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TWA Hotel at JFK Airport is stylish work in progress

Once the rough edges are smoothed, it will be a nice experience for travelers seeking a no-nonsense aesthetic.

Cocktails in the Lisbon Lounge at the TWA

Cocktails in the Lisbon Lounge at the TWA Hotel at Kennedy Airport in Queens. Photo Credit: Bloomberg/Gabriela Herman

The retro chic TWA Hotel at Kennedy Airport wants you to think of the Rat Pack, The Beatles and the soaring grace of Eero Saarinen's futuristic terminal, dedicated to the then-new jet age.

What the hotel doesn't want is for guests to hear even a murmur of jet-engine noise from adjacent taxiways. To achieve this solitude, the hotel sheathed both wings of the new 512-room hotel with a 4.5-inch glass curtain wall, second-thickest in the world, to hush JFK's madding bustle.

Draw shut the blackout shades in every room, and you're in a virtually silent chamber save for the low whoosh of air conditioning. Jet engine noise and auto traffic at the adjacent Terminal 5 aren't issues. 

The TWA Hotel opened its doors to customers Wednesday with abundant kinks to exterminate and a sense that things could have been much smoother had the hotel waited a week or two. Many of the elevators went on strike around 4 p.m.; the cashless hotel suffered glitchy point-of-sale system processing as servers tried to ring up drink orders; the rooftop infinity pool deck was off limits because construction isn't finished. (The pool itself is ready, though.)

The hotel has returned the TWA Flight Center's original Lisbon Lounge for cocktails and the Paris Café, the latter run by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. A restored Lockheed Constellation sits outside the glass-walled lobby as a year-round cocktail lounge.

The 1960s design motifs extend to the guest rooms, which are geared to inspiring visions of 1962, the year "The Jetsons" space-age cartoon premiered. Once all the rough edges are smoothed, the hotel will be a nice experience for the sort of traveler who wants a certain no-nonsense aesthetic and doesn't mind New York prices.

Rates start at $249 with discounts for advanced payment; the hotel also has four-12 hour partial-day options, starting from $149.



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