Jet-lagged travelers seeking respite at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport don’t have far to venture to find a hotel room — as long as they don’t mind going back to 1962.
The TWA Hotel, the airport’s only on-site accommodation, is a unique destination for aviation geeks, history buffs or nostalgia-seeking jet-setters.
The former TWA Flight Center — a historic landmark that served as the terminal for the iconic brand from the dawn of the jet age until 2001 — was preserved and restored into a hotel that captures a bygone era.
Getting there: The hotel is accessible by ground transport or from any terminal on the JFK AirTrain (Terminal 5 stop). If you’re driving, navigate to 1 Idlewild Drive, New York, New York. Onsite parking is $40 overnight, or $30 per night if you want to park and fly.
Cost: Rooms start at around $230 per night (there’s an extra charge for use of the rooftop infinity pool, which requires reservations), and pets are allowed for a $65 fee.
Reservations: www.TWAHotel.com; 212-806-9000
Guests arriving in the 60-year-old lobby check in where previous generations plopped bags to begin their far-flung journeys. The Eero Saarinen-designed structure lacks square corners — floors transition to walls, which become ceilings, all in curved forms. Other vintage vibes include the red-carpeted Sunken Lounge; a Twister room, with colorful wall-to-wall dots and a huge spinner; an authentic split-flap flight board; a wall of pay phones; a 1958 Lockheed Constellation (serving as a cocktail bar during certain hours) parked just outside floor-to-ceiling windows; and, in the 512 rooms, rotary phones, mod furniture and retro travel posters. There’s also a rooftop pool with views of nonstop runway action, though you need reservations for pool time.
You don’t have to stay here to take in museum exhibits focused on the TWA brand and the golden age of air travel. Curated by the New York Historical Society and free of charge, the collection includes 2,367 TWA artifacts, dozens of uniforms from 1945 to 2001, plus vintage suitcases, Saarinen’s drafting table, and a furnished mid-century living room to explore.
Other retro hotels
For those looking for a nostalgia trip elsewhere in the U.S., the options are growing as old motels are remodeled in vintage style, or boutique hotels are outfitted with mid-century décor. Here are a few: