New York's JFK airport is getting a fancy new hotel with a rooftop infinity pool


  • Image via TWA Hotel
Hotels inside airports are nothing new – Orlando International Airport has been home to one for years – but a soon-to-open one at New York's JFK International is bringing new class to the industry.

The TWA Hotel is preparing to open next month after a multi-year remodel of the Eero Saarinen-designed Trans World Airlines Flight Center that has sat abandoned since the famed airline shut down in 2001. Altogether the conversion of the flight center to a hotel has cost an estimated $265 million.

The new hotel is housed in the original National Register of Historic Places landmark, with renovation being overseen by architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle, and adds two new wings, designed by Lubrano Ciavarra Architects. The two new towers hold a combined 512 guest rooms accessible via the famous flight tubes seen in the modern classic film Catch Me If You Can.

  • Image via TWA Hotel
Despite being in the middle of one of the busiest airports in the nation, the rooms will be quiet thanks to four-and-a-half-inch-thick, seven-pane floor-to-ceiling glass walls – the second thickest windows in the world, after the  U.S. Embassy in London designed post-9/11. The rooms are filled with authentic Knoll furnishings that celebrate the mid-century Jet Age. Authenticity is paramount throughout the themed hotel, including in the hotel rooms, where vintage Western Electric 500 rotary phones (retrofitted with pulse to tone converters) will provide unlimited free phone calls for guests.

  • Image via TWA Hotel
Six restaurants and eight bars are spread across the hotel as well. The Pool Bar and Observation Deck has a 63-by-20-foot infinity pool overlooking JFK's Bay Runway (Runway 4 Left/22 Right), North America's second longest commercial runway. The pool has a gold and red TWA logo mosaic and will be open year-round, with a heater that warms the water to 100 degrees in the winter. The 10,000-square-foot observation deck has a pool cocktail bar that can host up to 300 guests at a time.

Just outside the TWA Flight Center and visible through its multi-story windows sits an authentic, fully restored 1958 TWA Lockheed Constellation airplane (N8083H), known as Connie, which will serve as a cocktail lounge and will surely be one of the most photographed locations in the entire hotel.

The Sunken Garden area prior to the remodel. The Paris Cafe space can be seen upstairs in the center of the image. - IMAGE VIA TWA HOTEL
  • Image via TWA Hotel
  • The Sunken Garden area prior to the remodel. The Paris Cafe space can be seen upstairs in the center of the image.
Inside the TWA Flight Center, the Sunken Garden, known as the place where the Beatles were first welcomed when they arrived to the U.S., has been restored, including the signature red carpet and white penny tile.

  • Image via TWA Hotel
Gerber Group has created a cocktail menu which offers an official TWA Martini, an updated version of the Royal Ambassador Cocktail and a classic Old Fashioned. Swizzle sticks celebrate the global destinations of the former TWA like Africa, England and Greece.

Sitting just above the Sunken Garden in the 200,000-square-foot lobby is the Paris Café, in the exact location of the original Paris café and Lisbon Lounge. Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will oversee the restaurant and its menu, which pulls from historic TWA in-flight menus. The Paris Café will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as its own cocktail menu.

Intelligentsia Coffee will be available via the coffee bar and custom-designed mobile carts that will be found throughout the hotel, all operated by Intelligentsia-trained baristas. Single-origin in-season coffees, flash-chilled cold coffee, espresso drinks and Kilogram teas will all be available.

The pre-function space just outside of the Starstream Ballroom - IMAGE VIA TWA HOTEL
  • Image via TWA Hotel
  • The pre-function space just outside of the Starstream Ballroom
An estimated 50,000 square feet of meeting space is spread across the hotel complex including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom with a 7,000-square-foot entrance lounge and six "Skyboxes" overlooking the ballroom, a separate 4,200-square-foot ballroom, and more than three dozen other event rooms.

The authentic details even include staff uniforms, designed by Stan Herman, who oversaw the TWA uniforms in the 1970s.

The hotel will open May 15. Reservations are now available for the lounges and rooms. All room reservations can be made exclusively via Day stays and pets are welcomed. The meeting spaces in the hotel will be available beginning in July.

  • Image via TWA Hotel

Get our top picks for the best events in Orlando every Thursday morning. Sign up for our weekly Events newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.