May 15 (UPI) -- The TWA hotel opened in New York City on Wednesday at the site of the former Trans World Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the re-opening of the "iconic and beautiful" piece of architecture nearly 20 years after the airline shut down and the terminal was closed.
"The TWA building was ahead of its time and it represented New York's vision and creativity and boldness and outside-the-box thinking," he wrote on Twitter.
Famed American architect Eero Saarinen designed the JFK terminal, which first opened in 1962, and the newly opened hotel seeks to capture the spirit of the original design with details including TWA branding and retro-style uniforms for staff.
The terminal was nearly demolished after it closed in 2001, but developer Tyler Morse presented the plan to restore it and reopen it as a hotel in 2014.
"So many strong memories, family ties to this terminal, that you could cry. We were all so dedicated," former flight attendant Linda Parlock told CBS New York.
The TWA is the only on-site airport hotel at JFK and has 512 rooms -- with some overlooking an active JFK roadway -- and about 50,000 feet of meeting and event space.
It also has amenities including a rooftop infinity pool and the airline's old flight board on display.
The first guests began to check in at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, with rooms starting at $249 per night.