- When the TWA Hotel opened at JFK Airport in May, it generated a lot of buzz, but one of the flagship's features was delayed for a few weeks – a rooftop bar and an eternity pool overlooking one of the airport's runways.
- Now that the roof has opened completely and the hotel is up and running fine, we went to check out the pool and the view to see if they lived up to the hype.
- We're glad they didn't. Scroll down to see the incredible hotel in the legendary TWA Flight Center building of the 1960s.
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I went and checked out the pool on what turned out to be a hot, raw and cloudy day. Maybe not ideal, but it was pretty consistent with New York weather in the summer – and it didn't seem to put a damper on anyone's fun at the pool.
A big part of the pool's appeal, of course, is that it (and an observation deck) overlook some of JFK's gates, and just past them, a runway.
Right below the pool, swimmers and guests can see the JetBlue A320s come and go.
To the right, pool goers can catch a glimpse of Terminal 4, including the large port that hosts A380 jumbo jets from Emirates and Singapore Airlines.
And then, a little distance, there is an overview of JFK runway 4 Left / 22 Right (the name changes depending on which direction the traffic is moving in.)
The runway views are incredible for everyone from casual travel fans to hardcore flight spotters.
For close-ups, you might want to bring a pair of binoculars or a telephoto lens, but even without it, you're close enough to see incredible detail as the aircraft takes off and lands.
You can also get partial views of a few other runways – when I was at the hotel, the 4L / 22R was used to start, while the parallel runway – 4R / 22L, just off distance – got arrivals.
One highlight was a British Airways 747-400 that came in for landing.
You can get a great view from both the pool and lounge chairs that line it up.
The lounge chairs are a first-come, first-served basis for hotel guests and day passers.
The pool is open 365 days a year. In winter, it heats up and turns into a giant hot tub.
The red "TWA" logo in the middle of the pool helps to 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 are ready to take a break from flight spotting and swimming, you can proceed to the Pool Bar.
The bar serves food and drink, including kid-friendly snacks.
There are also a few special cocktails, including "The Runway" – a martini served with a flight wing pin – and Summertime Lemonade – vodka, lemonade and mint.
Non-guests can reserve a table in Pool Bar, but there is a minimum of $ 50 food and drink per person, plus tax and 20% gratuity.
Non-guests can also purchase a pool day pass valid from 11am to 11pm. that day.
Passports 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 efficient.
The rooms are admittedly quite small. However, this is the norm for just about every New York City property and hotel room, and this didn't seem to be a problem.
The hotel is filled with TWA branding and touches.
The airy, open architecture of Eero Saarinen's landmark flight center 1962 is on full display through the public spaces of the main building.
Towards the back of the lobby, 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.
The hotel is full of setbacks and retro touches, like a row of phones that charge a penny for every call (you don't have to pay to use the phones).
Another main attraction: Connie cocktail bar, build aboard a restored 1958. Lockheed Constellation aircraft.
The incredible bar is a focal point for the hotel, offering cocktails, wine, beer, soft drinks and snacks.
Although the aircraft has been refurbished to serve as a bar …
… You still have the opportunity to sit in vintage airplane seats, which are more spacious and more padded than anything found in a coach today.
Before you leave the bar, don't forget to check out the cockpit …
… And when you leave the hotel, stop by the gift shop.