One of the hotels we were anticipating the most to stay in this year was the newly opened TWA Hotel at JFK Airport. We were so excited that we actually booked our stay for December on the first day the hotel was taking reservations, back in February. That was a long time to wait and there have plenty of other blog writers and reviewers that have stayed there since the opening. I was hoping that in the six+ months after the opening, the hotel would have their footing and we’d get a good idea of what guests could expect from here on out if they stayed there.
We spent two nights there (along with us checking out the public spaces during my off time during my work trip to New York in the fall) and switched rooms during the stay to see what differences there are in the room types.
So how was staying at the hotel?
One Idlewild Drive
New York, New York 11430-1962
The TWA Hotel is located just outside Terminal 5 (JetBlue and others). If you’re flying into T5, getting to the hotel is a snap. Head down to baggage claim and follow the signs (they’re everywhere!). You’ll eventually end up at this elevator.
You step off the elevator into the iconic “Tunnel” which leads to the main area of the terminal building.
The terminal is where you’ll find the check-in desks, bars, restaurants and shops.
There’s decent signage directing you to the check-in desks. If you have luggage, there are ramps available around the backs of the counters so you don’t have to take the stairs.
If you’re arriving from any other terminal than T5, you’re most likely to take the Air Train. This will drop you off across the street from the hotel.
There are signs directing you to an elevator which will take you to ground level.
From there, it’s a short walk (maybe 5-7 minutes) across the street to the hotel. In December, during the day, when the weather was OK, we took the walk outside but it’s also possible to walk from the AirTrain to Terminal 5 through the tunnel, back into T5, down to baggage claim, up the elevator to the TWA Hotel and stay totally inside.
The check-in process at the hotel looks like an airline counter. There are several self-service check-in kiosks but there are people there to check you in as well. I chose to be helped by a person since we were splitting the stay over two reservations in different room types.
Showing up right around our planned check-in time, our room was ready. We were directed to the elevators for the Hughes Wing and our room on the seventh floor.
Room 1 – Deluxe King With Historic TWA View
While the terminal area exudes a very retro 60s vibe, the wing buildings ooze business, It’s like walking into an episode of Mad Men. It starts with the elevator lobby with all the marble and chrome and the TWA logo on the floor
Once getting to the floor, we took the short walk to the room. All of the hallways have a slight, constant curve to them.
Once inside, the room looked wonderful.
There was a full-size king bed facing the floor-to-ceiling windows.
Speaking of the windows, how’s that for a view:
Good thing we know that since we have a great view out, others could have as great of a view into our room, if we weren’t careful.
There’s no true “desk” in the room as the back of the bed is used for that purpose. The only problem was there’s only one chair. Honestly, I don’t think two chairs would fit as how would the first person in, manage to get out.
The entry hall had some closets on the left as you walked in, along with the mini-bar. To the right was the bathroom.
The bathroom was very modern and well designed.
By the way, the tiny trash can next to the toilet is the only trash can in the entire hotel room.
The shower was a good size and drained well. They did use bulk toiletries but I checked and the locks were engaged. They did have some bar soap so I used that in the shower,
The sink and vanity area had plenty of room for our toiletries. The makeup lights made me feel like I was getting ready to go for a photo-shoot every morning.
Finally, there’s the star of the room. The view. Looking out over the iconic TWA terminal from your bed didn’t suck.
Even more important than the view, was the ability to close the view. There’s a switch on the wall, behind the lamps to the left, that brings down the blackout shades.
Between these shades and the noise-prevention windows, we were able to take a nap the afternoon we arrived and slept for over an hour with no distractions.
Room 2 – Deluxe Room With Runway View
For our second night, we were switching to a room with a runway view. We headed down to the front desk around 10:30 AM with our luggage. We were told they would hold our bags until our new room was ready.
Fortunately, when we arrived, the desk agent told us that they had a runway room ready and we could go there right away to leave our bags. Score!
Our room would again be in the Hughes Wing, just one floor above our other room and almost exactly across the hall.
As we walked into the room, our initial thought was “At least we don’t have to take many pictures of the room.” In fact, it was almost a carbon copy of the room we just left. Well, there was one difference. Our view was a bit different. Most of the left side of our view was of the JetBlue Departing Flights area.
As we looked to the right, that’s where things got good. We also got a good shot at the side of Terminal 4 where the large planes park, including the Singapore A380 we’d be getting on the next day. Farther away, we had a clear view of the taxiway and runway.
Now I’m not a plane geek to the point I can tell the model of the plane by looking at it (except for some of the bigger ones). However, I am the type of person who will stare endlessly out of a hotel window watching planes while sitting on a bed instead of getting any work done.
The TWA Hotel is stunningly beautiful. The public areas are a flashback to the past while the rooms are totally modern while still capturing the spirit of the time. With either the TWA building or a runway view as your scenery, we never bothered to turn on the TV.
I’ll be going over more about what I thought of about our stay here when I go over the hotel amenities and the pros and cons of staying here – there are several of each.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary