The New TWA Hotel Is Worth a Visit Even If You Don’t Have a Flight

A whole new reason to go to JFK
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The new TWA Hotel at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport looks totally retro, but is full of fresh modern fare and vibrant food from a Michelin-starred chef.

Going to the airport is never on the top of anyone’s list — especially if you're flying out of New York. While, yes, it means you’re hopefully on an adventure some place new, it also means dealing with long lines, less-than-stellar food options, and crowds. But, the new TWA Hotel at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is about to give travelers a reason to visit the busy airport even if they don’t have a flight.

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Yup, the new property is taking over the original structure of the old TWA terminal (which opened in 1962 and closed nearly 40 years later) and is totally owning its mid-century modern vibe. The retro-inspired guestrooms are accessed through space-age tubes and each comes complete with vintage rotary phone. There’s also an observation deck with a pool, a gym, and a museum with items from the “Golden Age of Air Travel” on display.

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But what we’re most excited about is the food.

The hotel will feature six restaurants and eight bars, including The Paris Café by Jean-Georges. It will be located in the heart of the 1962 Eero Saarinen-designed TWA terminal taking up the entire footprint of the space’s original Paris Café and Lisbon Lounge. It will also mark yet another restaurant in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s portfolio, which includes ABC Kitchen in Manhattan, Mercato in Shanghai and 34 other restaurants worldwide.

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“As an avid traveler,” explains the Michelin-starred chef via the hotel’s website. “I am very excited to be a part of recreating a culinary destination in this iconic landmark.”

To develop the concept and menu, Vongerichten partnered with Tastes on the Fly, a prominent airport restaurateur. Also, the TWA Hotel team researched historical in-flight menus for inspiration. While no final details have been released, the website shows one of those vintage menus, which features very ’60s-sounding luxuries like Lobster Thermidor and Chicken Champagne.

And Vongerichtens cafe is not the only talked-about dining feature. It was also revealed that Intelligentsia Coffee would be the exclusive coffee provider of the hotel. The 23-year-old Chicago-based roaster will open a midcentury modern-inspired coffee bar as well as man custom mobile coffee carts from which in-season, single origin coffees and Kilogram teas will be served.

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“Choosing this as our second coffee bar location in New York brings Intelligentsia to a space where we haven't been before and gives us the opportunity to provide travelers with an extraordinary selection of coffees,” said James McLaughlin, CEO and president of Intelligentsia Coffee, in a press release.

The rooms also have a pretty stellar drink selection. It was revealed that each will have a fully stocked wet bar with Hennessy V.S.O.P. Privilège Cognac, Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne, and the official 007 Belvedere Martini with Belvedere Vodka. You can book a room now for overnight stays beginning May 15.

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OK, so if swanky retro hotel rooms, top-shelf booze, and delicious fare aren’t enough to get you interested in the new hotel, know this: Detouring to the hotel after an early-morning JFK arrival might allow you to skip the rush hour traffic on the Belt Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway. Sounds like it might not be one of the worst U.S. airports for travel, after all