TWA Lodge JFK: My Second & Final Keep
In 2019, the 512-room TWA Lodge JFK opened. For us avgeeks, this would possibly simply be probably the most extremely anticipated lodge ever. I reviewed the property shortly after it opened, and there have been many issues that impressed me.
Properly, this weekend I made a decision to return to the lodge for a second time. Sadly the keep left me disenchanted, and I received’t be staying right here once more. Let me clarify.
The TWA Lodge JFK is value visiting…
Let me begin on a constructive observe, and acknowledge that the general public areas of the TWA Lodge JFK are a murals. For those who ever end up at JFK, you completely ought to wander right here. The lodge is open to the general public, and the homeowners put an unbelievable quantity of effort into restoring this constructing (the foyer is the previous TWA Flight Middle terminal, which was designed in 1962), and creating one thing particular.
Heck, actually have a drink at onboard the Connie, or possibly even pay to make use of the rooftop pool with airplane views.
Nevertheless, sadly I’d cease in need of really staying right here…
Why I wouldn’t keep on the TWA Lodge JFK once more
Strolling across the TWA Lodge JFK (without spending a dime) and truly staying on the TWA Lodge JFK are two very completely different experiences. When staying on the TWA Lodge JFK, it’s fairly obvious that the homeowners have forgotten that they’re within the hospitality enterprise, however reasonably they’re looking for inspiration from extremely low value airways.
The TWA Lodge is owned by MCR Lodges, which has a portfolio of almost 150 accommodations, making it one of many largest lodge homeowners in the US. Whereas lots of MCR’s properties are operated as Hiltons and Marriotts, this one is run straight by the corporate.
In September 2021, I wrote about how MCR’s CEO shared his imaginative and prescient for the way the lodge business ought to evolve. Listed below are some quotes:
“I hold sort of attempting to push the envelope right here and say, as a hospitality enterprise, cease giving issues away without spending a dime. Being hospitable doesn’t imply giving individuals issues without spending a dime. Enterprise vacationers by no means use the pool, so why ought to they pay inherently an oblique value to make use of the pool. It permits us to cost a decrease charge to everyone, after which individuals should buy up for what they need. So, everyone will get a decrease charge.”
“To the extent the lodge enterprise strikes in that path, the client will get what they need. Everyone will get a lower cost level, and the business turns into extra worthwhile.”
“[The major hotel company CEOs] all pay lip service to it however keep in mind: They’re within the enterprise of giving issues away without spending a dime. That provides model worth. We homeowners are within the enterprise of not giving issues away without spending a dime as a result of it’s our backside line. It doesn’t damage [Marriott CEO] Tony [Capuano] or [Hilton CEO] Chris [Nassetta] to provide issues away without spending a dime. It hurts our P&L.”
MCR has full management over how the TWA Lodge is run, and I believe this attitude completely displays what the visitor expertise is like… and it’s not fairly. The place do we start?
Let me state prematurely that I simply had a brief in a single day on the lodge, and my intent wasn’t initially to evaluation my keep, so I didn’t take many photos. For extra photos of the property in all its glory, take a look at my 2019 evaluation.
There’s no worth for cash
After all I don’t fault any lodge for attempting to maximise its income, although I’m a bit confused by the TWA Lodge’s pricing. The usual pricing right here over weekends appears to be $359+. That doesn’t embody the power price, so in the long run you’ll pay $438.20 for the privilege of spending an evening right here. In a typical room. With no view.
Admittedly some individuals are keen to pay a premium to remain at a lodge that’s (type of) linked to the airport, however is the demand actually there to fill a 500+ room lodge this fashion? I really feel like there have to be extra to the story right here.
Does anybody know if the TWA Lodge tries to publicly preserve this pricing, however is then bookable by OTAs or by distressed traveler charges at a lot decrease prices? As a result of this isn’t only a gentle premium in comparison with what different accommodations within the space are charging, however reasonably it’s someplace round double.
I are inclined to assume that in the event you’re charging these sorts of charges, company ought to count on a sure stage of service and included facilities, and that’s merely not mirrored right here.
Absurd reserving & cancelation insurance policies
Past the excessive value to remain right here, the TWA Lodge’s charge sorts rub me the fallacious method. The TWA Lodge has each versatile and advance buy charges. For those who e book the versatile charge:
- A deposit for your complete value of the keep is charged at reserving
- You may solely cancel till seven days earlier than arrival
- If it is advisable cancel earlier than that point, there’s a price of $10 plus taxes and charges
Truthfully, can anybody identify a single airport lodge wherever on the earth with such outrageous versatile charge insurance policies? This isn’t some lodge on a distant island that may’t resell a room in the event you cancel 5 days out. Heck, I’d wager that a big share of rooms are booked inside a number of days of journey.
That’s only a small instance of the nickel-and-diming at this lodge. Need to use the pool after 10:45AM in summer season? For those who’re a lodge visitor, that may value you $25 per grownup.
Small, fundamental, and poorly designed rooms
Final time I stayed on the lodge I booked a set, because the premium was affordable (I paid much less for a set final time than I paid for the standard room this time). This time round I booked a base room, and I wasn’t impressed in any respect. The room was tiny and fundamental, with restricted seating, and a typically poor design. Truthfully, who designed this room? Take a look at how shut the mattress is to the wall…
The room had a powerful bleach scent, and simply typically didn’t really feel properly maintained or recent.
There was solely a small waste basket within the toilet, after which the desk had a placemat the place you had been allegedly supposed to position the trash. There was one space to position the recyclables, and one space to position rubbish. Yep, just some inches behind the place you relaxation your head.
The lodge markets this as serving to to make the lodge the greenest constructing in New York, although it’s fairly clear that this can be a value slicing measure, each to keep away from having to purchase trash cans, and to hurry up housekeeping (in order that trash cans don’t must be cleaned, however reasonably this placemat can simply be wiped down).
The rooms on the lodge used to have fairly snazzy minibars that type of added to the mid-century vibe. Now the rooms have an empty mini-fridge and a single martini glass hanging from the minibar space, for no obvious motive. And don’t even count on you’ll have a drink in your room — the lodge has no room service.
These are simply a few examples of the fee slicing. I imply, the lodge doesn’t even have any bellmen who open doorways for you if you enter with baggage, or who provide to assist.
The property is displaying put on & tear
I used to be already predicting this when the lodge opened, and sadly it has confirmed to be true. The lodge was so beautiful on the time that I figured it wouldn’t look nice a number of years down the highway, given the eye to element with design.
For instance, the intense crimson carpet within the hallways sounds nice in principle, besides when you think about simply how many individuals shall be passing over it with baggage. At this level the carpet seems fairly disgusting.
I didn’t take photos, however the property simply wasn’t feeling recent. For instance, once we walked to our room, there was only a huge blob of puke on the carpet, with an indication to keep away from it. Ewww. Admittedly the lodge can’t management individuals puking, however that was hardly the one factor that didn’t really feel very clear.
I didn’t take many photos throughout my keep, however the under image of an elevator button offers you a common sense of how most issues really feel fairly poorly maintained and never notably clear.
The worst pizza I’ve had in years
Whereas Paris Cafe is the TWA Lodge’s foremost restaurant, generally you’re simply in search of one thing extra informal. The TWA Lodge doesn’t provide room service. As an alternative it provides a meals corridor. Sadly the meals corridor is lower than half occupied by distributors, and the distributors which are there are fairly not-great.
I made a decision to order a pizza, which was concerning the freshest factor on the menu (in comparison with sizzling canines, pre-made sandwiches, pre-made salads, and many others.). The pizza was terrible, and it must be unlawful to promote one thing like this inside miles of New York Metropolis.
There’s additionally simply no thought put into the visitor expertise. You may’t do room fees within the meals corridor, and also you’re given the most cost effective plastic cutlery possible with which to eat meals.
I don’t perceive why the TWA Lodge can’t have a good meals corridor? Not solely are there doubtlessly over 500 rooms value of people that might wish to eat there, however possibly if the meals was higher, individuals would come right here from the terminal. Sadly the choices within the meals corridor made me wish to wander into the terminal and eat there, which is saying quite a bit.
As an aviation geek, there’s nothing I’d love greater than to be the most important advocate for the TWA Lodge, as a result of it’s a murals. It’s value a go to in the event you’re passing by JFK, since that is such an incredible constructing. Sadly the lodge isn’t value staying at, although.
The TWA Lodge provides lemonade high quality on a champagne price range. The corporate that owns the lodge appears to wish to channel Spirit Airways with its product providing, although I’ve to say that I discover Spirit Airways provides higher hospitality.
From very excessive pricing, to an absurd cancelation coverage, to poorly designed rooms, to an absence of maintenance, I simply wouldn’t keep right here once more. It appears I’m not alone, as this property will get fairly unhealthy evaluations on TripAdvisor.
Any further the Hyatt Regency JFK is 100% my go-to property close to the airport. Whereas the situation isn’t handy, it’s really a really good lodge, and nobody can argue that the lodge doesn’t strive.
What do you make of the present state of the TWA Lodge JFK?