Review: The American Express Centurion Lounge - San Fransisco International Airport (SFO)
April 22nd, 2018
We had a layover in San Fransisco (SFO) for about an hour and a half before embarking on our final stretch towards Honolulu, so we made a quick dash to the American Express Centurion Lounge for a bite and some drinks.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Centurion Lounges, they are American Express owned and operated lounges which can be found in a select handful of airports including but not limited to: San Francisco, New York LaGuardia, Las Vegas, Miami, Mexico City and a few others. The Centurion Lounge is only accessible for American Express Platinum and Business Platinum cardholders. This was my first time in a Centurion Lounge so I was extremely eager to check it out.
The lounge itself is elevated from the main terminal – it’s a quick two flights up or you can take the elevator. The facade of the Centurion Lounge is quite impressive as it spans to levels. Since we were traveling with a stroller and a bunch of bags, we opted for the latter. For those of you visiting, it’s located in Terminal 3 near gate 74.
Once you get up there, you’re greeted by a large information desk where you check-in so to speak. The overall décor of the lounge is rustic modern with tons of wood accents, marble bar tops, glass walls as well as a mixture of white and beige tones. It was truly quite stunning.
Directly opposite the desk is the main food and beverage area, equipped with a full service bar as well as a self-serve food station. The bar has some seating if you prefer to hang out and watch t.v. or you can opt to sit at the dozen or so tables within the same area.
Once again, we were fairly lucky to find a table tucked away in the corner just behind the glass elevator shaft which had ample space for all our bags and stroller.
The self-serve food section was rather plentiful with 3-4 hot items including chicken, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, and a few other hot side dishes. They also had a salad bar and a beverage station with flavoured water. Needless to say, we made quick work of the food since we were absolutely starving and hadn’t eaten since the lounge at Pearson Airport.
We also helped ourselves to a complementary pint of Lagunitas IPA to wash down our meal. I must say though that getting a drink took quite some time as they only had two bartenders stationed and some customers were ordering mixed drinks and cocktails which didn’t help the timing situation. In any event, what I did appreciate was the fact that the bartenders were doing QA on the drinks before they were handed off to the customers. It’s always nice to know you’re getting a properly made drink.
They also have a wine dispensing vending machine (for lack of a better word) where you can sample 5 x 1oz. pours of a variety of local wines. You’ll just have to speak with the receptionist and they’ll provide you with scanable ticket to operate the machine. How cool is that??
On the opposite end of the lounge was the main seating area, loaded with leather chairs, a communal table as well as smaller tables. Other amenities at The Centurion Lounge include free Wi-Fi, self-service computers and a printer, newspapers and magazine and a colorful children’s room with toys and videogames. The lounge even has showers as well as comfy day beds for relaxing.
Overall, I was quite impressed with The Centurion Lounge at SFO. The food and beverage offerings were substantial and great quality and the lounge as a whole, although fairly busy, never seemed too overcrowded. We were only there for a short while, probably less than 45 minutes if I had to guess, so we did feel a bit rushed. I would have definitely liked it if we had double the amount of time to enjoy the amenities fully – perhaps have a few more drinks, do some wine tasting and taking a shower would have been super refreshing as well. Nevertheless, we were thankful for the complimentary and greatly needed food and drink and we’ll definitely venture back one of these days.