I have been DYING to see the Centurion Lounge in Houston since it opened. Outside of the Centurion Studio in Seattle, most of the other Centurion Lounges are in cities that I do not frequent. Luckily on my most recent trip, I got a chance (albeit a very quick chance) to experience the lounge.
One thing I really like about the Centurion Lounge at IAH is that it is extremely difficult to find. Signage is minimal and it is very counterintuitive based on where lounges regularly are. This means that most times the lounge feels very private, which is great if you want to get some peace and quiet. From my experience at the Centurion Studio in Seattle, I would say that the lounge at IAH had about half as many people with 3x the space.
To get to the lounge, you will have to get to Terminal D. As a pro tip, if you are departing out of any terminal in IAH, you should choose Terminal D. This is because Terminal D is primarily used by international airlines that have 1-2 departures a day so it’s typically not very busy. We were departing out of Terminal E but chose to go to D because there was no wait at security. We were literally the only ones in the security area.
Once you clear security at Terminal D, you will see an elevator tucked away inside the Duty Free Store. Take that elevator down to the Mezzanine level, walk down a long corridor for a minute until you reach paradise.
The lounge is accessible by American Express Platinum Card holders. I did a review of both the Personal Platinum and the Business Platinum card a while back and both are still amongst the best cards available to Canadians with access to the Centurion Lounge being a big benefit.
Check-In was simple and quick and Platinum Card holders are able to enter and bring in 2 guests.
Photos of the Lounge
We didn’t get to spend a lot of time in the lounge due to a mishap on the way to the airport (don’t take the HOV lane if you don’t know what you’re doing … you risk taking it for miles and miles past your intended exit) so I will simply provide a review of what I experienced later in the post. For now, here are some pictures of the lounge.
Food and Drink
Now this is why I was excited … and I gotta tell ya. I was not disappointed. This was some of the best food I have experienced in a lounge. The only other lounge that compares was the Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge in Istanbul. The menu was curated and created by James Beard Award-winning chef, Justin Yu who is the chef and owner of the critically acclaimed restaurant, Oxheart, in Houston.
I didn’t get a chance to take down all the menu items but the food on my plate (3rd helping) was Braised Chicken Thighs with Harissa, Dried Fruit, Nuts and Avocado Crema and it was AMAZING! The dessert that I had was a Black Pepper Panna Cotta with Vanilla Poached Stone Fruit. I also had a chance to have the Beets with Savory Granola and Spiced Yogurt and Parsley. Everything was beautifully presented and it tasted amazing!
The bartender, Charlie, insisted on making me a drink (in a very friendly barkeep sort of way) and I asked him for a Mojito. I watched with awe as he hand ground the mint and poured a very stiff drink. It really harkens back to the day where bartenders were craftsmen rather than 23 year old guys pouring pre-mixed syrup into a glass with a shot of vodka.
Service was unbelievably top notch and you can really tell that the employees here are very proud of the lounge and so they should be. When I was leaving, the front desk staff asked how our stay was and I told them that it was some of the best food I had ever had in a lounge. They were visibly delighted to hear that.
As I mentioned, we didn’t get a chance to stay long but I will be back to Houston in about a month and a half so I intend on spending a lot more time there.