PHOTOS: The TWA Hotel at JFK is officially open!

Posted On Wed, May 15, 2019 By

Posted On Wed, May 15, 2019 By In Features, Hotels, Jamaica, Queens

Looking down on the terminal from the London Club; Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/David Mitchell

The much-anticipated rebirth of Eero Saarinen’s historic TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport is complete. The TWA Hotel officially opened on Wednesday, more than two years after the project broke ground in Queens and over 18 years since the iconic 1962 terminal shuttered. The project was developed by MCR and MORSE Development and designed by architecture firm LUBRANO CIAVARRA. Beyer Blinder Belle Architects handled the restoration of the original Flight Center to prepare for the hotel. The two six-story crescent-shaped buildings contain 512 rooms, a rooftop infinity pool and observation deck, event space, food hall, luxury fitness center, and retro cocktail bar.

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
The Flight Center’s signature Vulcain clock; Photo by Christopher Payne/ Esto

The $265 million project preserves the Saarinen-designed terminal, which was landmarked in 1994 for its revolutionary architecture and use of technology, and restores it to its “Jet Age” state. When it opened in 1962, the Flight Center was one of the first terminals to feature enclosed passenger jetways, closed-circuit TV, baggage carousels, and an electric schedule board.

“We restored and reimagined his landmark with the same care that he devoted to his design,” Tyler Morse, the chief executive of MCR and MORSE, said in a statement. “No detail went overlooked — from the millwork by Amish artisans to the custom font inspired by Saarinen’s own sketches to the one-of-a-kind manhole covers. Starting today, the world can enjoy this midcentury marvel for many years to come.”

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
The Sunken Lounge has a split flap departures board by Solari di Udine; Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
The infinity pool overlooks JFK’s Runway 4; Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

This is not your typical airport motel, once used strictly for catching some sleep before an early flight or in between work meetings. The TWA Hotel wants you to stay awhile and lures guests with five-star amenities and experiences. For example, the hotel features a 10,000-square-foot observation deck, which includes a rooftop infinity pool that boasts panoramic views of the runways.

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
View of “Connie,” the 1958 Lockheed Constellation turned cocktail bar; Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
The Paris Cafe by Jean-Georges; Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

There are six restaurants and eight bars, including the restored, red-carpeted Sunken Lounge. The Paris Cafe, named after a restaurant in the original terminal with the same name, will be operated by Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. A historic Lockheed Constellation airplane “Connie” has been retrofitted into a cocktail bar. Baristas will take orders in the lobby via mobile carts for Intelligentsia coffee and tea.

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
The “1962 Room” provides 4,200 square feet of event space; Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

TWA Hotel, TWA, JFK Airport
Vintage TWA air hostess uniforms are part of museum exhibitions curated by the New-York Historical Society at the hotel; Photo courtesy of TWA Hotel/ David Mitchell

The hotel’s developer expects the hotel’s rooms to be double booked. Morse told the Wall Street Journal that he wants to sell “every room every day twice a day” to run at 200 percent occupancy. This is possible as the hotel offers both regular overnight stays as well as short-term stays for a minimunm of four hours.

Rooms, designed by Stonehill Taylor with Knoll furnishings and custom-built martini bars, start at about $249 per night, with the shorter stay rates at $150.

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Photos courtesy of TWA Hotel/David Mitchell unless otherwise noted

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