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On Monday, American Express opened its new Centurion Lounge at New York’s LaGuardia airport, now located in a brand-new space in the airport’s rebuilt Terminal B. CNN Underscored got a first look at the new lounge, which will be a welcoming oasis to passengers departing from New York City’s closest airport. Let’s take an in-depth look at all the features of this gorgeous new location.
LaGuardia’s Terminal B, which houses American Airlines, Air Canada, Southwest and United, serves as the spot for the new Amex Centurion Lounge, replacing the original LaGuardia lounge, which was closed at the start of the pandemic. The new space is 10,000 square feet in size, and while it’s located after the security checkpoint, it remains accessible to passengers departing from any Terminal B gate, thanks to the new centralized terminal design.
To access the lounge, you’ll need to proceed up the escalators to Level 4 after clearing security, and walk toward Gates 40-59. The lounge entrance is located on the right just before the pedestrian bridge that crosses over the airport’s taxiway.
The entrance to the new Amex Centurion Lounge in New York LaGuardia’s Terminal B.
While in theory, passengers departing from LaGuardia’s other terminals could also use the lounge, it currently requires a transfer by bus and then re-clearing security at Terminal B, then repeating the process in reverse to get back to your original departure gate. Brave souls departing from Terminals C and D might attempt the journey given enough time, but the trip is impractical for Terminal A departures due to its distance from the airport’s other terminals.
Also, despite their name, you don’t need to hold the exclusive American Express Centurion Card to gain access to Amex Centurion Lounges. In fact, you can get into the most comfortable and relaxing spot at the airport with any of the following Amex cards:
In addition, card members holding the invitation-only Centurion® Card from American Express (colloquially known as the “Amex Black Card”) or the American Express Business Centurion® Card can access any Centurion Lounge, and without time limits.
As a general rule, card members can access the Centurion Lounges up to 3 hours prior to departure of their first flight, and at any time between connecting flight itineraries of 24 hours or less. Only invite-only Centurion card members can use Centurion Lounges upon arrival at their final destination.
Anyone who’s been in one of the other 13 Amex Centurion Lounges around the world will immediately recognize the Member Services area as soon as they walk into the new LaGuardia location. As with the other Centurion Lounges, pandemic precautions are currently in place, including partitions between customers and agents, and temperature checks before entering.
If you’ve previously visited other Amex Centurion Lounges, you’ll recognize the familiar Member Services desk.
Centurion Lounges are currently operating at reduced capacity, but if the lounge is full when you arrive, an agent will add you to the waitlist and you’ll be contacted when space opens.
Once you’ve checked in, as you proceed down the hallway, you’ll spot the classic American Express watchdog — an image you’ll find featured in other Centurion Lounges if you’re looking closely.
The company’s original 1890 watchdog logo sits intently guarding LaGuardia’s Amex Centurion Lounge.
To the right of this main hallway, visible between floor-to-ceiling slats, is the first lounge seating area — a beautiful space with both a long comfy sofa and individual chairs. Conveniently, you’ll even find small pop-up tables strategically placed along the couch, so you’ll have a spot for your food and drinks whether you’re on the sofa or in a seat.
Immediately to your right after entering the lounge, you’ll find the first of several comfortable seating areas.
However, if you’re planning to make multiple trips to both the bar and the buffet, there’s another seating area to the left just beyond the Amex watchdog that provides quick access to both food and drinks.
Another seating section is located conveniently near both the bar and dining areas.
As you walk around this new LaGuardia location, the most striking feature is the amount of natural light incorporated into the lounge. Thanks to both the terminal’s large main windows and the lounge’s own wraparound glass, this is one of the brightest lounges you’ll find, and it makes for an extremely inviting environment in the middle of the busy airport.
There are plenty of places in the lounge to sit with a view of the terminal below.
If you want to do some people watching while you work, eat, drink or just relax, you’ll likely want to pick one of the seating areas in the bar or dining areas near the lounge’s large windows, which look out onto the terminal’s four large island check-in desks.
Amex Centurion Lounges are famous for their high-end complimentary food and beverage options, so if dining is your primary reason for stopping in, you’ll be best situated at one of the tables in the main dining room, as the lounge’s buffet will be right nearby.
There are plenty of seats in the dining area near the buffet.
As with other Centurion Lounges, food is currently being served from the buffet to customers by a lounge representative due to pandemic restrictions. But eventually, when all restrictions are lifted, guests will be able to serve themselves directly from the double-sided buffet.
Once all pandemic restrictions are lifted, both sides of the buffet will be accessible.
The new LaGuardia location retains Executive Chef Cédric Vongerichten from the lounge’s previous incarnation, which means the menu will continue to feature popular items such as french toast with market strawberry jam and fried chicken with honey lemongrass glaze. However, new menu items have been added, including an heirloom tomato salad with chili-lime vinaigrette and soup jamur, an aromatic mushroom soup.
There’s only one bar in the new LaGuardia Centurion Lounge, but it’s right around the corner from the buffet, and as usual, it features a vast array of high-end liquors, all available complimentary to lounge guests.
There’s only one bar in the Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia.
The bar area is the only section of the lounge that features high-top tables, so if you’re looking to stay conveniently near the refreshments, you may want to choose one of these seats.
An additional seating area is located directly next to the lounge’s bar.
Mixologist Jim Meehan has also been retained from the old LaGuardia lounge, and has designed original cocktails for guests such as the Lower East Cider and Grand Central. Centurion Lounge wine director Anthony Giglio has chosen wines both from around the world and New York state, while locally sourced beer is available from Coney Island Brewery and Captain Lawrence Brewing Company.
Even though it will be some time before business travel recovers from the pandemic, the Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia has been designed with plenty of space when you need to get some work done. A table in the work area has the same pop-up power outlets seen in other Centurion Lounges, so you can recharge your laptop while replying to email and Slack messages.
If you’re a business traveler, you’ll find spots to set up and plug in when you need to get some work done.
But one of our favorite Centurion Lounge features are the “solo” seats, which provide a cozy yet private area when you just need space to yourself without being distracted by the busy world around you. The new LaGuardia lounge doesn’t disappoint with a number of solo seats of varying design.
One of the best features of Amex Centurion Lounges are the solo seats.
And when you need even more privacy, you can jump into one of the lounge’s two phone rooms, which are available on a first-come first-served basis. These are particularly useful when you need to have a conversation on your cell but don’t want to disturb the other lounge guests — or have someone overhear any confidential business details.
If you need a private place to have a conversation on your cell, grab one of the lounge’s two phone rooms.
Given the current state of travel, you’re probably more likely to see families in the new Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia than business travelers. Parents looking for a spot to entertain their kids may want to try the lounge’s multipurpose room — while it’s not technically labeled as a family room, it features a collection of books that should please younger children.
The lounge’s multipurpose room features age-appropriate books for children.
On the other hand, adults looking for reading material can check out the lounge’s study space, a feature that’s unique to the new LaGuardia location. The small study space was designed in partnership with New York City independent bookstore McNally Jackson, who curated the collection of New York City-inspired books. The books are also available for purchase at McNally Jackson Books in Terminal B.
The lounge’s study space was designed in partnership with New York City independent bookstore McNally Jackson.
Also, accessible from the first seating area when you enter the lounge is a small room reserved exclusively for Amex Centurion card members. It features lounge seating, tables, a television and complete privacy from the rest of the lounge.
The small room off the first seating area is reserved for Amex Centurion card members.
And while there’s no spa in the new LaGuardia Centurion Lounge, there is one shower room, though it’s currently unavailable due to pandemic restrictions. The men’s and women’s restrooms are centrally located in the lounge and feature the usual L’Occitane soaps and lotions.
The restrooms in the Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia are centrally located.
The new Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia is a major improvement over the previous space.
If you ever visited the old Amex Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia, you know that it was a small, repurposed space that required riding up a rickety elevator or traipsing through back airport hallways (even past the airport’s dentist office) that were never designed with the public in mind. The new Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia is an enormous improvement over that now-demolished space, as it truly feels like a lounge built for its guests from the ground up.
While the new lounge isn’t as large as some of the others in the Amex Centurion network, it’s double the space of the old LaGuardia lounge, and it’ll primarily serve passengers departing from just one of the airport’s four terminals. The rooms are also so bright and airy that the space feels bigger than it is, and there are plenty of seats in the lounge’s multiple rooms.
So if you find yourself departing from Terminal B in the near future and you’ve got the right American Express card in your wallet, it’s worth your while to leave a little extra time to stop by, have a cocktail and enjoy the beautiful bright light of LaGuardia’s new Amex Centurion Lounge.
Read CNN Underscored’s complete guide to all the Amex Centurion Lounges.