcasing flight-attendant uniforms from different decades to making calls on working vintage rotary phones next to your hotel room bathroom, the TWA Hotel creates an adult playground for design and aviation lovers from every corner. 

If you’re thinking of visiting the TWA Hotel, here are 8 things you should know:

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1. The TWA Hotel is easy to access from JFK terminals

If you’re in one of the terminals at JFK, then you can take a free AirTrain shuttle to terminal 5, where the hotel is located. The hotel can be accessed by two walkways that connect directly to the hotel from the ticketing level. Alternatively, you can go to the baggage claim level on the first floor and walk across the street.

2. The hotel is open to the public

Have a layover at JFK or just want to check out the unique airport property? You can visit the iconic hotel even if you’re not staying there. There are no guided tours announced yet, but anyone is welcome to tour the property on their own. 

3. You can purchase day passes 

The starting room rates are $249 for overnight stays. However, if you have a layover or short day stay at JFK, there are also day passes available for $149 within four different time frames: 7 a.m.-11 a.m.; 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; and noon-6 p.m.. You can also take advantage of grabbing a drink at the infinity pool bar that overlooks the JFK runway with the day pass. If you need to get a workout in before a flight, there are gym passes for $25, which will be available via onlinebooking in the future. 

4. The 1962-era ticket counters are original

Check-in is located inside the Saarinen Wing — named after the architect of the building, Eero Saarinen.  Built into the original penny-tile ticket counters is a digital kiosk for self-check in, with front desk staff dressed in period uniforms designed by Stan Herman. At check-in, they place your luggage on luggage belts to be stored on the lower level before being delivered to your room.

5. You can have a cocktail inside a 60-year-old plane

The hotel refurbished the Constellation — “Connie” for short — a 60-year-old plane purchased by the TWA Hotel in 2018. The hotel restored the plane to its original condition and turned it into the Connie cocktail lounge that is decked out in authentic parts, including plush red flooring, restored windows and 1930s controls in the cockpit. You can sip cocktails in the brown leather-and-plaid mid-century plane seats.

6. Food and drinks can be pricey

The Paris Cafe by Jean-Georges was booked out a week in advance of the hotel’s opening day. The cafe serves menu items like pizza, pasta, burgers and fish dishes that range in price from $15 to $48. Another food and beverage offering is the Sunken Lounge, located on the first floor of the hotel. Beer is priced at $9, and cocktails and wine are available for $15 to $17. 

7. Design lovers should visit the Herman Miller Reading Room

The Herman Miller Reading Room is open to hotel guests as well as the public . “You can chill out and not have to worry about buying a drink in order to experience architecture and design,” Amy Hordes, Director of North American Sales for Phaidon told USA TODAY. Phaidon provides reading material in the form of coffee table books inside the library. You can browse and read titles like “Japan: The Cookbook,” “Drawing Architecture,” and “Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty,” while sitting in a $5,000 Herman Miller Eames lounge chair and ottoman.

8. There’s a gift shop for TWA-themed gear

Some of the cool things you can purchase at the TWA Museum gift shop are a pool robe ($69), reusable tote ($39), vintage-style clothing pins ($5) and Gola Mark Cox for TWA sneakers ($65). Also available are puzzles, water bottles, umbrellas, sweaters and hats.

First look: TWA Hotel unveils room design

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