A brand-new Centurion Lounge is opening at London Heathrow — and we got a first look
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On Tuesday, 12 October, after a lengthy pandemic-induced delay, the long-awaited London Heathrow American Express Centurion Lounge finally opened.
The Amex Centurion lounge joins a glut of fantastic lounges at Terminal 3, including the Cathay Pacific and Qantas lounges and the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.
With its opening, Amex has secured its first lounge in Europe and celebrates the debut of its third Centurion lounge to open this year. TPG was invited to get a first look around the space and see everything the lounge has to offer.
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The lounge opens today, Tuesday 12 October at 11 a.m., with regular operating hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
To access the lounge you’ll need the right credit card. The Platinum Card or The Business Platinum Card from American Express and the Amex Centurion card will all do the trick, along with some other limited U.S.-issued Amex cards. You can also guest in two fellow travellers for free.
The lounge is located in Heathrow’s Terminal 3 but in a different spot compared to all the other lounges, and its entrance is not obvious.
You can access the lounge via a doorway next to the Ted Baker shop in the main shopping area of the terminal right after security followed by a lift ride one floor up. Some Centurion lounges are positioned before security, but by being after security and near the gates, this lounge location will allow for a more relaxed stay.
Airlines are still ramping up at Heathrow and terminal usage is still in flux. Right now, you’ll find flights operated by Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Air France, KLM, Emirates, Finnair and Japan Airlines in the area.
The Centurion Lounge spans 7,000 square feet and has a variety of different areas. You first pass through the entrance lobby hosting the member services desk backed with a lush, green wall made of moss as a nod to London’s Hyde Park.
As you walk down the corridor from the reception area, you first come across a mixed work and relaxation space. There are individual booth setups and cocooned seating with a private feel.
You’ll also find two phone rooms with soundproofed doors in this area, providing the perfect space to take confidential and important calls.
A little farther along is the biggest space in the lounge. Here, visitors will find more traditional restaurant-style tables, higher bar-style tables with charging ports and a very swanky-looking bar complete with luxe Tom Dixon light fixtures and the all-important buffet. The design details of the bar in particular were stunning.
Right off this section is a smaller and cosier relaxation area with comfortable armchairs.
The final main space in the lounge features a mix of comfier sofa seating with additional workstations around the perimeter. The detailing around the entire lounge feels very “Amex” (in a good way!) and has subtle nods to the lounge’s location in London.
You won’t be stuck searching for power here. Mains and USB charging ports are found throughout the lounge on tabletops, built into the floor and hidden in the arms of chairs.
There are even some workstations with wireless phone chargers built into the surface of the desks.
Food and beverage
The menu in the lounge is designed by chef Assaf Granit of the Michelin-starred Shabour in Paris (and the Michelin-recognised Coal Office restaurant in London).
While the lounge hadn’t yet opened to passengers when we visited, a full lineup of dishes was presented to try, including Granit’s famed Kubalah bread and other tasty Middle Eastern specialities such as shakshukit (a beef and lamb dish with tomatoes and tahini) and desserts like his “Oh My Baklava” olive oil cake with pistachio anglaise and rose water diplomat.
The selection available to us was supposedly more limited than what will be on offer on a usual day and if that is indeed the case, this Centurion lounge is set to become quite the culinary destination. I sampled almost everything at the buffet and the festive chicken bowl and the sabich sandwich were stand-out dishes.
As was the aforementioned baklava dessert.
The British theme continues with a tea cart featuring hot and cold drink selections.
Over at the bar, we were treated to the nonalcoholic “Hare of the Fog” cocktail, a take on a negroni using the English spirits and aperitifs Seedlip and Æcorn. A selection of complimentary red, white and sparkling wines and cocktails will all be available for those who prefer a stiffer beverage.
At the very back of the lounge, a corridor adorned with framed silk scarves leads to two shower rooms including one accessible room, a wellness room and the loos.
The spaces are all fresh and bright and, in another clever nod to the location, the products including the soap and lotions are by Soapsmith and are Hackney-themed, with regularly rotating scents inspired by the different London boroughs.
It was only as I left the lounge after a couple of hours that I realised there were no windows in the entire space. I put a high value on views — especially at an airport — but American Express has been so clever with the lighting and design I hadn’t even noticed their absence.
The overall design and aesthetic of the lounge are fantastic. The food and beverage offering will satisfy even the pickiest of travellers. Combine that with a thoughtful division of places to relax and efficient work setups with all the amenities you might need and you have a space worth arriving to the airport early.
All images by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy
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