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Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia Airport: So much better than expected

November 12, 2015
Chocolate chip waffles with raspberries at the Centurion Lounge at LGA

When you enter the Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York City, you’re met by smiling faces sitting behind a check-in counter in front of an impressive living wall. On first glance, the lounge seems to lack the glitz of the Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas or the expansive space of the one in San Francisco. In fact, it’s located off an institutional-looking upstairs corridor in the old airport, which is scheduled for a total redesign.

Living wall at the Centurion Lounge at LGA

Living wall at the Centurion Lounge at LGA

Yet when we arrived at about 9:30AM on a Saturday, the lounge offered a true oasis that felt just as comfortable and welcoming as other Centurion Lounges we had visited. During the hour we were there before our flight, wait staff and housekeepers were constantly polishing, dusting and cleaning up to keep it sparkling clean.

One Yelp visitor aptly characterized the Centurion Lounge at LGA

as a “First-Class lounge in a Third-World Airport.”

The space

The lounge belongs to a family of six “airport retreats” operated nationwide that are complimentary to holders of certain American Express Platinum cards.

Relatively uncrowded on a Saturday morning, the lounge is divided into three spaces: It had a light-filled library/ study/work area with computer monitors, a printer, a wall of magazines and newspapers that would be a welcome find to most business or leisure travelers; a full-service bar and dining room whose menu has been created by CIA-trained Chef Cedric Vongerichten (son of Jean-Georges); and a large connecting corridor with ample lounge space and TV monitors along the wall.

Comfortable lounge area with flat screen TVs on the opposite wall

Comfortable lounge area with flat screen TVs on the opposite wall

Additional lounges in the dining area

Additional lounges in the dining area

View of the dining room

View of the dining room

Food 

The food options at this lounge (like that at other Centurion Lounges) were fresh, local, and very appetizing. The buffet was replenished continually so it is also appealing. On the day we were there, the breakfast menu included four gourmet dishes: two kinds of eggs, waffles and French toast. With a crisp exterior and moist inside, the French toast was exceptional. The buffet also offered fresh fruits, baked goods, yogurt and oatmeal. Unlimited wines and spirits are also complimentary.

Egg in a hole with Hollandaise and herbs

Egg in a hole with Hollandaise and herbs

Poached eggs, rosemary roasted potatoes and chimichurri sauce

Poached eggs, rosemary roasted potatoes and chimichurri sauce

Crispy French toast with caramelized apple

Crispy French toast with caramelized apple

Hot oatmeal

Hot oatmeal

Full-service bar at the Lounge

Full-service bar at the Lounge

Bottom Line 

When you feel as if you probably should have arrived at the airport earlier and are reluctant to leave for your gate when it’s flight time, you know that an airport lounge has achieved its purpose.


IF YOU GO

Centurion Lounge at LaGuardia Airport

  • Entry is complimentary for Centurion members and certain Amex Platinum Card holders (who can enter with immediate family members or two guests). Day passes are available for other Amex card members at a cost of $50 per day. (see current entry requirements and guest policy)
  • Located on the 3d floor (just outside security) between Concourses B & C
  • Open 5:30 AM to 8PM

Previously on More Time To Travel:

  • Reply
    Michele Peterson
    November 16, 2015 at 9:06 am

    The NYC Centurion Lounge sounds well worth the cost for both the tranquility and the quality of the cuisine. It would be easy to spend $50 elsewhere and get half the experience! We’ve got a gold AMEX so will give this a try

  • Reply
    Janice Chung
    November 16, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    OK, the first picture alone had me sold! I’m actually flying into/out of LaGuardia in December; however, I doubt my Priority Pass membership includes this lounge…..as soon as I submit this comment, I”m going to check. Thanks for sharing the information (and the pictures of the food!)

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      I don’t think that Priority Pass member ship will cut it:-(

  • Reply
    The GypsyNesters
    November 16, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Love the line “First-Class lounge in a Third-World Airport.” We don’t use LaGuardia that much, and I’m not sure if my Amex card is special enough, but we’ll have to check next time we are there.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Centurion Lounges are expanding to a variety of airports. Our favorite one is in San Francisco.

  • Reply
    Sue Reddel
    November 17, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    We had the pleasure of stopping there a few months ago. It certainly is a relaxing and very tasty respite. They also pour a mean drink too! I’m glad they’re redesigning the area it’s in. It was so industrial we were sure we were going the wrong way!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 18, 2015 at 10:13 am

      The lounge is definitely a shiny spot in an aging, dingy airport~

  • Reply
    Jackie Smith
    November 20, 2015 at 12:54 am

    This does sound like a bright spot in an otherwise non descript airport. We have found we are disappointed in some of the ‘elite’ lounges we’ve visited in the last year and non (asidefrom Emirates, which was top of the line) offered anything near the quality and selection of food you’ve pictured in this lounge.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      November 20, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      I totally agree that many airline lounges are no longer “elite.” Many that we have visited our old and overcrowded with few amenities to speak of. That’s why this one (and other Centurion lounges we’ve visited) really stand out.

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