Making its debut in spring 2019, the new TWA hotel at New York’s JFK airport will embody the charm of the 1960’s Jet Age, with nostalgic interior design and futuristic architecture.
Ambitious designers have repurposed Eero Saarinen’s “masterpiece of expressionist architecture”, the TWA Flight Centre, converting the building into a 512-room hotel with runways views and nostalgic mid-century design in a sweeping, space-age construction. It is an homage to America’s iconic TWA (Trans World Airlines) that operated between 1930 and 2001.
At the forefront of the complex will be the Jetsons-style TWA Flight Centre where all the restaurants, bars and shops will be located, as well as the hotel lobby, which at 200,000 sqft will be one of the most expansive in the world.
To the sides will be two low-rise wings for the guestrooms, and at the front will be a pair of Saarinen flight tubes, connecting to the JetBlue Terminal 5, which were made famous by the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can. Guests and passengers from every terminal will also have access via the AirTrain.
Other highlights of the TWA hotel include a 10,000-square-foot rooftop observation deck with pool, a 10,000-square-foot fitness facility with yoga and spinning studios, and a classic Solari split-flap message board with original mechanical operation manufactured in Udine, Italy.
Most excitingly of all, outside on the tarmac will be Connies’ Starlight Lounge, which will reside in a converted TWA Lockheed Constellation “Connie” aeroplane. Decked out with gold leather banquettes, it’s a jet setter’s dream for cocktails and canapes. Inside, artist Maric Zamparelli has painted murals depicting 25 destinations around the world, from Bangkok to Boston.
Bedrooms, which include 44 suites, have been designed by New York City firm Stonehill Taylor. They feature walnut panelling, Knoll furniture, vintage TWA posters and sound-proof windows that are 4.5-inches thick.
Guests will also have access to personal wet bars that Don Draper would be proud of. The elegant cabinets come stocked with cut crystal glasses, Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut champagne, Hennessy VSOP Privilège Cognac and the official 007 Belvedere Martini with Belvedere Vodka.
Authentic Saarinen Womb chairs, upholstered in red Knoll fabric, sit next to 16-inch round white Saarinen Pedestal tulip side tables where guests can make unlimited free international and local calls on a 1950s Western Electric 500 phone. It’s all very cool.
Meanwhile, terrazzo-tiled bathrooms come with custom Hollywood vanities with bubble lights inspired by Philip Johnson’s ladies’ lounge in New York City’s former Four Seasons restaurant. Glass-enclosed showers sport subway-tiles in white with midnight blue trim.
There will also be very collectable TWA-branded bathing amenities, notepads and pencils.
Among the TWA hotel’s six restaurants and eight bars will be Jean-Georges, a restaurant by French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, which will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and cocktails “at a medium price point”. Inspiration for some of the dishes has been taken from historic TWA in-flight menus that listed things like champagne chicken, short ribs jardiniere and American caviar.
The hotel’s website says that the restaurant encompasses the entire footprint of the terminal’s original Paris Café and Lisbon Lounge, which have been dark since 2001. “The spaces were originally outfitted by famed Parisian industrial designer Raymond Loewy – the mind behind the 1955 Coca-Cola contour bottle, the 1959 TWA twin globes logo, the 1963 Studebaker Avanti and the 1962 Air Force One livery.”
There will also be 50,000 square feet of meeting and event space that can host up to 1,600 people, and a museum devoted to the Jet Age, exhibiting mid-century furniture, TWA uniforms, David Klein destination posters, original in-flight amenities and other TWA memorabilia, much of which has been donated by former TWA employees.