Friday, 17 June 2022

A Look At New York's John Frank Kennedy's TWA Hotel

 Welcome to my blog post on TWA Hotel based in New York (JFK)


I didn't spend the night at the hotel as the rates were too high for my liking, way over my budget that I set aside for hotels. So for one of the evenings, I spent the night at the airport's cafetaria waiting to connect to my next flight to Boston. I had a good time chatting with a couple of travellers who also have flights the following morning. For a hotel review, you can check out this blog post by One mile at a time.

To make bookings with the hotel, click here.

History of the TWA Hotel 

TWA hotel is located at the former site of TWA Flight Center, connected to terminal 5 of New York John Frank Kennedy (JFK) Airport and was opened on 15 May 2019. In addition to the former flight centre building, 2 buildings were built on either side to contain a total of 512 rooms, as well as conference space, several restaurants and an aviation history museum based on the former airline which was bought over by American Airlines in 2001 and it's last flight took place in December of the same year. The 2001 attack in the U.S put the final nail to the coffin of this airline. 

After American Airlines bought over TWA, many of the TWA staff were forced to retrench and also aircraft being sold and aircraft order being cancelled. American Airlines had to do that as the 2001 Attack had cause a significant amount of damage to the aviation economy. 

The original TWA Flight centre was closed in 2001 but fortunately the building was protected from demolition. It became a designated landmark in 1994. This building became largely unused until the presence of Jetblue which somehow help in one way or another to include this building as part of terminal 5 expansion. In April 2015, Jetblue and its hotel developer partner negotiated to turn this building into a hotel and 3 months later, the dream became a reality. The launch of the new hotel took place in December 2016 and the rest becomes history. 

As for the Lockheed Constellation L-1649 aircraft, N8083H was restored and painted in 1950's TWA livery to be used as a cocktail lounge, parked just outside of the TWA hotel. This aircraft first flew with the airline in May 1958 and is older than most of us. Fortunately for her, she get to be displayed at the hotel site for many years to come. 

Daytime photos of the terminal

The TWA hotel looks stunning no matter where you are looking it at. 


This is how the Flight Centre looks like in the 60/70s. Photos by Eero Saarinen




Photo below by Katie Canales (Business Insider)


The ambience of the interor with the music of the 60s, gives you a nostagic feeling in the past. Even though, I wasn't born back then, I felt myself being part of the 60s while walking around the place, absorbing the atmosphere. This is my perfect place to sit back and relax. 


They have a couple of exhibits shown below show you how 60s is like without the modern gadgets. 



A mock-up model of the building. 


Since this is a hotel now, there are lesser traveller around, making it a pleasure to walk around, checking out the exhibits. The wonderful classical music is played the whole day, in fact, 24/7 and that gave me at the wonderful feeling of the 60s. Although the list of music played is limited, I enjoyed listening to most of them. 




The view of the departure information board and the L-1069 Constellation plane makes you feel nostagia. 


Photo taken from outside terminal 5





Night time photos of the hotel 

To get to TWA hotel, follow the signs leading you to the lift below. As long as you are in terminal 5, you will have no issue getting there. 



At the entrance of the bridge, the music from the 60s flows into your ears. 


Memories of the airline is shown at some of the exhibits. 




The uniforms in the 1960s. 




TWA baggage vehicle 


The cafetaria which offers snacks and drinks at a moderate price. Do note the cost of the alcoholic beverages is expensive. 


The U.S flag is displayed on the departure board. 


Nice resting area 




TWA Hobby shop 







The 1960 retro car on display 


I went to the check-in counter to check the prices of a room, but I was so put off with it. If you intend to to book, do book in advance on the website. 


More uniforms to check out 









Remember the public phones? This was a common sight back then before the existence of cell phones.



The exterior of the hotel 


The classic vehicles of the 60s



The magnificent looking Lockheed L-1649 aircraft 







Interior of the cockpit (I didn't go in, so here is a photo of the interior, photographed by Picasa)


The Pool Bar (Photo by TWA Hotel) 

There are charges to use the pool and depending on the season for hotel guests. For more information, click here.




As I made my way out of TWA Hotel, I photographed this before leaving.


I can imagine the spectacular view some of the rooms get. Will I try out the hotel room one day? Maybe when I drop by JFK next time. 


Even the back view of the Lockheed looks nice. 


Some photos of the TWA's jet fleet in the 1960s 

TWA's L-1649 which was later replaced by the Boeing 707 (Photo: Ames Imaging Library System)


TWA's Boeing 707 (TWA airline)


Boeing 727 (Photo by Erik Simonson)


It was one of the top airlines in the world in the 1967-72 period, the 3rd largest airline in the world, behind Aeroflot and United. Unfortuntately after the crash of TWA 800, the airline struggled financially and the 
911 attack was the last straw and was sold to American Airlines end of 2001.

I would give this a rating of 4.5 Stars out of 5 in terms of the overall design of the hotel (excluding the rooms). I will do a review of the room if I ever stay there in the near future.

My thoughts  

Since it has 512 rooms and its unlikely that all the rooms are occupied through out the year, how about offering some good deals for travellers, perhaps take away some of the previlages for lower deals similarly to the pricing of air tickets (Basic Economy, Standard Economy and Economy Flexible). I would hope to see the hotel allowing travellers to book hourly stay for night time as well at a more reasonable rate, as it will be more worth it for those arriving late and have to depart early in the morning. I arrived at JFK around 10 in the evening and supposed to depart at 7 am, so I need to be at the air side by 6 am. From 11 to 6, that would be 7 hours and I didn't want to pay $500 to use the room for that limted number of hours, it's too expensive. Better for the rooms to be occupied then to leave them empty. Few reasons that I can think of why this can't happen is because of the lack of staff to clean them up in the morning and then prepare for the incoming guests? Who knows. 

Personally if you are going to pay such high prices, the usage of the facilities should be free especially the the swimming pool. I don't understand why are the hotel guests being charged for using the pool. 

Anyway, I had a great time exploring the TWA hotel. It brings back memories of the airline when they were still around. 

Thanks for reading! 
Charles

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