For a recent short flight from Hong Kong, I was taking a carrier which was not part of any alliance. Luckily, I had access to the American Express Centurion Lounge through my American Express card and was also invited to visit the exclusive Centurion card (the legendary black card!) area.
The lounge was located up the escalator just before Gate 60. It is opposite the United Airlines lounge. Access to the lounge is limited to cardholders of the American Express Platinum card and the Centurion card, as well as two guests.
Main Lounge Area
The entrance of the lounge was consistent with other American Express Centurion Lounges; a foliage wall behind the marble check-in desk. I was promptly checked in and walked down the narrow walkway leading to the main area of the lounge. On the right side of this narrow walkway were two meeting rooms come business centres with work desks and desktops with printers. This area was not really utilized when I visited.
At the end of the walkway were two short chairs and a cute painting of a dog sitting on a chest with the words American Express. This space, again, felt like another decorative area which I never saw anyone use. Turning right at this point lead into the main area of the lounge, where a beautiful metal frame housed the large bar in the centre of this space.
There were high wireframe bar stools at the bar and various other seating options around the lounge. As the lounge was on a higher level, there was a balcony feeling to the area, as the sides of the lounge overlooked the airport and the high ceilings. Comfortable low lounging chairs were placed near the railings here. There was another tall table and high chairs at the edge of the lounge.
At the far end of this area was the buffet spread and a few smaller dining tables. There was a good mix of western and asian options for the buffet. To the left side of the dining area was a small check-in counter and glass door which lead to the Centurion area, while the right side of the dining area lead to the bathrooms and shower area.
I hung around in the regular area and got a few drinks from the bar. The bar had a great list of signature cocktails curated by renowned mixologist Jim Meehan, and a wine list curated by renowned wine expert Anthony Giglio. The lounge was relatively quiet when I was there.
After my cocktail, I proceeded to the Centurion area. This exclusive area comprised of 2 compartments. The first was two rows of white marble tables with blue chairs lining both sides of the wall. The tables were separated by a wireframe.
The other compartment also incorporated dining tables lining both sides of the wall, but in different styles. The left side had semi circle lounging sofas and seats which catered for larger groups, while the right side had small booths of circle tables and 2 chairs. I went to one of the booths on the left side as I was with 2 people. We sat down and were promptly given a menu.
The difference between the Centurion area and the regular area for the lounge, is that the Centurion area featured a sit-down dining menu instead of a buffet. The menu, which consisted of Western and Asian options, was designed by the chefs from Yan Toh Heen, the 2 Michelin star Cantonese restaurant at the Intercontinental hotel in Hong Kong.
As we were a few people there and we had the chance to try various dishes on the menu. We ordered a Vietnamese salad, the Asian mushroom and black chicken soup, and the Asian combination starter which had some fried dumplings and rolls. They also served the higher end GH Mumm Grand Cordon champagne in the centurion area, as opposed to GH Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne served in the regular area of the lounge.
For the main course, we tried the pan-fried salmon, the truffle risotto, the honey barbecued pork and wok-fried beef shoulder with spicy sauce. The servings were generous (more truffles than I expected, for a lounge!), and the flavours were delicious. The service was also superb, with the waitresses constantly checking up on us and refilling our drinks. We had egg tarts and a plate of fruits with sorbet for our dessert.
After the meal, I hung around the area and caught up with some work. The internet speed was great, and the centurion area was generally peaceful. I left the lounge after a while and proceeded to my gate.
I was very impressed with the whole American Express Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong International Airport. For a complimentary lounge offered to cardholders, this lounge was on par with the best airport lounges at the Hong Kong airport, such as the Cathay ones, and definitely better than the Plaza Premium ones. I look forward to American Express opening more lounges, especially internationally. I would also recommend that those who are eligible to consider this lounge as an option next time!
Fly Away For Free
I usually book my flights for free on air miles and American Express Rewards which convert directly to British Airways Avios (along with other airline miles). The FREE Amex Gold Card is an incredible deal with a huge free bonus of Membership Rewards. You can apply for the US card right here. For the UK card, you will need to drop me an email for a referral to get extra referral bonus points.
Please note, it is only the paid Platinum American Express Card which will get you into this lounge for free, not the Gold Card, but the Platinum Card comes at a price, hence the exclusivity of this lounge.
If you are US based, you can also fly transatlantic, to Hawaii or Europe for free by taking out this excellent (free) credit card. Read more in our easy guide.
Review by contributor Lenard Lim.