Staycation at the TWA Hotel
With all of the hullabaloo about air travel these days, it’s a good thing that JFK has a nice little trick up its sleeve - the 60’s fantasyland of the TWA Hotel. Luckily I was not visiting in the context of a delayed or cancelled flight. Instead, this was a good old fashioned staycation. We took the E train all the way to Howard Beach and then walked a hop and a skip to the Airtrain. I have to admit it felt weird and a bit exciting to be heading to the airport with only a night’s worth of clothes and no travel on the docket--just to check out the throwback hotel. For families seeking a mini-adventure, we definitely recommend this!
As you make your way over, they put you right in the mood, as along the pathway, the song Up, Up and Away by The 5th Dimension is softly bringing you back in time. In front of the hotel some period cars are stragetically parked - models that hail from the TWA Terminal’s heyday, ranging from Caddy Convertibles to a DeLorean. Walking in is such a trip. The curvy lines of Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen greet you, everything is in white and red, and an old fashioned Solari board of sorts (those electromechanical displays that tell when the next flight/train is) is front and center. It rotates pleasant suggestions like go to the pool or go roller skating. Or just sip a Tab – or not. The hotel salutes the sixties soda icon, with exhibitions, but sadly it’s Diet Coke instead (it’s OK! I like the pop culture-ness of TAB better than the drink itself). The sunken lounge is the go-to with views of the tarmac including the roller skaters . There's also Connie the cocktail-bar plane, and (as was announced today-not there when we visited) the NEW Bumper Cars. (AWESOME!)
Obviously this is a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is ready to have fun!
We stayed in the Howard Hughes wing- and let me just say anyone who is on Instagram will drool over the great red and white backdrop the hallways provide. The room (runway view a must!) was cute, with vintage travel posters on the wall as well as an iconic black corded telephone (also an insta moment).
We couldn’t resist taking a few minutes to watch the planes come and go before we got into our bathing suits to enjoy the rooftop pool. The pool is quite a thing: All pool-goers queue up and wait for the doors to open where they all race to claim a lounge chair.
There’s also a rooftop bar in case you get parched, with a nifty little rum number called the Flotation Device for the parents, and a Lemonade for the kids.The pool was reportedly inspired by the infinity pool at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the south of France—excellent inspiration we must say! It looks over the Bay Runway—which is 14,511 feet long (nearly 3 miles!)--amd moonlights as the backup landing strip for NASA’s Space Shuttle. Pool access must be purchased separately from the room, but I’d definitely recommend it. Laying back on a chaise or floating at the water’s edge, as the Jet Blue, Fed Ex,Delta and Emirates (and all of those other non-TWA planes are going in and out of the terminal), you can take a deep breath of relaxation that you are in no rush and just can enjoy the wonder of flight. It was a bit cloudy on our day, but no matter--that didn't stop the planes, nor our fun!
After a swim, dinner was served at the Paris Café – a Jean George restaurant – a restaurant both retro and cool, with an elevated American menu. Think burgers and pizza, salmon sushi (delish) and Beef Tenderloin. Something for everyone. If I had anything negative to say about the whole escapade, it was this: the people. Myself included. Too modern! I wanted to see bellbottoms and striped work shirts, gogo boots and mini skirts. If only guests were required to dress code in MOD. Next time, at least I'll do my part!
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