Evaluation: TWA Resort at JFK

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Bear in mind when air journey was glamorous? Me neither.

However the brand new TWA Resort at New York’s John F. Kennedy Worldwide Airport does a spectacular job of bringing the golden age of flying again to life. It’s the “Mad Males” of airport motels: positive to present you a way of nostalgia for a long-lost period, no matter whether or not you really lived by means of it.

Regardless of a couple of small points, similar to restricted in-room space for storing and a particularly windy tarmac-side bar, the TWA Resort is likely one of the most tasty boutique resort experiences on the earth. Even should you don’t keep the evening in a room, it is best to swing by means of the spacious, lovely foyer throughout your subsequent JFK layover.

Background

The resort foyer is located within the outdated Trans World Flight Middle terminal at JFK, instantly throughout from the fashionable Terminal 5. The terminal was designed by Eero Saarinen, architect of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The constructing bears his sweeping, nonlinear model.

The constructing served because the terminal for Trans World Airways from its development in 1962 by means of TWA’s acquisition by American Airways in 2001. Beginning in 2015, JetBlue started a partnership with a developer to reopen the terminal as a resort.

The resort opened in Could 2019 to blended critiques due to a slew of kinks on opening day — lots of which appear to have been resolved by my keep in early July.

Reserving

I discovered myself with barely lower than 24 hours in New York between a visit again from Iceland and on to Seattle in early July. I’d been dreading the schlep backwards and forwards from JFK earlier than I heard the brand new resort had opened. I leapt on the alternative to each keep away from some annoying prepare rides and fulfill my internal aviation nerd.

The resort is just not part of any main resort model, so award bookings had been out of the query. I figured I’d use it as a chance to check out my new resort “loyalty program” — combining my Capital One® Enterprise® Rewards Credit score Card with the Inns.com rewards program. Sadly, the resort wasn’t listed on Inns.com. So I settled for reserving instantly by means of the resort with my Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earns me three factors per $1 spent on journey. My whole got here to $243 for a single weekday evening, yielding 729 Chase Final Rewards® factors. I handed on a room with a direct runway view, which sounded cool however not value an additional $80.

» Be taught extra: Chase Sapphire Reserve®: A primary-class premium journey card

Transportation and check-In

We arrived from our Reykjavik flight into Terminal four and will see the TWA Resort’s distinctive swoops as we taxied to the gate. We took the free AirTrain one cease to Terminal 5 and navigated to the out-of-the-way branded elevator. I used to be, let’s say, a bit excited to see the TWA brand again in motion.

Earlier than reaching the terminal itself, we encountered a duplicate of former TWA proprietor Howard Hughes’s workplace, together with pleasant particulars like faux booze and ice within the lowball glass.

I had anticipated a typical boutique-y resort with a couple of nods to classic aviation. It was rapidly turning into clear that these expectations had been far too low.

Following a tube-like walkway introduced us into the large, vibrant foyer.

I had been within the terminal a few times when it was in operation with JetBlue, however on the time it was filled with ad-hoc safety checkpoints, TV screens and different trendy junk. The terminal restored to its unique class is outstanding. There’s hardly a proper angle within the joint.

Two workers in classic TWA uniforms had been managing the welcome desk, which largely concerned posing for photographs. Certainly, the entire place felt like a sort of upscale theme park for aviation nerds.

Examine-in was dealt with at a kiosk backed by human helpers. It was surprisingly easy — my room keys had been in hand inside a minute or so.

» Be taught extra: Learn how to survive a protracted layover

The room

The rooms are break up between two adjoining buildings: the Saarinen Wing and the Hughes Wing. Our room was on the seventh flooring of the Saarinen Wing.

The room itself was small by airport resort requirements, however giant by New York Metropolis requirements. It appeared out over an unappealing visitors ramp, however I had opted for the cheaper choice.

My solely main gripe got here after I tried to unpack my luggage and located that the room had completely no storage — no closet or perhaps a chest of drawers. My suitcase’s contents had been quickly strewn throughout the small room, which ruined the stylish trendy minimalist factor it had going.

My urge for food for the outdated TWA brand was rapidly glad. All the things was branded — and I imply all the pieces. The robes, pencils, cleaning soap, coasters, Sharpies and notepads all bore the brand. It felt extra enjoyable than garish to me, however then once more, I do love that brand.

The room included good classic touches, like a small bar straight out of Don Draper’s workplace and a working rotary cellphone.

Probably the most superb function in regards to the room can’t be pictured: It was amazingly quiet due to four.5-inch-thick soundproof glass. Between that and the blackout curtains, I used to be capable of make amends for the remaining that Iceland’s 22 hours of daylight had denied me.

Facilities

The resort options a couple of eating choices, together with a rooftop bar, a French cafe and a considerably unappealing meals courtroom. The standout star, nevertheless, is “Connie,” a transformed Lockheed L-1649A propeller airplane that has been transformed right into a cocktail bar.

We would have liked reservations to get in after 6 p.m., however that was straightforward to do on the resort web site.

I’m working out of superlatives to explain how a lot I loved the cautious design all through the resort, so I’ll simply say I preferred the bar/airplane’s inside lots.

The resort additionally boasts a surprisingly giant and complete health middle, in addition to a rooftop pool overlooking the runway.

It was extremely windy on the roof, making it nearly inconceivable to eat there. The bartenders mentioned the wind was typical, in order that’s a significant draw back to this in any other case enjoyable and distinctive pool expertise. The next, wind-blocking Plexiglas window would go a good distance.

For me, the perfect “facilities” had been all of the small particulars and options all through the property, similar to this lovely and uninhabited lounge space:

And this retro “smoking” nook upstairs:

The upstairs additionally housed a show of TWA flight attendant uniforms by means of the ages.

Once more, these may have been tacked-on options to present the resort a retro veneer, however the designers clearly put quite a lot of consideration into every ingredient.

‘Lounge entry’

I paid a pair hundred bucks to get a room, however one of the vital interesting options of the resort is that anybody on the airport can go to totally free.

You wouldn’t need to make the trek on a brief layover. With a couple of hours to kill, you may do lots worse than grabbing an Intelligentsia espresso and having fun with the foyer, or studying an artwork e book within the Herman Miller studying lounge. It’s stunning that extra savvy vacationers hadn’t (by July) discovered this swanky and free different to JFK’s lackluster lounges.

Observe: The resort lately restricted entry to the remark roof/pool/bar to friends solely, so don’t carry your bathing go well with should you’re simply stopping by.

» Be taught extra: Bank cards with airport lounge entry

The downsides

As talked about, the shortage of space for storing within the room was a critical flaw and a transparent case of an excessive amount of type over operate.

The fixed wind on the rooftop bar and pool space may not hassle everybody, however for me it rendered the realm nearly unusable.

Lastly, the service was spotty and clearly felt like a “new resort.” I known as the entrance desk a couple of occasions with no reply and acquired a bizarre quantity of problem for making an attempt to go to the pool space, regardless that I used to be a visitor.

Wrapping all of it up

These are simply quibbles. General, the TWA Resort at JFK was probably the most impressively designed lodging I’ve ever had. From the small particulars just like the faux bourbon in Howard Hughes’s glass to the gorgeous restoration of an architectural masterpiece, I used to be amazed at how a lot consideration was given all through the property. It’s clearly any individual’s labor of affection.

For even the slightest aviation nerd, the resort is a must-visit when flying to or by means of JFK. And for anybody else seeking to go a while on the airport: You gained’t remorse it.

Images by Sam Kemmis

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