The shiny new American Express Centurion Lounge at Los Angeles is now open, adding to the airport's growing list of top-shelf lounges as well as AMEX's own roster of Centurion Lounges around the world.
It's also the largest American Express lounge yet, spanning some 1,300m² of the airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal. But as a counterpoint to LAX's annual tally of 88 million harried travellers, the AMEX Centurion Lounge "will be a centre of tranquility," the card company says, based on a triple-play of
- unique spa services and wellness experiences from Exhale
- a bespoke menu from Los Angeles-based, award-winning Chef Nancy Silverton
- locally inspired and produced artwork by Ellierex
American Express Centurion Lounge, LAX: location
The AMEX Centurion Lounge at LAX is located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), making it an obvious choice for eligible passengers ahead of long overseas flights, along with shorter intercontinental hops such as up to Canada or down to Mexico.
Specifically, the Centurion Lounge is on level 4 – one level down from the Oneworld and Qantas lounges – and overlooking the terminal's central atrium.
However, the AMEX Centurion Lounge LAX is also accessible to passengers jetting out from terminals 4 through to 8 – including those on domestic US flights – via the 'airside' TBIT Connector walkway, without the time, headache and hassle of going back through security.
(Delta Air Lines' passengers can also hop onto the airside shuttle bus between T2/T3 and TBIT).
The closest terminal to TBIT accessible via the walkway is T4, which is the primary LAX hub of Qantas' US partner American Airlines, with around a five minute walk there and back.
As a rule of thumb, allow a 10 minute round trip for every terminal from T4 to T8, so you're looking at a half-hour window for visiting the AMEX Centurion Lounge if you're jetting to Seattle on Alaska Airlines (T6), and you'd want almost an hour up your sleeve ahead of a United Airlines flight departing from T8.
American Express Centurion Lounge, LAX: opening hours, access
The AMEX Centurion Lounge at LAX will be open daily from 6.30am to 11pm – a fairly broad window covering most departures, especially from TBIT, although many international flights are still pushing back from the gate at 1am.
Entry to American Express Centurion Lounges requires an American Express Platinum Charge Card, Business Platinum Card, Corporate Platinum Card issued directly by AMEX in any country, including Australia, or of course the exclusive invitation-only Centurion Card or Business Centurion Card.
Other Platinum-grade American Express cards – such as a Qantas Ultimate AMEX, Velocity Platinum AMEX, AMEX Explorer or Platinum Edge card, Westpac Altitude Platinum or Black AMEX, for example – won't don't qualify you for access.
Even with the correct card in your travel wallet, access to Centurion lounges is restricted to a maximum of three hours before your flight's departure, which may somewhat cruel the appeal of the LAX lounge for lengthy transits.
American Express Centurion Lounge, LAX: dining
AMEX Global Dining Collection Chef Nancy Silverton, herself a child of SoCal, has been charged with bringing "a taste of California" to the exclusive lounge.
“When I began developing the menu for the American Express Centurion Lounge at LAX, I pulled inspiration from my restaurants and the rich Los Angeles culinary scene,” Silverton explains. “I want lounge guests to experience my passion in every bite and enjoy their travels with a vibrant taste of our wonderful city."
Those bites will be seasonal, and draw heavily on local produce, with some of the "locally-inspired dishes" to include asparagus egg pie, panettone French toast, farro Salad with fresh herbs and feta, 'mozza meatballs', roasted beets, and butterscotch budino pudding.
There's also a full bar with premium wines plus specialty cocktails crafted by Centurion Lounge mixologist Jim Meehan, who has drawn inspiration from Los Angeles’ cocktail culture, commercial aviation and Silverton’s menu, with coffee from LA's City Bean Roasters.
American Express Centurion Lounge, LAX: relaxation
The Centurion Lounge at LAX features two seperate 'tranquility rooms', dubbed Sunrise and Moonrise. These first-of-their-kind spaces offer quiet, brightly- and dimly-lit areas where travellers can relax and recharge, while also helping them adjust to new time zones.
The Sunrise room, AMEX says, "helps awaken the senses with illuminated walls, emanating an atmosphere of dawn-like hues."
As a counterpoint, the more subdued Moonrise room "ushers in a sense of nighttime relaxation through a starry night inspired ceiling, creating an atmosphere of subtle, yet relaxing energy."
All else being equal, including access of course, we'd suggest a visit to the cosy outdoor deck of the Star Alliance LAX lounge up on TBIT level six is another compelling proposition ahead of an evening flight.
The LAX Centurion Lounge also features an Exhale spa with a range of cost-extra treatments ranging from conventional hand therapies and chair massages to "ear reflexology to relax the mind and ease the body, Reiki treatments to restore the body’s equilibrium, and Light Therapy designed to hydrate skin."
American Express Centurion Lounge, LAX: design
The LAX Centurion Lounge has its own look, and in common with the neighbouring Star Alliance and Oneworld business class lounges, draws subtle design influences from its location.
Artefacts from the movie industry are scattered throughout the lounge, while a featured seating area is framed by a backlit silhouette of the Hollywood Hills.
There are also private noise-buffering workspaces, a "family friendly" room (which we hope is also sound-proofed, and located well away from those workspaces) and shower suites stocked with L'Occitane amenities.
The Los Angeles lounge joins a steadily-growing Centurion constellation, with New York JFK Terminal 4 and London Heathrow Terminal 3 also slated for openings in 2020.