© TWA Hotel / Photography: David Mitchell

Almost 60 years since it first opened as TWA Flight Center, the iconic wing-shaped air terminal by architect Eero Saarinen at John F. Kennedy Airport, has reemerged as a place where to lay down one’s head to rest. Following decades of service as the logistic hub of Trans World Airlines, one of the original U.S. legacy carriers, the building eventually closed its doors in 2005 as it was unable to accommodate the size of the latest generation of jet aircraft and the throngs of passengers they carry. Although it’s now aptly baptized TWA Hotel, the building has been designated a listed building since 1994, and as such, it has retained all of its original architectural features. The terminal building is the very core of the hotel, and it’s where restaurants, bars and shops are situated.

The guest rooms, all 512 of them, are situated in two separate wings behind the terminal, and thanks to New York City-based design practice Stonehill Taylor they ooze the style of the lauded air terminal. Each room is fitted out with floor-to-ceiling soundproof windows which not only ensure a good night’s sleep, but also offer sweeping views of the runway. The comfy bed is lined in brass and paired with a custom quilted leather-look headboard. Saarinen’s classic midcentury modern furniture by Knoll is right at home in the hotel, and include an armless Executive Chair wrapped in tan leather is tucked into the custom walnut, brass and crystallized glass desk. The design is largely defined by walnut elements, from ceiling trim and a tambour wall, to a sliding barn door for the bathroom.

A custom walnut entryway unit includes storage, a mini refrigerator and a hidden safe. The terrazzo-tiled bathroom  is another treat, featuring a custom Hollywood vanity with bubble lights inspired by Philip Johnson’s iconic ladies’ lounge in New York City’s former Four Seasons restaurant. The glass-enclosed shower with linear drain is subway-tiled in white with midnight blue trim. Mind you, it’s stocked with grooming essentials which are all replicas of the original TWA toiletries kit. As said, the terminal houses a number of TWA Hotel‘s facilities, and include Departures Hall Dining, a section with grab-and-go food options by several quality food counters. Offering a gourmet dining experience is Paris Café, a restaurant which occupies the terminal’s original Paris Café and Lisbon Lounge.

The two spaces were originally designed by legendary Parisian industrial designer Raymond Loewy, and are now home to a restaurant by French star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. For fancy drinks the Saarinen-designed Sunken Lounge is readily available, offering its patrons 1960s cocktails in a striking airport setting, replete with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of TWA Hotel’s very own 1958 Connie airplane which is parked outside on the tarmac, and a split flap departures board overhead which displays custom messages. Other notable facilities include a fitness facility with yoga, spinning and other amenities, and a museum devoted to the Jet Age, TWA and the midcentury modern design movement. Location: TWA Hotel, JFK Access Road (John F. Kennedy Airport).

© TWA Hotel / Photography: David Mitchell