9 Unique Experiences at the Amazing TWA Hotel in JFK

On a recent flight, my husband and I were stuck at JFK on a layover of less than 12 hours overnight, so we opted to spend the night at the famous TWA Hotel in the original TWA building. What an incredible experience.

It started after we loaded our bags into Terminal 5 and followed the directions to find the lift marked “TWA Hotel”. The red and white logo colors tempted us. We entered 2022 and exited the elevator in 1962.

The long red carpet led us to the hotel and music from the 60s was played on the sound system. This – along with vintage touches, like payphones and typewriters at the check-in desk – really made you feel like you’ve traveled to the 1960s. It was especially touching for me, because 1962 is the year of my birth. I was returning from Grenada, where I celebrated my 60th birthday.

Pro tip: When exiting the elevator, make sure to turn right and check out a replica of TWA owner Howard Hughes’ office.

Here are some unique experiences at a TWA hotel.

TWA Hotel hosted me on a press trip, but all opinions are mine.

The Connie Cocktail Lounge at TWA . Hotel
(Image source: John Arehart / Shutterstock.com)

1. One of the best hotel bars in the world

Enjoy a classic martini at Kone Cocktail Lounge. This 1958 “Connie” Lockheed Constellation has been lovingly restored to its original condition and converted into a lounge serving cocktails and snacks. After retiring from TWA, Connie worked as an Alaskan bush flyer and marijuana dropper. The painstaking restoration process involved finding original parts to return it to its former glory.

Martini in the Coney Cocktail Lounge at TWA Hotel.
Classic Martini at Coney Cocktail Lounge
(Image source: Peggy Cleveland)

There are no reservations and it is first come first serve. departing Connie Cocktail Lounge has been named one of the best hotel bars in the world by Connie Magazine. Be sure to try “Vodka is My Co-Pilot,” a classic dry vodka martini. The lounge is located on the tarmac and is sometimes closed for private events. If it’s closed, you can see the plane through the many huge windows in the lobby.

2. Roll A Rama

For a true vintage experience, head to the runway around the 1958 Lockheed Constellation “Connie” to the Roll A Rama skating rink. It is the only skating rink in the world at the airport. After a long flight, get some exercise on old tunes with a bit of disco. Did you know that figure skating burns 350 calories per hour? Tickets are available on a first come, first come, ski first basis and all skis are disinfected after each use. If you forgot the socks, they are available for sale at the gift shop.

Sunset over JFK Airport seen from the TWA Hotel.
Sunset over JFK, seen from the author’s room
(Image source: Peggy Cleveland)

3. Sunset at John F. Kennedy Airport

The sunset is amazing over JFK, especially when viewed from the TWA Hotel. My room had a great view of the sunset. There’s just something about an airport sunset that feels cinematic as day turns to night and the runway is lit. Another option is to head to the rooftop pool deck where you can enjoy the view with a cocktail from the pool bar.

Museum exhibit of flight attendant uniforms, TWA Hotel.
Flight Attendant Costume Museum Exhibition, TWA Hotel
(Image source: Peggy Cleveland)

4. Museum exhibits at TWA

Experience the jet age at the museum exhibits scattered throughout the TWA hotel. MCR/MORSE Development has collected over 2,000 TWA artifacts in the years leading up to the hotel’s opening with a plan for future exhibitions. The exhibits were sponsored by the New York Historical Society. Current exhibits at the hotel include items from the Howard Hughes estate and architect Eero Saarinen’s plans for TWA Station. You can also see 37 TWA uniforms from 1945 to 2001, many of them by famous designers. It was interesting to see what the uniform has looked like over the decades.

Exhibits are tucked away throughout the hotel, so be sure to take some time to explore the grounds so you don’t miss a thing. I loved the examples of onboard amenities like playing cards and silverware. TWA period travel posters by David Klein line the wall and feature the Jet Set era. One of the walls contains an extensive timeline highlighting what was happening during 1962 when the station opened. Since I was born in 1962, I have found it fascinating and read every word. All exhibits are free and open to the public.

5. The largest hotel gym in the world

I was so upset we didn’t have more time in the hotel when I saw this gym. It has an area of ​​10,000 square feet which makes it the largest hotel gym in the world. Access to TWA Fitness is included for registered hotel guests and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am a huge fan of Peloton and the bike center has 14 peloton bikes which I think are the most in any hotel. There are also 12 treadmills, 10 ellipticals, a full yoga studio, and a variety of strength training options including the TRX Suspension Trainer. A variety of group classes and personal training are available. There really is a workout for everyone.

6. Ultra-quiet guest rooms

The guest rooms at the TWA Hotel are amazing. Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows and is surprisingly quiet due to the extremely durable glass that is the second thickest in the world. I didn’t hear a single plane sound during my stay. The rooms are 1960s inspired with rotating telephones and mid-century modern furniture designed by the station’s original architect, Eero Saarinen. The vintage touches are great, but it also has plenty of charging options for your smartphone and other electronics.

I stayed in an Executive King Suite with Historic View of TWA. A view of the original TWA station allowed you to truly see the architectural features of this historic building. The king size bed was very comfortable with a Sealy mattress and excellent bedding. The price included unlimited local and international calls on a modified Western Electric 500 rotary phone, and the Wi-Fi was super fast. As a plus size girl, I just appreciated the big, fluffy towels in the original bathroom.

Rooftop infinity pool at TWA Hotel with planes in the background.
TWA Hotel Rooftop Infinity Pool
(Image source: Peggy Cleveland)

7. Rooftop infinity pool and observation deck

The rooftop area is very nice. You can watch planes take off from JFK and at night the airport lights are magical. The infinity pool is a pool in summer and in winter, heated to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and transformed into a swimming pool. The pool bar serves a variety of water- and flying-themed cocktails. Food offerings include appetizers, sandwiches, and flatbreads. Having booked a plane, this is a great location to get some fresh air.

8. Unique things to check out

TWA Hotel has two unique features that you won’t find in any other hotel. The Twister Room has a game board spread across the floor and walls for a truly unusual version of the 60’s game. The photo room has a booth to take your photo and then post it around the room. There are clips from fans who live all over the world. In the lobby, you’ll find the Solari split massage panel, a classic with the original mechanical process manufactured in Udine, Italy, and showcasing a sample of arrivals and departures.

9. Paris Café

Paris Café is located on the site of the original Paris Café and TWA Station’s Lisbon Lounge. It was originally designed by Raymond Loewy, the Parisian industrial designer who created the iconic Coca-Cola contour bottle and 1959 TWA twin globes logo. Celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves his specialties at the new Paris Café.

“As a passionate traveler, I am very excited to be a part of re-creating a culinary destination at this iconic landmark,” he said.

The menu is culinary inspired by the historical menus on board. Make sure you have reservations. We were not sure how long it would take to cross customs. We managed to get a seat at the long white table and enjoyed our appetizers and cocktails. It was pricey but the food was very good and how often do you get the chance to stay in such a special location? Stop by the Sunken Lounge in the lobby for a cocktail before or after dinner. It has a fun and vintage vibe.

Exterior of TWA Hotel.
The exterior of the TWA Hotel, which formerly housed the TWA Flight Center
(Photo source: TWA Hotel)

infectious energy

I’m so glad we stayed at the TWA Hotel. She turned the hard layover into an enjoyable experience that I will remember for a long time. There is such energy in the hotel that it is contagious. I switched from tiredness after a long flight to wanting to see all that the hotel has to offer. Be sure to check out the gift shop which has a great selection of TWA-themed items in distinctive red and white colors, perfect for last minute gifts.

Pro tip: If you have a long layover in JFK, you don’t have to stay at a TWA hotel to enjoy many of the experiences mentioned in this article. You can even buy a pass to the pool. Just make a reservation, so you won’t be disappointed.

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