It was the end of last year’s incredible US (and Vancouver in Canada) tour with stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Nashville, Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York and we had one last night to create some unforgettable memories before heading back home to Scotland.
And we could not have picked a better way to end our travels than with an extraordinary and unique experience at the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport.
TWA Hotel- Accommodation with a View
From the moment we arrived, we were in awe of the architectural marvel that is the TWA Hotel. It pays homage to the golden age of air travel and the iconic Trans World Airlines, and it was evident in every detail. The main building, the TWA Flight Center, was designed by the renowned architect Eero Saarinen and first opened in 1962. It has since been restored to its former glory, showcasing the mid-20th century modern design that was prevalent during that era. Walking through the hotel felt like stepping into a time capsule, with every corner offering a fascinating glimpse into the past. I also couldn’t help picturing it as a James Bond lair.
The 512 rooms at the TWA hotel are spacious and well-appointed, with comfortable beds and modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and mini-fridges. Families can choose from a variety of room types, including Deluxe Queens, Deluxe Kings, and Family Rooms. The Family Rooms are especially spacious, with two queen beds and a seating area with a sofa bed.
We chose a Family Room and, especially for New York, it was spacious and tastefully decorated with period style furnishings. However, our main reason for booking was the massive floor to ceiling soundproof windows overlooking one of JFK’s busiest runways. Danny and Jack were thrilled to have an unobstructed view of aeroplanes taking off and landing and they could have sat watching them for hours.
Listening to them reeling off the airline names and plane types with excitement in their voices put a huge smile on my face. This hotel was for them, and for families with younger children, the TWA hotel has a variety of activities and amenities to keep them entertained.
There is a retro arcade filled with classic games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, as well as a reading nook stocked with children’s books. Families can also rent bikes and explore the airport’s perimeter, or take a guided tour of the TWA Flight Center and airport perimeter. Prices start at around $15 per person and are available to both hotel guests and the public. We only had one night booked so opted instead to go for a swim.
Although, with breathtaking views of planes soaring above the New York City skyline, not much actual swimming was done. While the boys sat on the infinity pool’s edge watching planes, we relaxed on the sun deck, had a soak in the hot tub, and enjoyed some mocktails. Everyone wins. Access to the rooftop pool is included with a hotel stay. However, if you’re not staying at the hotel, you can purchase a day pass for $50 per person, which includes a pool towel and a complimentary drink.
The boys would have had us watch planes landing and taking off all night from either the pool or the room, but we wanted to fully explore the hotel and try some more cocktails. Plus, we were hungry.
Dining at the TWA
The TWA Hotel offers several dining options, ranging from casual eateries to fine dining experiences.
Their signature restaurant is the Paris Café by Jean-Georges. Overseen by the acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the menu features a contemporary twist on classic French cuisine, with dishes such as Roasted Organic Chicken with Lemon-Butter Sauce and Hand-Cut Steak Tartare with Crispy Gaufrette Potatoes. Prices for main courses range from $22 to $46. Out of our range, but luckily for us, there were other options in the Departures Hall Food Court.
For a more casual dining experience, the Departures Hall Food Court offers a variety of fast-casual eateries to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. Some of the available options include Empanada Republic, Antico Noè, and Feltman’s of Coney Island. Having missed Coney Island during our New York trip, we decided on hot dogs. When in New York…
And then it was on to drinks in the fabulous Connie Cocktail Lounge. Located inside a beautifully restored 1958 Lockheed Constellation aeroplane, we were instantly transported back to the glamorous days of air travel, sipping on vintage-inspired cocktails while admiring the stylish surroundings. Oh and losing my wallet. I spent 30 minutes searching the plane before finding it under the stairs. Crisis averted.
As a fitness blogger, I was impressed by the TWA Hotel’s claim that its colossal fitness centre was the “World’s Biggest Hotel Gym“. Offering a playground for fitness enthusiasts of all ages with state-of-the-art equipment, group classes and personal training, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
However, our focus was on enjoying cocktails and it was back to the Flight Center, and specifically the Sunken Lounge.
Stepping into the Sunken Lounge you are instantly taken by its very cool design. The lounge features a stylish and inviting atmosphere, reminiscent of the Mad Men era. With its sleek furnishings, vibrant colours, and chic decor, the lounge captures the essence of 1960’s sophistication and elegance. The attention to detail is impeccable, creating an authentic and nostalgic ambiance. Arguably the coolest hotel we’ve ever stayed in.
The lounge was the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a retro cocktail or two. We sipped on some classic cocktails (complete with TWA swizzle sticks) that were once enjoyed during flights. The menu offers a delightful selection of carefully crafted cocktails, each with its own unique twist. From the refreshing Jet Fuel, made with Cucumber Mint Vodka, Aperol, Fresh Lemon Juice, and Muddled Watermelon, to the timeless Vodka is My Co-Pilot, a martini variation featuring Vodka, Dry Vermouth, and Olives, there’s a drink to suit every taste. Yes, we were making the most of our last night.
And then it was time for last orders, a walk to our room, bed, and an end to our American adventure. With an early morning flight to catch, Teresa would miss out on Intelligentsia Coffee, but another selling point of the hotel is its unbeatable location, steps away from JFK’s Terminal 5 and the AirTrain. Getting to our departure gate was a total breeze and it was much less stressful (or time consuming) than having to navigate from lower Manhattan and Jamaica Station.
Having visited a few cities and stayed in a few hotels, we asked the boys what their favourite hotel was, and although it was fresh in their minds, the TWA Hotel won hands down. With its fabulous design, history, captivating views, stylish bars, and unrivalled location, it is the ultimate experience for families seeking a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It is the ultimate “airport hotel” and is so much more than just a place to stay – it was a magical experience that left a lasting impression on our entire family. It left such an impression on me that on our return to New York (sadly not the TWA) this year, I picked up a stunning David Klein print at the Museum of Modern Art.
If you’re ever in need of a layover spot at JFK or want to create unforgettable memories with your loved ones, I would highly recommend booking a stay at the TWA Hotel. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!