There is just one place to stay on site at New York’s JFK airport and that is the TWA Hotel. Located outside JetBlue’s Terminal 5, it is easily accessed by the AirTrain serving all terminals.
The former TWA terminal features facilities such as food outlets, shops, restaurants and even a cocktail bar inside a Super Constellation airliner. Rooms are in two newly constructed buildings that opened in 2019.
Booking A Room
A smorgasbord of options are available when you book a room at the TWA Hotel. Inclusive of taxes and charges, a non-refundable Standard King room can be as low as $220 per night, which is what I paid. Runway View rooms on the same Advance Purchase rate will be at least $336 per night, and prices go up from here. It is not a cheap hotel by any measure.
Standard check-in time is 4pm and check-out is 11am, and the system will give you options for early check-in and late check-out if they’re available – for a price, of course. You also make your pool reservation at the time of booking for a 1 hour and 45 minute slot on your day of arrival only.
TWA Flight Center
Construction began on the Eero Saarinen and Associates designed TWA Flight Center in 1959 and it opened in 1962. It served as TWA’s New York terminal until the last flights in December 2001.
The historic Saarinen facility was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 and remained pretty much unused for a number of years. Eventually it was lovingly restored and incorporated into the new hotel.
Arrival and Check-In
After my short journey on the AirTrain from the Amercian Airlines terminal, I excitedly entered the famous terminal. A very friendly lady served me at the check-in desk and during our banter I asked if it was possible to have a room with a view over the airport.
Happily my runway view request was granted and I was directed to one of the Flight Tubes. You might have seen these in movies such as Catch Me If You Can. From there I took the elevator and walked the red carpet to my room.
TWA Hotel Standard King Room
Quite frankly, the rooms are glam and I loved everything about mine. The retro chic design includes things like a vintage travel poster and old school phone, yet you then find thoroughly 21st century touches such as the wireless phone charger. And what about those floor to ceiling windows!
The rooms are extremely well thought out, with plenty of space to work and nothing superfluous. I’m also delighted to report the beds are extremely comfortable and I slept very well.
A Ritzy Bathroom
While there was an apologetic letter in the room saying some things were unavailable due to the pandemic, all the necessities were there. A feature of the mirror are the old style actor dressing room mirror lights.
Everything was clean and tidy and of course water pressure for the shower was excellent. It’s actually decently spacious which I thought was a good choice.
Swimming In The Rooftop Pool… In January?!
There was absolutely no way I was going to miss swimming in the rooftop pool, even if it was January and 4C / 39F outside. The pool is heated during the winter and proved to be very pleasant for a dip.
Music from the 1960s plays upstairs on the roof deck, and as the only person in the pool I had a lovely time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the only thing that got cold was my head, so I fixed that by swimming underwater periodically. Here’s a short video I took of my surroundings.
Some people passing by from the restaurant asked how the water was, and after assuring them it was great, they went to their room, came back up and went swimming too. It’s so worth it!
Runway Chalet at the Pool Bar
Once I’d changed back into my clothes, I headed for the Runway Chalet by the pool for something to eat. There were a number of people in there the entire time I was swimming, so it seems fairly popular.
There is a decent menu featuring a number of aviation themed cocktails as well as food items. My Reuben Sandwich took a little while to prepare, but was worth the wait and was quite delicious, even if it came in a takeaway style box.
Exploring the Saarinen Terminal
Once I’d eaten, it was time to explore the TWA Flight Center. In addition to the check-in desks, there is a food hall offering various meals, and even a TWA Shop. I ended up buying a book about the terminal, being the aviation geek that I am.
From there it was around and about to explore all the various features of the building. There is enough to see without there being too much and I particularly liked the uniform display, complete with handy explanations.
The TWA Hotel at New York’s JFK airport is a must stay location if you have an overnight between flights. In my case, I deliberately made sure I had an overnight so I could sample this hotel.
When I visited, the Connie Lounge outside in the Super Constellation airliner (well, actually an L-1649 Starliner) was closed certain days of the week, which included Tuesday night when I was there. It’s back to its usual 7 days a week schedule now, so I’ll just have to go again to check that out.
Since it is the only hotel located at the airport, they can and do charge a premium for this. However, I think it is justified based on the room comfort and the services on offer. Either way, I can’t wait to stay here again sometime.
Have you stayed at the TWA Hotel before? What did you think of it? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Worst service at any hotel. There is no customer service to help you. And both times we stayed with children pool was closed and management lied to a group of us. The maintenance team told us a completely different story about what was actually the issue. This happened 2 x in 1 year. Never again. Than we tried to relax in the lounge. Kicked out for a photo shoot so no pool and hanging out outside your tiny room. Unacceptable.
Sounds like you had a very bad experience all round, which is totally the opposite to what I found when I stayed in early 2022. What a shame! I imagine you’ll just have to try again as it sounds like you had bad luck. The pool does close with inclement weather, according to the website, so maybe you just got unlucky. Anyway, thank you for your comment!
My wife and I stayed the night before our early am flight to Seattle to see our children and grandchildren! Everything you wrote was right in ………we enjoyed the entire experience…..only we did not use the pool , next time absolutely will ………..bought T shirts in the store and had cocktails in the lounge before an excellent dinner at the upscale more formal restaurant! Definitely will return our next trip to Seattle !
Fantastic to hear you also enjoyed it and will go again! I saw that restaurant and would like to give it a try next time myself. Certainly a striking hotel all round! Thanks for the comment.
So glad you got there Trent. I took my Mom (a former Ozark-TWA rez agent) to the hotel in OCT, 2019. Her knees were getting so bad I knew this would be our last Mom/Son trip. Pampered her the whole way and we had a great time. She LOVED the gift shop and she blew my budget, but that was OK.
That’s wonderful, I’m glad you got to go there and that she really enjoyed it. It’s certainly a good place to stay!
Great review. Now I want to go even more, although I loathe the company that owns the hotel. I’ll probably sacrifice my principles anyway to indulge my inner av geek. The room view looked great but I didn’t see any curtains. Was there some way to keep the dawn sun out?
It’s a nice place to stay, that’s for sure. There are blinds on the windows, so I had them down during the night, of course. It would have been terrible if there weren’t any, but there are. Hope you get to go and visit!
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I received a gift card for the TWA hotel. But I’m reluctant to go until mask mandates have been eliminated in the hotel. Don’t feel like having to put masks on and off between bites of food or drink.
Their mask policy statement on the website is over a month old, although New York City is getting less stringent now, has anyone gone recently to tell me if they are doing this or not
I certainly didn’t wear my mask when I ate in the rooftop restaurant. Nobody said anything and others were also not wearing masks at the tables and bar when eating and drinking. Nice that you have a gift card for the hotel, it’s well worth a visit.
Nice. Great upgrade! I’ve stayed a couple times and enjoyed it a lot. It’s pricey so go with that frame of mind 😉
Thanks! I think it’s well worth it, really. Glad they kept the TWA Flight Center, it’s really a lovely building.