Earlier this year, American Express sent me a year-long pass to their new Centurion Lounge. While there’s only one location at the moment, it’s conveniently located in McCarran airport. (According to their website they’ll have new locations yet this year, but I haven’t heard any rumors about new ones. Come on, Atlanta!)
Since we were flying Sun Country, we were leaving from Terminal 3, but there’s a monorail past security at the airport that made it pretty convenient to ride over to the main terminal.
The place looks kind of ultraloungey from the outside, as befits Las Vegas. There were several people waiting to check in when we arrived; half of them seemed to have the same pass I did, and the other half were being told that while all American Express cardholders have access, not everyone gets in for free. (My favorite moment was a lady at the desk telling a customer, “Oh, you’d know if you had the pass.” Pretty sure it’s not some super-elite membership, you just have to be a platinum cardholder.)
Though we didn’t have much time to spend there (we didn’t want to be the jerks making our friends go to the airport early), we took advantage of it. On first glance, the place is far, far nicer than the usual airport lounge. I’ve only been in the Delta one, but this place was infinitely more welcoming, and much less crowded.
Rather than the typical snack bar, they have a buffet with hot food. The selections were pretty good (as a vegetarian, I had no trouble finding options), especially the quinoa salad and pasta. Our favorite thing they had was a tiny creme caramel, designed by a chef whose name I should probably know, which came in a miniature espresso mug. It was excellent.
The open bar was the kind you dream about. Everything they had was top shelf and delivered in very sizable glasses. I had a bourbon Manhattan, and Matt had a Negroni. Though we picked those up at the bar, for our second round a server came to the table and asked if we wanted refills.
There were electrical outlets for phones and laptops everywhere, including below our table in the dining area. There were two TVs over the bar with sports on, as well as a departure status board. The rest of the place was set up in groups of functional areas: workstations, couches around low tables, individual cubby-style chairs, and daybeds for napping. Everything was very modern and appealing.
We unfortunately only had an hour to spend there; if just the two of us had been travelling, I’m pretty sure we’d have gone to the airport with an extra hour to spare. We stopped to use the restroom on the way out, and I found another favorite thing in there:
“No, friends, we haven’t been drinking top-shelf cocktails while you sat at the hot, crowded gate!”
The Delta lounge is only $25/person, and Centurion is $50. I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay $100 for the two of us to hang out there for a normal layover, but if it was more than a couple hours? Without question. I hope to see more of them in other airports soon!