Sharon and I spent two nights at the TWA Hotel. We split our stay between two rooms so we had the opportunity to see the differences between the views. You can check out our reviews of the rooms at the TWA Hotel in this post.
However, there’s much more to the hotel than the rooms. While I loved our stay with a well designed, high-end design, the real star of the location is the historic TWA Terminal. The owners obviously realized this with the Paris Cafe located in the main building. For those looking for more nostalgia, there’s the Connie located just outside that’s home to a swanky cocktail bar. If you’re more into plane spotting, there’s no better place than the pool deck/bar on top of the Hughes Wing of the hotel.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll get when visiting the hotel.
The Paris Cafe is the Jean-Georges led dining establishment located in the main TWA Hotel terminal building. Located on the second level, the restaurant has a view of the rooms in the wing building, which can be interesting if people staying in those rooms aren’t careful.
Reservations at the restaurant are recommended as even if the hotel isn’t busy, this is really the only place to eat on-site for dinner. There are pros and cons when staying on airport property, and the lack of dining options is one of them.
Fortunately, the food at the Paris Cafe is worthy of the location, even if you’re going to pay the price accordingly. We’ve never been able to eat at the restaurant because we aren’t the type to make reservations. We’ve been able to eat at the adjoining Libson Lounge, which has the same menu as the restaurant and is first come-first served. We’ve been seated at the bar and at the nearby tables and received excellent service.
They make a killer hamburger, even if it is a little unwieldy. The fries are also on point.
Rooftop Pool and Bar
On top of the Hughes Wing building, there’s a rooftop infinity pool and bar. In the summer, this can be quite the scene and they take reservations just to be able to access the area.
We stayed at the hotel in December. Now, we read that the hotel heats the pool in the winter and it becomes a rooftop hot tub. While this interested us, we weren’t ready to bring our swimsuits with us. We headed up one night to check it out. There was a security guard there to check our hotel IDs and we were allowed onto the roof.
The pool definitely was heated, as it had the steam coming off of the top to prove it.
The views from the deck were stunning and I can see how spending a summer evening up here watching the planes can be a great way to spend some time.
I asked the security guard if the bar opened during the day and he said that it’s wasn’t open because of the weather and wind. If they’d try to stock it with bar napkins, they’d fly all over the place. That’s fair, and there wasn’t a line of people waiting to sit in the pool chairs in the 40-degree weather.
The Connie is a 1958 Lockheed Constellation aircraft which has been turned into a retro cocktail lounge.
After climbing the staircase, you enter the aircraft. The lighting sets the mood and the vibe is perfect.
Seats are lining the wall near the entrance and towards the rear of the plane are airplane seats.
Who cares if the seats aren’t all that comfortable. It’s the experience you’re here for. Bonus points if you know how to call the phone number LE2-7100 (It’s not a real number, we tried).
One of the most iconic things about the TWA Hotel is the tunnels connecting the terminal building with the current T5 at JFK (Note from Sharon: Do you see what I see?).
The tunnel that connects the TWA Hotel to the Hughes Wing to T5 is the one that most people go through. However, there are two tunnels and the one connecting the Saarinen Wing leads to a hidden gem of the hotel.
When you get to the end of the tunnel, you’re suddenly in a 1960s era living room. Go ahead, sit on the couch. Check out the records and board games. Very little in the room is bolted down.
Polaroid cameras, Popular Science magazines, pennants, and James Bond. What else do you need?
One of the things we found the funniest was the vintage clothing they had for you to try on. Part of me really wanted to take that jacket home.
On the other side of the hallway was a replica of Eero Saarinen’s office.
The TWA Hotel has a fantastic gym on the lower level. The 10,000 square foot area is the world’s biggest hotel gym. Admission is free for hotel guests, but you can also buy a day pass for $25 or membership for $60 a month.
The gym is huge and stocked with all types of fitness equipment. No matter if you’re hooked on your Peloton, need to get zen with some yoga, want to swing a kettlebell, love to lift heavy or work on your rowing for CrossFit, or just want to work on your cardio, they have you covered.
This was a better gym than the one I pay for at home (that I never go to) and it was a whole lot less crowded than my gym as well.
While the TWA Hotel had its problems when it opened, it seems to have found its footing after several months. The restaurant was packed every night we were there and the bars and lounges were busy until the wee hours. The gym is a bit of an oddity as it seems it’s way too large to be supported by hotel guests alone.
The rooftop pool and bar were stylish and I’m sure it will be crowded in the summer. Even having a hot tub in the winter wasn’t tempting enough for me to take a dip in December.
We had the best time just goofing around in the 1960s living room looking at the magazines and playing with the Etch-A-Sketch.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary