The TWA Hotel Turns an Abandoned Airport Terminal Into a Midcentury Dream
An abandoned airport terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport has been reborn as the TWA Hotel, a stylish stay channeling the jet age. While the once-groundbreaking Trans World Airlines ceased operations in 2001, and the terminal closed in October of that year, the luxe hotel pays homage to the original architecture of the 1962 building designed by architect Eero Saarinen.
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The hotel, which begins accepting reservations on February 14, has been reimagined by New York–based design firms Lubrano Ciavarra, INC., Beyer Blinder Belle, and Stonehill Taylor.
The project calls to mind the romance of flying when the transportation method was still a novelty. Some original waiting area seating remains in the lobby and the business and events center.
Vintage tunes drift through the hotel in a curated soundtrack featuring Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, The 5th Dimension, Dusty Springfield, Rosemary Clooney, and Dean Martin. Airline beverage carts with snacks and carbonated sips are speckled throughout the grounds, while a champagne fridge filled with Moet & Chandon, TAB, and miniature bottles sits at the ready in the lobby for a boozy fix.
To access the guest rooms, patrons enter through space-age flight tubes—which you may remember from the film Catch Me If You Can. Clean lines meet a touch of glam in the rooms, which feature leather upholstery; a pop of primary color; Hollywood-style vanities; and custom walnut, brass, and glass details. Guests can make free unlimited local and international calls from a rewired vintage rotary phone, while taking in views of the runway.
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No need to worry about jet engine noise, as the floor-to-ceiling windows are built with Fabbrica glass—and they're the second-thickest windows in the world, following those of the U.S. Embassy in London. A fully stocked, in-room wet bar holds Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne, Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac, and ingredients for making the official 007 Belvedere martini for when you get thirsty.
Common area amenities include 50,000 square feet of event space for up to 1,600 people, a 10,000-square-foot fitness center offering yoga and spin classes, eight bars, and six restaurants including acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Paris Café, Lisbon Lounge, and the revived Ambassador’s Club.
The eateries will serve travel-inspired fare from a multitude of destinations, like French marchand de vin braised beef, pasta from Italy, and barbecue chicken from the U.S. There are also high-end retail outlets, an Intelligentsia coffee bar and carts, and a cocktail lounge housed within a Lockheed Constellation L-1649A airplane.
A hotel museum dedicated to TWA chronicles the midcentury modern design movement and the rise of the Jet Age. Various artifacts will be on display, including midcentury furniture, David Klein destination posters, vintage luggage tags, TWA uniforms (including the "jungle green" suit worn by air hostesses circa 1968 to 1971), and a TWA toiletries kit—which is also available in each of the guest rooms.
"Restoring the TWA Hotel is a labor of love for our entire team," says Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR and MORSE Development. "We are counting down the days until the landmark building, dark since 2001, is filled with life again."
Come May 15th, the hotel will welcome travelers for long- or short-term stays—even just for a quick place to shower, catch up on emails, get in a bit of exercise, and nosh on gourmet eats before heading to the next stop. Reservations for the TWA Hotel open at noon EST on February 14, with room rates starting at $249.
Architect of Record: Eero Saarinen
Guest Room Interior Design: Stonehill Taylor
Developer and Lead Investor: MCR
Building Contractor: Turner Construction
Historic Restoration: Beyer Blinder Belle
New Architecture: Lubrano Ciavarra
Event Space Design: INC Architecture & Design