Destinations

First look inside Amex’s expanded Centurion Lounge in San Francisco

As journey demand rebounds to 2019 ranges and past, airports are busy as soon as once more.

When you could discover a line on the check-in counter or at safety, there’s one a part of the airport expertise that’s notably liable to overcrowding today — the lounge.

Whether or not it’s on account of a rise within the variety of premium-cabin passengers or the proliferation of profitable bonuses on prime bank cards which have spurred new prospects to use and reap the benefits of premium perks, there are merely extra lounge-eligible passengers than there are seats in airport golf equipment.

To deal with overcrowding, American Categorical has been busy increasing its well-liked Centurion Lounge places in an effort to accommodate as many cardmembers as attainable.

On Dec. 31, the issuer opened its expanded and renovated house within the San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO). TPG was invited to a pre-opening tour, and right here’s what you may count on in your subsequent go to.

Many extra seats

Once you method the expanded Centurion Lounge in San Francisco, you may not instantly discover the upgrades.

That’s as a result of the lounge continues to be positioned throughout from Gate F1 and F2 in Terminal 3, and the doorway space hasn’t modified. You continue to must climb one flight of stairs or experience the elevator up one stage to the reception desk.

As soon as inside, nonetheless, you’ll start to take pleasure in an overhauled house. Headlining the enlargement is a wholly new part that’s positioned down an extended hall that overlooks the landside part of Terminal 3.

The lounge’s footprint beforehand ended subsequent to a single bathe suite. Behind the bathe have been airport administration places of work and different back-of-house areas.

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Earlier within the pandemic, Amex was capable of lease this house, and the newly expanded lounge integrates the entire former places of work into its present flooring plan.

As you stroll previous the place the previous bathe suite was, you’ll discover some further booth-style seating, which ends up in a brand new slim hall that brings you to the enlargement.

The glass home windows lining this hallway assist drench the house with loads of pure gentle, and the fashionable wall artwork provides a pop of shade.

On the finish of the hall, you may discover a brand-new eating room.

There’s a mixture of seating starting from two- and four-top eating tables to couches and high-top coworking tables.

The perimeter of this space is lined with bar-style seats, every inside an arm’s attain of an influence outlet and USB-A port.

The eating room boasts a full-service buffet and a beverage station, too.

In the meantime, the brand new bar is considerably bigger than the unique one, and it’ll serve up your favourite cocktail or, should you’re feeling adventurous, a wine flight with 4 pours from bottles which might be native to the area. (Extra on that beneath.)

From the accent lights to the deep-blue mural on the wall, this house feels elegant and splendid, according to Amex’s newest Centurion Lounge ornamental motifs.

In truth, Amex particularly commissioned summary artist Tracie Cheng to design the brand new floor-to-ceiling wallpaper design, which appears to take cues from the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma, Northern Californian landscapes and San Francisco’s well-known fog.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

The addition of a second buffet and bar, plus extra eating house, ought to assist alleviate among the overcrowding the lounge has been experiencing.

Other than the second eating space, there’s additionally a brand-new leisure house positioned additional down the corridor.

Turning left on the finish of the hallway brings you into this lounge house, which — just like the eating room — is designed with Amex’s signature branding.

A small portion of this part might be reserved for VIPs and people with The Centurion Card from American Categorical, however the remainder of the house might be open to all. (The knowledge for the Centurion Card has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.)

Between the couches and the solo seats put in alongside the wall, there must be loads of room to unfold out. Each seat, together with these within the heart of the room, options quick access to energy shops.

There are even two new cellphone rooms on this house, which can be found on a first-come, first-served foundation.

With fashionable chandeliers and Cheng’s wallpaper, these two personal rooms really feel particularly luxurious.

With the addition of the brand new eating and leisure house, the expanded Centurion Lounge in San Francisco now measures practically 16,000 sq. toes — or roughly twice as massive because the earlier footprint.

Upgraded facilities

Maybe the most important enchancment on the Centurion Lounge in SFO comes within the type of new loos.

Gone are the tiny restrooms that might by no means match greater than about two individuals at a time.

Within the new house, the loos have been relocated to the center of the brand new hallway connector, and so they’re considerably bigger and nicer than those they substitute.

The lads’s room has greater than twice as many urinals because the previous one, and the women’ room is noticeably greater than it was. Plus, Amex added two all-gender personal stalls on this space for extra inclusive services.

Moreover, there are two brand-new bathe suites, each of that are bigger and extra spacious than the one one they substitute. Hopefully, this may assist cut back the watch for a bathe for passengers connecting to or from long-haul flights.

Constructing on a robust basis

Opened in 2014, the Centurion Lounge in San Francisco was Amex’s first West Coast location.

It was designed at a time when there have been fewer Platinum cardmembers, and when decor touches like neon inexperienced couches have been in vogue.

Together with the expanded footprint, Amex has refreshed the lounge’s current house with new chairs, reupholstered sofas and plush throw pillows.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

There are even some new work and prints hanging from the partitions.

Sadly, I wasn’t capable of seize footage of the upgrades to the present house, which might be folded into the brand new, bigger lounge, because it was nonetheless largely beneath development throughout my go to.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

That mentioned, I reviewed the unique house in its entirety proper earlier than the pandemic, so it ought to positively offer you a great sense of what you may count on from the bodily house.

Together with the enlargement and renovation, Amex is bringing another enhancements to its San Francisco airport lounge.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

This features a new menu from Chef Ravi Kapur and a refreshed wine record curated by the Centurion Lounge wine director, Anthony Giglio.

Vacationers may also have the ability to strive a brand new “wine flight” idea with a menu that rotates seasonally. On the outset, two flights might be obtainable, with the bottles on supply listed beneath.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Sonoma Chardonnay flight:

  • Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2020
  • Head Excessive Sonoma County Chardonnay 2021
  • Sonoma-Cutrer Les Pierres Sonoma Valley Chardonnay 2019
  • Walt Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2019

Napa Cabernet Sauvignon Flight

  • Emblem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
  • Miner Emily’s Cuvee Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
  • The Critic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
  • Twenty Rows Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2020

Hopefully, Amex gained’t really feel the identical cost-cutting strain that United did when it stopped providing wine flights in Polaris enterprise class in February 2018, simply over a yr after launching the idea on account of rising prices and elevated wine consumption. Given the San Francisco space’s connections to California’s wine trade, although, that will be a disappointing final result.

Backside line

American Categorical is addressing lounge overcrowding by constructing bigger golf equipment and increasing current ones.

The San Francisco outpost, traditionally some of the crowded within the nation, is getting a serious improve because it’s practically doubling in measurement to about 16,000 sq. toes.

The enlargement brings an extra eating room and leisure space, together with overhauled restrooms and more room to unfold out. The present footprint additionally obtained a facelift with new and reupholstered furnishings, in addition to some new decor hanging from the partitions.

Whereas Amex deserves kudos for doing what it might to construct bigger lounges, it is doubtless that the San Francisco outpost will proceed to undergo from overcrowding at occasions.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Sooner or later, it is merely a numbers sport. Regardless that the issuer is clamping down on visitor entry as of Feb. 1, 2023, there are only a lot of vacationers headed to or from the Bay Space with Amex’s premium playing cards that embody complimentary entry for the first cardmember, and people numbers are solely prone to enhance.

That mentioned, the enlargement is actually higher than the pre-pandemic state of affairs. When you do get contained in the lounge, there are additionally much more facilities and areas to take pleasure in.

For extra in regards to the Centurion Lounge community, remember to try:

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