Good news, travel buffs, New Yorkers and history and architecture nerds alike: You won’t have to wait until this time next year to see what rooms inside the forthcoming TWA Hotel at JFK Airport will look like.
Developer MCR on Tuesday unveiled a model of one of the 512 guest rooms in the hotel that’s slated to open in spring of 2019 and will restore Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Flight Center that opened in 1962.
“We’re turning this spectacular building into the greatest hotel in the world,” said Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR and Morse Development. “1962 was an extraordinary year. We’re bringing back the ethos of 1962 with everything that we do here. You’re going to feel like you’re in 1962 again, when traveling was very special.”
The rooms at the TWA Hotel are designed by city-based firm Stonehill Taylor and inspired by that midcentury era. They will feature authentic Knoll furnishings (including Saarinen’s iconic Womb Chair), rotary dial phones complete with today’s technology and, quite fittingly, a glamorous martini bar. Rooms also come with bird’s-eye views of the TWA Flight Center or JFK’s busy runways, which can be seen right from your bed but not heard thanks to the hotel’s seven-layer soundproof glass façade.
“It’s going to be the quietest hotel room you’ve ever stayed in,” Morse promised. “It’s the second-thickest curtain wall ever manufactured. The first is in the new U.S. Embassy in London.”
Powered by the past — and itself
Back in the TWA Flight Center, whose former baggage claim will serve as the lobby for the TWA Hotel, guests and non-guests can visit restored versions of Saarinen’s original sunken lounge, Ambassador’s Club, Paris Café and Lisbon Lounge and see the terminal’s clicking Solari boards, which are currently being replicated in Italy.
Design on the TWA Flight Center began in 1956, when Morse said “the best aircraft on the street was the Lockheed Constellation; it fit 45 people and went 300 mph.” But by the time the terminal opened six years later, it was already obsolete thanks to the newer and much-bigger Boeing 707 jets.
But the Constellation wasn’t lost to history because the TWA Hotel will also have an on-site 1956 Connie, as it’s known, that is currently being transformed into a bar and restaurant. Kids (hopefully of all ages) will even be able to play in the cockpit of the Connie, which “will look like it’s parked out front,” Morse said.
The TWA Hotel — which will have its own power plant to be “totally off the grid,” Morse said — will be accessible from JFK’s Terminal 5 via the tube tunnel made famous in 2002’s “Catch Me If You Can,” in the scene where Tom Hanks catches Leonardo DiCaprio.
The property will boast six restaurants, eight bars, a rooftop pool deck and open-to-the-public observation decks where visitors can watch planes take off and land or look back at Saarinen’s iconic terminal.
Plus, the TWA Hotel will also feature high-end retailers, a Jet Age focused museum featuring vintage TWA uniforms and memorabilia and a 50,000-square-foot conference center.