A to Z, The US Version, Bucket List, Flying, Travel

Up, Up and Away to the TWA Hotel

When I heard about the TWA Hotel and JFK Airport my first thought was, “How soon can I get there?” It took almost a year, but I can tick the mid-century modern mecca off my bucket list.

Not that I need an excuse to go somewhere special, but as Greg’s birthday approached, I wanted something that spoke to our mutual love of aviation, felt a little “splurgy” and would make it a birthday to remember. The TWA Hotel ticked every item on my list and exceeded my hopes.

Classic architecture was saved to create on on-airport property hotel.

We arrived in the darkness of a cold winter evening in New York City. The ride from terminal 8 to terminal 5 was super easy on the Air Train. Signs along the way made it almost impossible to miss a turn. 

Soaring heights, floor to ceiling windows, even a sunken lounge.

The hotel is the original TWA Terminal which has been painstakingly restored. The Eero Saarinen design still sends a weary traveler’s mind into the sky with its wing styling. The lobby soars and welcomes in a style that harkens back to days gone by.

The kiosk offered an upgrade … we declined the offer.

Every detail was perfect! We checked in with a modern twist on the kiosk machines lining the counter that once housed check-in for passengers. 

I expected to see a 60s-era stewardess with her handbag on her arm.

From there it was a stroll halfway down the classic red carpet-lined tube that led to the elevator.

The elevator floor sparkled with a gold logo.

Even the floor of the elevator was branded in classic TWA styling.

This glamorous hallway led to our room.

The hall to our room swept elegantly past wooden doors accented with gold trim, little shelves and period light fixtures.

Happy birthday from the TWA Hotel

I’d checked with the hotel before the trip to see if there was anything special I could arrange for Greg’s birthday. While COVID restrictions meant no cake or champagne, the hotel generously left a gift bag and “Happy Birthday” note that welcomed us to our runway-view suite.

Photos decorate the walls near the photo booth.

We dropped our things and headed out to explore. The hotel features several exhibits that bring the 60s to life. There was a working photo booth (although the emailed pics still have not shown up in my inbox)…

I half expected my mom to yell at me to clean my room.

A living room that took me back to my youth. It was there we ran into a foursome from the city who had come to take a Christmas card photo with a polaroid camera!

A Polaroid captured the moment in throw-back style.

We snapped a pic for them and they offered us one in return.

At one time he actually wanted to be an architect. I can picture that.

Eero Saarinen’s office is recreated for guests to poke around in. The drawers of his cabinet opened to reveal blueprints of the hotel.

Howard Hughes’ desk featured the mid-century essential ashtray. Photo courtesy: The TWA Hotel

Howard Hughes, who owned TWA, had an office nearby. It, too, is recreated with all the little details you’d expect, including a really big ashtray!

Uniforms from every era were perfectly preserved and displayed. Photo courtesy: The TWA Hotel

Up one of the sweeping staircases off the lobby you can walk past the history of TWA stewardess (now flight attendants) uniforms designed by the likes of Stan Herman, Oleg Cassini and Ralph Lauren.

Twister anyone?

It seemed everywhere we turned we spotted something that made us stop and stare.

The drinks at the Chalet came with complementary TWA wings.

The rooftop “Runway Chalet” lounge offered drinks and bar bites in a setting that had me searching for my lift pass and ski boots. Teo, our waiter, snapped a pic as we warmed ourselves by the fireplace (OK, not really, it was fake, but oh so very perfect for the setting). 

Dinner was delicious.

Dinner in the Paris Cafe dazzled our taste buds with smoked-chili rigatoni and crunchy fish tacos washed down with a fun and tasty bottle of Chianti.

Despite being within feet of an active runway, there was NO noise … but plenty of things to see.

It was hard to head back to our room, but once there we sat in the dark watching jumbo jets headed to international destinations take to the night sky. After a blissful night’s sleep in the shockingly comfortable bed, I awoke to that runway view just beyond Greg as he dozed next to me. 

“The Connie” is closed due to COVID-19.

We’re already trying to figure out when and how to go back. There were a few things closed due to COVID-19 that we must go back to see … like the Lockheed Constellation parked outside that has been converted to a bar. We missed at least one display. The TWA shop was closed. A return trip seems necessary!

There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Splurge a little and explore something on your bucket list.

© The World A to Z, LLC 2020 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.

1 thought on “Up, Up and Away to the TWA Hotel”

  1. OMG I’m plotting an International trip just so I can have an outgoing stop over at this magical piece of history!
    I will do this, thanks Judy (and Greg) for sharing your adventure 🥰

    Like

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