Now boarding for 1962: A night at the retro TWA Hotel
For more about this hotel and my stay, check out Fly me to the moon: A night at the retro-masterpiece TWA Hotel.
Stepping inside is like stepping back in time. The staff even wears uniforms designed by Stan Herman, who designed TWA uniforms in the '70s.
Checking in at the hotel is like more like checking in for a flight: you use touchscreens.
The split-flap departures and arrivals board updates throughout the day, featuring airlines and destinations of the era. Many older airlines have their old logos, too.
It's a hotel lobby, but it's also an airport lounge. Anyone flying out of the new Terminal 5, or JFK airport at all, can relax here and get food and a drink before checking in for their flight.
Lounge and lobby
If someone has a long layover, they can even rent a room for an afternoon to freshen up between flights. I needed to stay overnight in New York anyway, so I booked a room for the night.
Twistin' the night away
Believe it or not, I saw some people actually playing Twister a few hours after I took this picture.
The upstairs of one side of the main hall is a restaurant, the other has a display of original uniforms and more seating to relax before your flight... or before you go back to your room.
A double rarity: a pay phone -- and a rotary one at that. They work!
Under the tunnel
To get to the cool bar and "runway", you have to pass under the tunnel that connects to the modern Terminal 5.
Yes, you can sit on the baggage tractor.
This Constellation is technically an L-1649 Starliner, the last iteration of the type. It first flew in 1958 and spent its first two years with TWA.
Fully restored and parked behind the hotel, the aircraft has a slightly different use today...
...As a bar! Well, cocktail lounge. Partake of some predinner or preflight drinks and snacks, served by waitstaff dressed as flight attendants.
Amusingly, the plane still seems to be resting on its shocks, as you can feel it move slightly as people walk around. I don't think most people would notice.
Ready to fly
The Connie isn't flying anywhere, but look at the attention to detail taken for its restoration. The cockpit, which you sadly can't enter, is in fantastic shape.
I kinda want these seats in my house.
The gorgeous main building is really just the lobby. There are two buildings behind where all the rooms are. I'm standing on one, and the other is on the opposite side of the main hall.
Not many pools look down onto airport tarmac and taxiways. It's fairly loud and windy, but the water is well heated.
Two tunnels branch off from the main building. One connects to the current Terminal 5. Both get you to the rooms. I was in the Hughes wing. The other is called the Saarinen wing.
It's certainly modern, but with a bit of style from the past.
For a king
I splurged, as it was my last night after four months of travel. I got a king-size bed that overlooked the tarmac and runway. The woodwork was done by 200 Amish craftsmen.
Do I have to leave?
The thick windows kept the room quiet, and there are motorized blackout curtains that descend from the ceiling. Note the midcentury modern furniture. Another nice touch? The rotary phone by the window.
Yes, TV remotes existed in 1963, but I still like the juxtaposition. The TV this remote controls was a 65-inch UHD LCD, which definitely didn't exist in 1963.
The airport starts to settle in for the night, but I'm not ready just yet.
After relaxing in my room for a bit, I decided to explore some more and get some dinner.
In addition to a full restaurant, there were some smaller eateries next to this 1966 Chrysler Newport.
The TWA Hotel opened in May, 2019.
For a weekday night, the bars and public areas of the hotel seemed fairly busy.
One of many
The Constellation was one of the many aircraft designed, or at least assisted by, the legendary Kelly Johnson. Others included the P-38, F-80, U-2, F-104, F-117, SR-71 and more.
A quiet hotel lobby, with the occasional clack-clack-clack of the departures board.
At night, with Lincoln
You can sit in the Lincoln Continental, too.
Blue lights on the runway
The airport sleeps, and so do I.
I don't want to leave.
Trans World Airlines
The TWA Hotel is a magical place that's like stepping back in time. I want to redo my house with midcentury modern furniture. Wish I could stay longer, but I have a flight to catch -- at a completely different airport.
For more about my stay, and the history of the hotel and terminal, check out Fly me to the moon: A night at the retro-masterpiece TWA Hotel.