The glamour of travel in the early 1960s is being recaptured in the creation of the TWA Hotel in the iconic TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.
The $250 million project will see guests and visitors “immersed in the ethos of 1962’s rich culture, architecture, sights, sounds, and ambiance,” said Tyler Morse, CEO of MCR and Morse Development, which is undertaking the development and will manage the hotel scheduled to open in spring 2019.
Morse spoke at a media event where he led a tour of the building, which has been closed since 2001 and escorted the press to a model room in an outlying section of the airport. The entire guest room experience would pay homage to the landmark and special time in American history when space travel was underway and jet travel was in its earliest stage.
The rooms, small but comfortable, will be the quietest rooms of any hotel despite runways being steps away, Morse said. The heavy, 4.5-inch thick glass will be used for windows. Rooms will also have rotary dial phones that are operated as they originally did. Each room features a “glamorous” martini bar, stocked with ingredients for cocktails and champagne.
With 512 rooms, including more than 22 suites, the rooms will be located in the wings of the building while restaurants, check-in, and public spaces will be in the main part of the building. The hotel will offer direct access to Terminal 5 of the airport.
The building was built by Howard Hughes when he owned TWA at a time when airlines competed on service and the luxury of their terminals rather than on price. With the rivalry between TWA and Pan Am a hallmark of the era, Hughes wanted to win by building the greatest air terminal in the world. He hired Eero Saarinen, a great Finnish designer to create the terminal. It opened in 1962 when it was already obsolete, having been built to handle what was then the state-of-the-art Lockheed Constellation, which carried 45 passengers.
In fact, a Lockheed Constellation will be parked outside the hotel and will serve as a cocktail lounge. Inside the hotel, the Paris Cafe and Lisbon lounge will be restored to their original state. The original Constellation Club lounge will also be recreated.
The feeling of 1962 will be everywhere, including flight schedule “flip-flap” boards that will change by flipping over as they did in pre-digital days. Also restored will be the famed tunnels that led from the hotel to the terminal and were immortalized in the final scene of the movie “Catch Me if you Can.”
“We are putting a box around 1962 and bringing back that ethos,” Morse said. “You can see every part of the space from every other part and there are no straight lines, only curves.”
Other great designers also had a hand in the building, including Charles and Ray Eames, the furniture designers, and Florence Knoll, an architect and designer.
The hotel will also house a museum focused on the Jet Age, the mid-century modern design movement and TWA with vintage air hostess uniforms by top designers. Additionally, it will feature a rooftop pool, a 10,000-square-foot observation deck overlooking the runway, and a 10,000 square-foot fitness center.
The hotel will be a destination in itself with tourists and other visitors coming to the airport for a meal, a drink or an event. There will be six restaurants and eight bars, as well as 50,000 square feet of event space. According to Morse, the hotel is expected to welcome 10,000 visitors and guests a day.
Follow and Share with Jetsettersblog.