There isn’t a need to dread a long layover at the JFK airport any longer, no more will you have to wander up and down your terminal looking for things to do, you don’t have to stress about how you will entertain your children or sleep sitting upright when you crave an in-between flights nap.
My daughter and I had an overnight flight from Seattle to NYC, with an upcoming 8-hour layover before a flight to London. I knew, without a doubt in my mind, that I would be exhausted, I can get a little bit of sleep on a plane, but I have never been able to sleep for more than 3 hours. My daughter was so excited about going to Europe, I suspected she would not get much sleep either.
After googling the closest airport, thinking we could get a bit of shut-eye before we embarked on our 2nd overnight flight. I was very happy to find a hotel at Terminal 5 which just opened in May of 2019. If you’re looking for a groovy little step back into time, the TWA hotel is something you must experience. The hotel is a nod to Trans World Airline, a company with obvious impact on the aviation world, once being in service from 1930 to 2001. Ahead of the Airline’s collapse, a Trans World Flight Center was built at JFK in 1962. Though the terminal is now a hotel, the building itself is registered as a historical landmark in NYC.
Terminal 5 at JFK is currently housed by Jet Blue Airline, it’s a bit confusing when you first try to navigate where the hotel is. When you get to T5, if you have arrived from another terminal, there is an elevator to your right that will take you to a massive walkway that leads you directly to the TWA hotel. You will know you’re in the right place when you feel like you took a step back 50 years.
Upon your arrival to the hotel, you won’t have to lug all of your luggage to your room, TWA will store your luggage for free, leaving you to take only your carry-on to your room. Though the hotel is designed in 60’s retro, the rooms are very luxurious and offer the very best in modern comforts, including very fast wi-fi, a full bar, snacks, and comfortable robes. A room can be booked for a full night stay, but if you’re on a layover you may just want a few hours of sleep, like my daughter and I did, just a freshener to face another overnight flight. I am not exaggerating when I say that the beds are some of the most comfortable I have ever slept in — EVER, it’s as if the bed engulfs and cradles you. Yes, I was very tired from not sleeping, but only after a 4-hour sleep, I woke up feeling refreshed and energized.
Some of the rooms come with a view of the runway, perfect for aviation enthusiasts, as you can admire the planes but never hear a sound. The rooms are completely soundproof, with the added luxury of electric shades offering perfect sun block out. Since we were only there for a nap, we didn’t mind that we didn’t have a runway view. If you are traveling abroad and need to make a phone call, all international and calls are free, that’s if you can figure out how to use the stationary rotary phone, it brought back memories for me, but definitely a puzzling piece of vintage mystery for some. If your interest is not sleeping, but relaxation, there are several places to sit with a drink, including the sunken lounge or the pool bar beside the infinity pool overlooking the runway. Traveling with children? My children are older now, but if this hotel had been here in previous travels, I would have relished the thought of being able to take my children swimming and for a nice meal at the vintage café before a long flight. Regardless of your reason for visiting the TWA Hotel at JFK, you won’t be disappointed.
Though we didn’t go outside for a poke around the TWA airplane on-site, it would be just the thing for filling up time if stuck on a long layover. You don’t have to book a room to enjoy the aircraft or to walk around and enjoy the small reading room and the display of vintage flight attendant uniforms.
We stayed at the hotel twice, the first time we had the deluxe double queen room, and the 2nd time we had the deluxe king room. Both equally comfortable and full of luxurious amenities.
The hours you can book your room are: 7 am to 11 am, 8 am to 8 pm, 10 am to 4 pm, Noon to 6 pm, and overnight.
The first visit we booked a 10 am to 4 pm stay, and the second time, was for an overnight stay. Check-in is quick and easy and is also where you drop the bags that you wish to be stored.
The only displeasing part I noted about the hotel is the halls are laid with thick red carpet, it is impossible to use a suitcase on wheels, so expect to drag or carry your bags.
There is parking at this hotel and a valet, there is also easy access back to the main terminals through the walkway. However, it’s a long walk, so I hired an Uber on our 2nd stay, I didn’t fancy a long walk at 4 am when we checked out.
You can buy TWA remembrance items at the TWA Website, you can also find out more about the hotel and check availability and pricing of rooms. For general information, you can reach the hotel at 212-806-9000 or you can email Customer Service Directly at email@example.com
I hope you get the opportunity to stay at the TWA Hotel. It was a great experience and as a traveler that has a hard time sleeping on a flight, I welcomed a few hours nap!