The TWA Hotel at New York's Kennedy Airport has officially opened its doors to the public, but the highly anticipated hotel is not open to paying travel advisors.

Despite its high profile and upscale positioning, the 512-room property has taken a stringent no-commission stance, with reservations available solely on its website.

"We're taking the perspective that travel agents should do what's best for their customer, and if they think that our hotel is best for their customer, then we hope they book with us," said Tyler Morse, CEO of hotel owner MCR Development. "We're not going to pay a commission. They can have their clients stay at the Radisson on the Belt Parkway. They'll pay a commission. But if they want to stay here, [they have to book direct]."

Even without the help of travel advisors or OTAs, Morse believes the TWA Hotel should have no trouble hitting 200% occupancy. The hotel plans to reach that lofty goal by offering both traditional overnight stays and "day stays," which cater to travelers looking to catch some shut-eye during layovers or post-arrival.

"Our goal is to sell the room twice a day," said Morse.

A collection of vintage TWA crew uniforms on display at the TWA Hotel.
A collection of vintage TWA crew uniforms on display at the TWA Hotel. Photo Credit: TWA Hotel/David Mitchell

Day stays are currently available in four different four-hour blocks, including 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., noon to 4 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The day-stay product is expected to be offered in more flexible blocks in the near future, with guests able to reserve a room for four hours or more at a check-in and checkout time of their choice. 

Day-stay rates start at roughly $150 a four-hour booking, while traditional overnight rates start at around $250 a night.

Concurrently, the hotel is accepting reservations for several of its food and beverage venues, including the Sunken Lounge, the hotel's flagship lobby bar, the Jean-Georges Vongerichten-run Paris Cafe restaurant and its rooftop Pool Bar and Observation Deck

The Paris Cafe by Jean-Georges serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Paris Cafe by Jean-Georges serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Photo Credit: TWA Hotel/David Mitchell

Reservations are also available for the property's Connie cocktail lounge, which is housed within a vintage 1958 Lockheed Constellation plane parked just outside the lobby.

The Connie, Sunken Lounge and the Pool Bar and Observation Deck are all managed by Gerber Group.

Additional dining options are set to debut as part of the property's Departures Hall food hall, which will include quick-service offerings from New York City staples like the Halal Guys and Empanada Mama. 

Other hotel amenities include several retail outlets -- including Shinola and Warby Parker shops and an outpost of Chicago-based Intelligensia Coffee.

Eero Saarinen's soaring terminal is the heart of the TWA Hotel.
Eero Saarinen's soaring terminal is the heart of the TWA Hotel. Photo Credit: TWA Hotel/David Mitchell

The $265 million project is expected to draw aviation aficionados, design buffs and travel enthusiasts from far and wide. The hotel houses its 200,000-square-foot lobby in the former TWA Flight Center airport terminal at JFK. The building, which was designed by famed Finnish architect Eero Saarinen and completed in 1962, is canon within the design and aviation worlds, known for its soaring, wing-shaped ceilings and association with the Golden Age of air travel.

It is the first hotel to open at Kennedy Airport.

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