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Recently my travel plans took me through McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to check out the American Express Centurion Lounge that is located in Concourse D, opposite of Gate D1. I had already visited (and loved) the Centurion Lounge in DFW on the day it opened, so I was very interested in seeing the Centurion Lounge that started it all in Vegas.
In large part thanks to these awesome lounges, I have an American Express Platinum card on the way (became authorized user on husband’s account) that will get me into the Centurion lounges free, but I was the guest of Amex on this visit and tour. American Express Centurion and Platinum cardholders who have cards such as the Platinum Amex, Mercedes Benz Platinum Amex, or Business Platinum Amex (and up to two guests) have complimentary access to the Centurion lounges. An Amex cardholder that doesn’t have one of those cards can purchase a day pass for $50.
Location and Overview:
Each Centurion lounge has their own hours, but the one in Las Vegas is open from 5AM – 12AM to match the common flight times for that airport. The different Centurion lounges also reportedly will also have their own signature offering. For example, DFW has included spa services, but since Las Vegas was the first lounge, it doesn’t have a separate signature service or offering other than simply being the pioneer.
The entrance to the lounge is very similar to the DFW lounge, and is both impressive and relaxing at the same time. I liked that the doors were open as it made it feel a little more inviting than if they were closed and you felts as if you needed a special password to pass through the sacred doors.
Yes, the greenery you see when you walk in is real and alive!
General Lounge Area:
One thing that was different about the Vegas lounge from the DFW location was the presence of windows and natural light. It is possible in Vegas to sit in one of three very comfortable loungers and plane watch as you wait for your flight!
Some of the things that remained the same at both lounges are plenty of plugs and seats. There are also arrival/departure boards, and a computer work station. I was not able to get the printer to work, but that was probably my own user error. If I had more time I would have asked for some help to get it working, but I didn’t have the extra minutes to spare on this visit.
Food and Drinks:
The Las Vegas Centurion lounge has a buffet with some items that were envisioned by executive chef, Scott Conant. I was there around 2:30PM which is obviously after a normal lunch time, but there were still plenty of items being rotated on the buffet. It was a very different menu than in Dallas and seemed to feature heavily salads, soups, and vegetables (which is probably a good thing before/after the decadence available in Vegas). I really liked the roasted sweet potato, pumpkin seeds, sage, and yogurt dish. There were also turkey sandwiches, spinach and ricotta gnudi, and reportedly some pasta comes out at dinner time.
I really enjoyed my lunch in the lounge and found it far better than offerings in traditional domestic lounges, and even better than most food you could buy in airport restaurants. I think I personally liked the food offerings at the DFW lounge a bit better, but that may be because as a Texan I am partial to Texas style food, or my experience may have been a bit unique as I was there on Day 1 when the executive chef was on-site. Regardless, both menus are very enjoyable, and I like that they are different so you have unique culinary experiences waiting for you at each Centurion lounge!
The bar area was also very similar to what I saw in DFW – which is good, because I loved that one! Just like the food, the beverages are complimentary and way more delicious and high-end than other domestic lounges.
The Vegas Centurion lounge benefits from the skills of mixologist Jim Meehan for their signature cocktails. I asked the bartender for her suggestion on which signature drink people liked the most, and tried the Airmail on her recommendation.
It was made with cane rum, lime juice, honey syrup, and sparkling wine and was very light and delicious. It is hand-made in front of you and doesn’t come from some pre-made mix. While the signature drinks are great, you aren’t limited to just those selections. You can order pretty much any mixed drink you can dream of, and they will do their best to make it happen.
If wine or beer suits you better than cocktails then there is a wine list, and a cooler stocked full of various types of beer.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the complimentary food and drink offerings, but what sold me on these lounges is the inclusion of a family room. The family room offers a place for kids to play with toys, watch movies, or play video games without disturbing others. That is priceless for families and non-families alike! The family room in Vegas is larger than the one in DFW, but styled in the same colorful way.
You can check-out videos and video games from the front desk in the lounge and breathe easily at the noise your kids may create as the room is pretty sound proof! I was told that this room in the lounge is used with some regularity, but they did acknowledge it is Vegas, so there aren’t as many kids going through that airport as some other more family friendly locations. Thank you Amex for including family rooms!
Restrooms and Showers:
Also useful for families (and non-families) are very nice restrooms with individual doors for each stall that close all the way (which is handy when your toddler starts to talk excitedly about what they just put in the toilet). One thing I saw in Dallas, but didn’t notice in this lounge, was a diaper changing area in the restroom. It is possible I missed it, but it wasn’t in an obvious spot the way it was in Dallas.
There is also one shower available that I was told gets some use, especially for those getting on red-eye flights. The restroom and showers both have upscale L’occitane bath amenities available.
Of course there are also many helpful employees in the lounge who can help with a variety of requests. I saw one family starring at the departures board and an Amex employee came up to them and asked what questions about their flight they might have without being asked. As it turns out, they were trying to decide when to head to the gate and she helped them and double checked to see that the flight info was still accurate.
As an Amex customer and frequent traveler, I am truly thrilled about the addition of these lounges as they can really enhance your experience traveling from airport to airport – especially because of the space they have for families! It has been confirmed that a Centurion Lounge is being built in San Francisco’s airport, but there are others that are also supposed to open in 2014. The locations of those lounges has not yet been released, but I have heard the phrase “network of lounges” used many times.
Have you visited the Centurion lounge in DFW or Las Vegas? Was your experience similar to mine?