American Express opened up their fifth Centurion Lounge last Thursday in Miami. Located on the 4th level by Gate D12, in the former British Airways lounge, the Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5am to 11pm and provides a wealth of amenities over a standard airline lounge.
I was returning from a work trip to North Carolina and just happened to book a connection in Miami a few weeks back, not knowing the exact date for the lounge opening. A few days before my return trip, I noticed photos from several friends of mine who attended the launch party for the lounge. I figured that the opening date was just around the corner, so I did some digging and discovered that the first day of operations would be the day I flew through on my way back to Kansas City. Though I am not a huge fan of other Centurion Lounge locations, I was eager to check out Miami and see all that it had to offer.
The Centurion Lounge was a very short walk from my arrival gate- D11. I only had about twenty minutes to explore the lounge before my next flight, so I was pleased that it was so close.
The elevator took forever to make it down to the ground level and back to the fourth level. For a moment or two, it seemed like we were going to be stuck, though the doors swung open and I instantly recognized the signature scent used by the Centurion Lounge.
The Living Wall
I was immediately welcomed in by the lounge staff and some AmEx representatives who were in Miami to oversee the launch day. The agent who processed my documents seemed to be having problems using the computer, though I'd attribute that to not being used to the new system.
A few minutes later, the agent handed back my documents and gave me a run down of the lounge features. She indicated that since I had alread visited the lounges in Dallas, Las Vegas & San Francisco, I'd find this one fairly similar. I was also given a gift bag as a welcome gift for visiting on the first day of operations.
My bag contained an umbrella, though I heard from friends who visited that received an umbrella and USB charger. They also seemed to have some bags set aside for Centurion cardholders, which appeared to contain a bottle of the lounge scent and other gifts.
As you pass the front desk, the entrance to Exhale spa is on the left. They provide a variety of complimentary services.
From there, the lounge branches into two sections. On the left, seats along the floor to ceiling windows offer a great view of the airfield and during daytime, allow for plenty of natural light to enter the lounge. Power outlets along the windows are abbundant and they even offer USB plugs to charge every device you are carrying.
Floor to Ceiling Windows
Continuing down the hallway, the bathrooms featuring L'OCCITANE amenities are on the left, and ahead is the business center and "community table".
On the opposite wall of the living area, there was an assortment of magazines and newspapers, as well as a TV with the local news. There is a small amount of seating in this area, also with a nice amount of power outlets, an apparent necessity in our lives.
Soundproof Family Room
The other side of the lounge features two amenities that most users of the Centurion Lounges seem to value the most; the bar and dining area.
Keeping with the theme of the other Centurion Lounges, all drinks from the bar are complimentary! Unlike your typical airline club, the Centurion Lounge serves some high-end alcohol, so you'll actually get something good vs. the swill that airline lounges use for their free product. Cocktails served at the bar were designed by Jim Meehan, while wines have been handpicked by Anthony Giglio.
If you thought the bar was great, you'll really enjoy the dining area. The menu was created by local Chef Michelle Bernstein and offers some great items. During my visit, they had the typical salad and cold food line-up, but the most popular item was the boneless fried chicken. Paired with mashed potatoes and a spicy dressing, it definitely hit the spot.
Excellent boneless fried chicken!
Just before leaving the lounge, I did some final exploring and spent a few minutes talking with the front desk staff. They indicated that they had over 600 visitors on the first day! and were expecting many more once word got out about the lounge. I did inquire about the rooftop area next to the bar, but the agent mentioned that the airport authority would not allow AmEx to build a SkyDeck.
A great location for a SkyDeck!
On my way out of the lounge, I passed by a small nook to the right of the front desk. With just a few chairs, this seemed like the perfect place to be out of the way of the main parts of the lounge and would be quiet enough for phone calls.