What’s the story? The once futuristic TWA Flight Center, at New York’s JFK Airport, commissioned by the now-defunct Howard Hughes-owned Trans World Airlines and designed by Eero Saarinen in the golden age of air travel, has reopened as a hotel after 18 years of dormancy. How does it look? With two “wings” forming the roof, tubular walkways and stark white mixed with bright red throughout, it’s Instagram heaven. Or hell, depending on how you feel about wannabe models and Insta-husbands posing and snapping at every turn. To be fair, it is so photogenic, the former airport terminal featured in Catch Me If You Can , even though the 2002 film portrayed rival airline Pan Am. So it’s straight out of the Sixties? Well, if you access the hotel via the lift in JFK Terminal 5, the floor button is marked “1960s TWA”. And as you walk along the red-carpeted tunnel leading to the lobby you feel as though you’re passing through a time warp. Saarinen’s modernist Tulip furniture for Knoll is scattered liberally and retro TWA logos are used in abundance, from the servers’ trainers to inside the guest-room safes, which is a cute touch. Although the hotel edges into museum territory in places (uniformed mannequin displays and vintage cars), Saarinen’s curvaceous design shines, and overall the place manages to embody the glamour of the Mad Men era. Mad Men , you say – so there’s no shortage of stiff drinks? Funny you should ask, as, apart from the architecture, the bars are the stars. You could do worse than drop in for a martini at The Sunken Lounge, at the heart of the hotel, which has inviting red banquettes and a fun split-flap-display departures board, complete with that yakety, mahjong-tiles-being-shuffled sound flight-information boards used to make. Vast windows look out onto a “Connie”, a restored Lockheed Constellation, which now houses a cocktail lounge. And if you want to get your head checked by a jumbo jet, a rooftop bar, swimming pool and sun deck overlook the runway. What about food? We’d love to tell you about Paris Café, the hotel’s only restaurant, overseen by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but it was fully booked for both dinner and breakfast during our stay. Frustratingly, we had not been advised a booking was necessary. Instead we were directed to some food stalls situated off the lobby, most of which were already closed. We just caught The Halal Guys, a New York institution known for gyro, which was the latest to shut, at 8pm, but a doner kebab doesn’t exactly fit the sophisticated jet-set vibe. (After our stay, the food hall was shut for health violations but had reopened at the time of writing.) What are the rooms like? Guest rooms are housed in two new wings, Hughes and Saarinen, flanking the original terminal. The rooms are small for New York but beautifully designed in a contemporary take on mid-century style mixed with original Knoll furniture. There’s no wardrobe, just hooks, so they are definitely geared to a layover stay and minimum unpacking. The best rooms overlook that spectacular Saarinen building or the runway; entry point rooms are next to the road looking out to Terminal 5. Be warned, you’ll be very much on display – all the rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with blackout blinds but no sheers. As the website promises, the glass is impressively soundproof. What if I want to stretch my legs after a long flight? There’s a 24-hour gym accessible to guests as part of a mandatory US$10 per night facility fee. Day passes are also available. Anything else I should know? Check in is at 4pm, which is bafflingly impractical for an airport hotel. Day stays are offered but these are within rigid time slots set by the hotel rather than flexible timings that would suit the individual traveller (as offered by other airport hotels). What’s the bottom line? From US$249 plus taxes and fees.