- When the TWA Hotel at opened at JFK Airport in May, it generated a lot of buzz, but one of its flagship features was delayed for a few weeks — a rooftop bar and infinity pool overlooking one of the airport’s runways.
- Now that the roof has fully opened, and the hotel is up and running smoothly, we went to check out the pool and the views to see if they lived up to the hype.
- We’re happy ot say that they did. Scroll down for an inside look at the incredible hotel in the legendary 1960s TWA Flight Center building.
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I went to check out the pool on what turned out to be a hot, muggy, cloudy day. Maybe not ideal, but it was pretty consistent with the weather New York gets in the summer — and it didn’t seem to put a damper on anyone’s poolside fun.
The 64-foot long infinity pool spans most of the roof, though the pool isn’t very wide. It’s definitely more of a place to lounge than to swim laps.
A big part of the pool’s appeal, of course, it that it (and an observation deck) overlook some of JFK’s gates, and just past them, a runway.
Just below the pool, swimmers and guests can watch JetBlue A320s coming and going.
To the right, pool-goers can get a glimpse of Terminal 4, including the large gate that hosts A380 jumbo jets from Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
And then, off a bit in the distance, there’s a clear view of JFK runway 4 Left/22 Right (the name changes depending on which direction traffic is moving in).
The runway views are incredible for everyone from casual travel fans to hardcore plane-spotters.
For close-up views, you may want to bring a pair of binoculars or a telephoto camera lens, but even without, you’re close enough to see incredible detail as planes take off and land.
You can also get partial views of a few other runways — when I was at the hotel, 4L/22R was being used for take-offs, while the parallel runway — 4R/22L, just off in the distance — was receiving arrivals.
A highlight was a British Airways 747-400 coming in for its landing.
You can get a great view from both the pool itself, and the lounge chairs that line it.
The lounge chairs are first-come, first-serve for hotel guests and day-pass holders.
The pool is open 365 days a year. In the winter, it’s heated and turned into a giant Jacuzzi.
The red “TWA” logo in the middle of the pool helps blend the retro aesthetic with the rest of the hotel with the modern design and high-tech elements of the pool itself and the airport behind it.
When you’re ready to take a break from plane-spotting and swimming, head on over to the Pool Bar.
The bar serves food and drinks, including kid-friendly snacks.
There are also a few special cocktails, including “The Runway” — a martini served with a flight wings pin — and Summertime Lemonade — vodka, lemonade, and mint.
Non-guests can reserve a table at the Pool Bar, but there’s a $50 food and drink minimum per person, plus tax and a 20% gratuity.
Non-guests can also purchase a day pass for the pool valid from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. that day.
Passes are $25 per person on weekdays, and $50 per person on weekends. All in all, it’s not a bad way to spend a day — or a layover.
The hotel has 512 guest rooms.
Some face the runway, but each room is soundproofed — it seemed incredibly effective.
The rooms are, admittedly, quite small. However, this is the norm for just about all real estate and hotel rooms in New York City, and this didn’t seem to be problematic.
The hotel is filled with TWA branding and touches.
The airy, open architecture of Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 flight center is on full display through the public spaces in the main hotel building.
Toward the back of the lobby, the Sunken Lounge offers a place to sit, relax, do some work, or enjoy a coffee.
You can also sip a cocktail next to the custom Solari split-flap board.
The hotel is full of throwbacks and retro touches, like a row of payphones that charge a dime for each call (you don’t actually have to pay to use the phones).
Another major attraction: the Connie cocktail bar, build aboard a restored 1958 Lockheed Constellation airplane.
The incredible bar is a focal point of the hotel, offering cocktails, wine, beer, soft drinks, and snacks.
Although the plane has been redecorated to function as a bar …
… You still have the option of sitting in vintage airplane seats, which are roomier and more padded than anything you’d find in coach today.
Before you leave the bar, don’t forget to check out the cockpit …
… And as you leave the hotel, stop by the gift shop.
These photos show why the TWA Hotel is getting so much buzz over its rooftop pool and bar