We had a 4pm checkout from the Sheraton Seattle, so we arrived at SeaTac Airport with a few hours to spare before our 8:50pm hop to Vancouver. Thankfully there were two lounges we could access – the United Club courtesy of my Star Alliance Gold card, and the American Express Centurion Lounge courtesy of my Amex Business Platinum credit card.
American Express operates its own proprietary lounges in several airports – besides Seattle, there are also Centurion Lounges in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston Intercontinental, Las Vegas, New York LaGuardia, Miami, and San Francisco, as well as a handful of airports abroad like Buenos Aires Ezeiza and Mexico City. These lounges are available to anyone holding an American Express Platinum or Business Platinum card, issued in any country.
The Seattle Centurion Lounge is definitely the "baby" out of all the Centurion Lounges. It was only recently renovated to include a full bar and additional seating area; prior to that, it was known as a "Centurion Studio" because of the limited space and amenities. My friend PointsNerd actually reviewed the "studio" last year before the renovations were complete.
The lounge is located in Concourse B, opposite Gate B3, and is open from 5am to 10pm. Upon entering, you are welcomed by a large backlit American Express sign. A front desk agent will check your eligible Amex credit card and boarding pass (cardholders are allowed to bring in up to two complimentary guests).
The lounge basically consists of two large rooms. Upon first entering, you're in the main room, which was previously the entirety of the lounge before the second area was added.
There was very little seating available in the main area when we were in the lounge, so we took up a spot near the back. I can definitely see how the lounge can get crowded during peak hours, and how that would've been a major problem prior to the renovations.
The decor in this part of the lounge is tastefully done, in my opinion. As with all Centurion Lounges, the lounge designers aimed to integrate a bit of local flavour into the lounge, and the wood finishes reflect that here.
The seating in the back was more comfortable anyway, with a few rows of plush chairs available.
There was also plenty of bar seating against the wall, with power and USB outlets conveniently positioned every couple of spots.
The lounge also had booth-style seats available that looked extremely cozy and comfortable. However, the unoccupied booths all had "Reserved" placards placed on their respective tables, which puzzled me. For whom were these seats being reserved, especially in a lounge with no hot food options at all, let alone a full dinner service?
I asked the staff at the front desk, and was told that they were reserved for holders of the American Express Centurion Card (otherwise known as the Black Card). Apparently, Black Card holders must be able to get a seat in the lounge upon arrival, and so these placards are put up in case every other seat in the house gets taken.
The newly added portion of the lounge has a whole different feel to it, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing a splendid view of the jet bridges and tarmac. The decor in this "room" of the lounge is fresher and more modern. I especially liked the Chihuly-inspired light fixtures – you just can't escape the influence of that man in this town.
One of the major additions with the recent lounge renovations was a well-stocked bar, complete with locally-inspired offerings such as Georgetown Brewing Company IPA and bottles of Jones Soda.
Unfortunately, the renovations stopped short of adding a full kitchen to the lounge, which meant that there was no hot food available. The food spread was limited to soup, salad, snacks, and desserts, which were tasty but ultimately nothing special. There was also the usual selection of coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
As you can see in a few of the pictures, there's a lot of wall art in this lounge (at least by airport lounge standards), all of which was inspired by famous Seattle musicians. I thought that was a great touch.
I thought that the Centurion Lounge Seattle had pretty much all the makings of a very good airport lounge. Though it isn't spacious by any stretch of the imagination, the decor in the lounge is tasteful and true to its local roots, the seating options are varied, and the recently added bar and seating area certainly marks an improvement over the Centurion Studio days.
Unfortunately, the lounge is sorely missing a full kitchen. Offering high-quality, locally-inspired cuisine is a key component of Amex's overall proposition with Centurion Lounges, and I'm sad to say that salad and finger food just don't live up to the billing. In my opinion, despite the recent renovations, the Seattle lounge still needs to make this one crucial improvement in order to become fully worthy of the Centurion Lounge title.