Review: AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH

Review: AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH

 

The AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH just opened on June 24, 2016, and we checked it out after a Singapore First Class flight from Moscow to Houston (updated review forthcoming), before our flight back to NYC. But first, we had to find the lounge, which wasn't easy, at least for me.

AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Poster

 

AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Location, Access and Hours

The new AMEX Centurion Lounge, Houston IAH is only accessible by elevator. The problem is that when I noticed the poster above I didn't focus on that operative word, elevator, and instead just focused on Gate D6. I walked around D6 and of course didn't find the lounge. Nope, you instead need to ensure that you take the elevator to the Mezzanine level. To be fair, the AMEX Centurion Lounge map does mention elevator, although it doesn't mention that the lounge is located on the Mezzanine floor, which would be helpful.

AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Location: Access via Elevator Near D6

Once you get to the elevator, the fact that it's located on the Mezzanine floor is made clear:

Elevator to AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH

 

And in the elevator itself the Mezzanine is labeled with The Centurion Lounge:

Elevator to Mezzanine, for Centurion Lounge Houston IAH

 

The AMEX Centurion Lounge in Houston is open from 5:30am – 9pm daily. Here's who has access:

  • AMEX Platinum and Centurion card members enjoy complimentary access with their valid card, boarding pass for same day travel, and government issued ID.
  • AMEX Platinum and Centurion members who receive complimentary access may provide complimentary guest access to their immediate family (spouse or domestic partner and children under 18) or up to two guests. Guests and family members may only remain in the lounge when accompanied by the card holder.
  • Other AMEX card holders may pay $50 for access, subject to space availability, and may bring in their children under 18 at no additional charge. You must pay $50 per person for all other guests 18 and older.

Entrance, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Review

 

There's a big plant wall to the right of the Centurion Lounge Reception, as is typical for most Centurion Lounge entrances:

Plant Wall, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Amenities and Seating

If you've visited other AMEX Centurion Lounges, you'll be familiar with the WiFi password, which is currently at time of writing “MemberSince.” WiFi worked fine for my purposes of email and small file uploads.

On the right as you enter is lounge seating that seemed to largely go unused during our 1.5 hour visit.

Review: AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH

 

Just next to it is a Family Room / Kids' Play Room, which some of the other AMEX Centurion Lounges have as well. I think it's great for families with young children, and is bound to keep business travelers happier as well, since kids have some place to be kids–build, be silly, rest, read etc.–without disturbing those who are trying to get work done. And while I didn't see any really young kids during our short visit, given the somewhat messy state of the family room it certainly looked as though it had seen some use earlier in the day.

Family Room / Kids' Play Room, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

There was additional seating next to the Family Room, as well as some black sofa type seating that I've seen before at other AMEX Centurion lounges, with handy power outlets to plug in devices.

Seating, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Review

 

What we really loved and didn't even know about until a kind lounge staffer saw my son flagging in the dining area, is that there's a rest area with day beds that can be used for a quick nap. I can't tell you how welcome this was. I slept several hours on our Moscow to Houston flight, but even though I ensured my son rested with his sleep mask on, he never did fall asleep apparently. So he was tired by the time we got to Houston, and was able to actually sleep some on one of the three day beds.

Tranquility Room with Day Beds, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

There's also a shower suite which is accessible for the mobility impaired. To access it, check with the front desk when you arrive at the lounge for availability. Here's the suite, which is one large room with a toilet, sink, ottoman where clean towels are placed, and the shower.

Shower Room, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

Sink and Vanity, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

Shower Room Toilet and Ottoman, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

The shower itself took a minute or so to warm up and I've had better water pressure, but it was very refreshing and welcome to have shower facilities.

Shower, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Review

 

L'Occitane bath products are provided:

L'Occitane Bath Products, Shower Suite, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston IAH Food and Drink

The dining area is anchored at one end by a map artwork with a communal table:

World Map and Communal Table, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

And also by the bar, where a bartender was available to mix complimentary cocktails (menu below). On the opposite wall is a banquette, the most comfortable option for the dining tables.

Bar, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

Dinng Room and Banquette, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

The cocktail menu by mixologist Jim Meehan looked intriguing, and had I not been coming off a long international flight and trying to stay hydrated, get work done, and take care of a tired 8 year old, I would have tried one of the selections.

Cocktail Menu by Jim Meehan, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Cocktail Menu

 

As it was, we decided to refuel slightly. My son wasn't that hungry and at my urging had some healthy salad and fresh fruit:

Salad and Fresh Peach, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

The buffet featured some nice flavors on the buffet, including braised chicken with harissa, dried fruit, nuts and avocado crema and chickpea and egg stew.

Braised Chicken with Harissa and Chickpea Stew, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

I like that there's always plenty of salad, such as these beets with savory granola and spiced yogurt, as well as other fresh vegetables and fresh fruits offered in Centurion Lounges.

Salads, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

Salad Vegetables, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

There was also steamed zucchini and summer squash, quinoa and corn on the cob, as well as mushroom broth with miso, that I didn't try.

Squash, Quinoa and Corn, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

Mushroom Soup, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

Even the dessert had an interesting twist: black bepper panna cotta with vanilla poached stone fruit. Normally I'm not a fan of panna cotta, but the flavor combination here was delicious.

Black Pepper Panna Cotta with Vanilla Poached Stone Fruit

 

The teas in this lounge were Twinings, and not Mighty Leaf, which I prefer, so I didn't have my usual tea.

Twinings Tea, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

Instead, I opted for a decaf cappuccino with lowfat milk, which you could select from the many espresso drink options on the adjacent coffee machine.

Espresso Drink Choices, Coffee Machine, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

Cappuccino, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

There were also some bar cookies, but these were practically rock hard, and not as good as the brownies that are usually on offer at Centurion Lounges.

Bar Cookies, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

If you prefer a cold drink such as iced tea or infused water, that's available as well:

Iced Tea and Infused Water, AMEX Centurion Lounge Houston Review

 

The Verdict

I enjoyed our visit to the AMEX Centurion Lounge in Houston IAH more than most of my other AMEX Centurion Lounge visits, for a few reasons. We were fortunate in that the lounge wasn't very crowded during our mid-afternoon visit on a Tuesday, and a less crowded lounge is always much more pleasant. Also, as I mentioned, the tranquility area with its day beds was fantastic, and my son actually slept there for about 40 minutes. I also was happy to be able to take a shower (most of the larger AMEX Centurion Lounges have a shower suite) and L'Occitane bath products are among my favorites, so that's another plus.

Food and drink is another big highlight at AMEX Centurion Lounges, and my favorites of the current menu were the braised chicken with harissa, the beets with savory granola and spiced yogurt, and particularly the black pepper panna cotta with vanilla poached stone fruit. The cocktail menu looked good, and would be happy to hear from readers who have tried any of the concoctions on their recent visit to the new AMEX Centurion Lounge in Houston.

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