We completed our NYC trip with a stay at the TWA Hotel ahead of our early morning departure from JFK. Morse has repurposed the 1962 TWA terminal and turned it into a hotel complete with a restaurant, a small food court, a couple lounges, pool, and tons of historical displays. Plus more midcentury eye candy than any airport hotel I know of.
We arrived in mid-afternoon, plenty of time to wander around and look at the displays. There’s really a lot of cool stuff here, with historical background on the terminal and several set pieces that you can explore. We enjoyed the Blue Christmas display. Music inside was a mix of 60s favorites and vintage holiday songs.
The hotel buildings are brand new and well appointed. Plenty of vintage style touches and a very nice bed and bathroom. The desk behind the bed in our room was a cool touch. And you can’t beat these huge windows that overlook the hotel or the runways.
The pool was on the roof of our wing and the pool bar is enclosed for the winter with a Swiss Chalet theme. The bar serves food and airplane-related cocktails. I had the Paper Plane.
The hotel connects to Terminal 7 (Jet Blue) at JFK and is obviously handy for flights in or out. But I think locals would have a blast spending an afternoon here and doing dinner and drinks. Or just check out the hotel during a layover. Either way, every midcentury fan needs to visit the TWA Hotel.
Paris Café at TWA Hotel
The Paris Café by Jean-Georges serves upscale breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hotel wasn’t too crowded on our visit so we rolled in and had a great dinner. I absolutely loved my Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast.
We had an interesting experience with the cocktails. There’s a Black Mission Fig Colada on the menu, featuring rum, Velvet Falernum, fig, toasted coconut, and lemon, so this is right up Mrs. Mai Tai’s alley. But when she ordered it the server said she didn’t recommend it because customers don’t like it. We said we’d take the chance, but once it was served we found that the “colada” was served up and had a weak but unpleasant taste. It was really terrible.
Our server replaced the drink and the Pomegranate Storm was much better. Lesson? Listen to your server! My Concord Whiskey Sour was pretty good, featuring grapes as a garnish.
The Paris Café is located on the second level up a flight of stairs and give a great view of the main terminal/lobby area as well as the surrounding grounds and hotel wing.
We went down to the Food Hall for desert. This is a sort of food court and features booths from some local businesses, plus seating. Just steps away from the Sunken Lounge seating area that’s also a cool place to hang out. A nice option if you’re looking for something quick.
Connie Cocktail Lounge at TWA Hotel
A key feature of the TWA Hotel is a vintage 1958 Lockheed Constellation “Connie” airplane turned into a cocktail lounge. The Connie was an important airplane in the the transition to jet-powered airplanes, and was even used as Air Force One for President Eisenhower. It was the first pressurized-cabin civil airliner series to go into widespread use and the TWA terminal was built with this airplane in mind.
Sadly, by the time the TWA Terminal was completed in 1962, the airplane was nearly obsolete. This particular aircraft was repurposed as an Alaskan bush plane and later used by drug runners before being restored for the hotel.
The entire aircraft is now a lounge and you can order airplane-related cocktails in the back. Aside from the Paper Plane, each cocktail is a renamed version of classic. I enjoyed the “Eero Dynamics” (Whiskey Sour) and Mrs. Mai Tai enjoyed the “Control Tower Sour” with Amaretto. I also tried the “Mile-High Margarita” but asked to sub rum for the Tequila.
Because there are no overhead storage bins, there’s plenty of headroom and the music inside is all vintage era-appropriate. There are a few TWA-branded snack packs available for purchase as well. Connie is open from 4 pm to 10:30 pm every day.
I know that people can order drinks on real airplanes, but this lounge is still totally a hoot. After several days walking around Manhattan, relaxing with drinks was the perfect transition for the flight back home.