Review: Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong Airport

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The Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong opened in early October, and I had the chance to check it out yesterday, and wanted to share my thoughts.

As many of you probably know, American Express operates several Centurion Lounges, which can be accessed by those with The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN.

Most Amex Centurion Lounges are in the US, as they have locations in DallasHoustonLas VegasMiamiNew York, PhiladelphiaSan Francisco, and Seattle.

Amex also has some Centurion Lounges internationally, though I haven’t found them to be as consistently good. For example, I’ve reviewed the Centurion Lounges in Mexico CitySao Paulo, and Sydney, and none of them really compared to what’s offered in the US. The Amex Centurion Lounge Hong Kong is the first Centurion Lounge outside the US that was built from scratch, so I was curious to see how it compared to the rest. For what it’s worth, the lounge is built in the space that was previously occupied by the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

Centurion Lounge Hong Kong location

The Centurion Lounge Hong Kong is located in Terminal 1 of Hong Kong International Airport. It’s one level up from the main passenger concourse, and you can access it using the escalator near gate 60.

When you walk down the long main concourse at the airport, turn right when you get to Cathay Pacific’s Bridge Lounge.


Hong Kong Airport Terminal 1

Then maybe 100 feet later you’ll see the escalator in the middle of the walkway, with signage to “Lounges.”


Escalator to Centurion Lounge Hong Kong Airport

At the top of the escalator turn right, then turn left, then turn right again. To the right is the United Club, then there’s the Priority Pass lounge, and then there’s the Centurion Lounge.


Escalator to Centurion Lounge Hong Kong Airport

Centurion Lounge Hong Kong hours

The Centurion Lounge Hong Kong is open daily from 5:30AM until 12:30AM.

Centurion Lounge Hong Kong access requirements

Those with The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, and American Express Centurion Card receive complimentary access to Centurion Lounges. Those with the above cards can bring in up to two guests at no additional cost.

Centurion Lounge Hong Kong review — seating

Much like the rest of the Centurion Lounges, this one has the signature exterior with tinted blue sliding doors, and then a reception desk with a wall of plants.


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong entrance

The associate at check-in was friendly, as I find to consistently be the case at Centurion Lounges. He explained where the buffet was located, and gave us the wifi password (which was the same as at all the other lounges).


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong reception

The main part of the lounge is located down a long walkway and to the right.


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong entryway


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong entryway

As you go down the walkway there’s a larger meeting room with a TV, then there’s a smaller meeting room, and then there’s a phone room. While I get that they like to have a meeting room as an amenity, given the limited size of the lounge I feel like all of this space should have just been used as part of the standard lounge.


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong meeting room


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong meeting room


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong phone room

Below is the view in the opposite direction of all these rooms.


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong view

At the end of the hallway was some American Express art and two chairs, and then the rest of the lounge was to the right of that.


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong seating

The Centurion Lounge is allegedly about 8,000 square feet, though to me it feels a bit smaller than that, as the lounge just consists of one main room (there’s also a private area for Centurion members, which might explain why the lounge doesn’t feel bigger for most of us).

The centerpiece of the lounge is the cafe and bar area. I’m not even sure how to describe the design, but it’s pretty visually striking.


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong bar area

Next to that are three sets of four chairs, with a TV along the wall.


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong seating


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong seating


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong seating

There’s additional cafe seating right by the bar on the side closest to the entrance, with a further six tables seating two people each.


Centurion Lounge Hong Kong seating

Lastly, there’s some high-top seating facing the ramp that seats seven people.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong seating


Amex Lounge Hong Kong seating

While there are nice views from the lounge throughout, you can’t beat this view of the lineup of heavies just outside the window.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport view

Centurion Lounge Hong Kong review — food & drinks

The main buffet area is at the far end of the lounge along the wall. I was there early in the morning, when breakfast was being served.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet

In terms of the breakfast selection, there were five types of salads in bowls, yogurt, cold cuts, cheese, pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, vegetables, sausage, bacon, dim sum, oatmeal, and chicken congee.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet


Amex Lounge Hong Kong buffet

There was also apple and orange at the buffet.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong juice

Across from the buffet was a drink station, with soft drinks and Twinings tea. While minor, its nice that they have San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna water.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong soft drinks & tea

Along another wall was a Melitta espresso machine.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong coffee machine

Along the bar area was cereal, pastries, muffins, and bread.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport bar


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport bar


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport breakfast selection


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport breakfast selection


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport breakfast selection

Centurion Lounges are known for their great cocktails, and this lounge had a delicious-sounding list. However, since it was so early in the morning, I didn’t try any.

The cocktail menu read as follows:

Meanwhile the wine menu read as follows:

Personally I was excited when I saw that the lounge had a proper espresso machine with a Lavazza grinder. If there’s one thing I appreciate it’s good coffee, and there’s a big taste difference between a machine coffee vs. a coffee made freshly by the barista (if nothing else, the taste of the milk is significantly different).

So when I saw this machine I asked one of the lounge staff if it would be possible to get a cappuccino from this machine. She responded “there’s a machine over there you can use.” “Yeah, but would it be possible to get a cappuccino from here instead?” “You can just go over there and push the button.” At that point she walked over to the machine with me and pushed the button for me.

Everyone working in the lounge was nice otherwise, so I’ll assume I just wasn’t being direct enough or that it was a miscommunication. Go figure that two minutes later I saw another lounge staff member using that machine to make a coffee.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport espresso machine

Centurion Lounge Hong Kong review — bathroom & shower

The lounge had similar bathrooms to the ones I’ve seen at most other Centurion lounges, with the shared sink and two stalls and two urinals in the mens bathroom. On top of that there were two shower suites, but they were both occupied when I visited. All of this was located behind the bar area.


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport hallway to bathrooms


Amex Lounge Hong Kong Airport bathroom

Amex Centurion Lounge HKG bottom line

On the plus side, this is the nicest Centurion Lounge I’ve visited design-wise, and is a substantial improvement over other international Centurion Lounges. The lounge was smaller than I was expecting, though wasn’t too crowded. The lounge staff were friendly, the views were great, and I liked that it overlooked the rest of the terminal, so felt spacious. The cocktails and wine selection were great as well.

However, I have one area that disappointed me, and one general thought. In terms of being disappointed, I thought the food selection was unimaginative and bland, and I would have expected to see something similar in a Priority Pass lounge. In fairness, breakfast is often the blandest meal in a lounge, so maybe the selection is better other times of day.

Then there’s my other overall thought. What makes Centurion Lounges in the US so nice is that usually US airline lounges are garbage, at least historically. Getting innovative cocktails, premium drinks, and good tasting hot food is a novelty in a US airline lounge. That simply isn’t the case in Asia. In Asia just about all lounges are good, and just about any airline lounge is going to be nicer than this.

In the case of Hong Kong, I’d say all Cathay Pacific first & business class lounges are better than this in terms of the food & drink selection.

So it’s not that the Centurion Lounge isn’t nice, but rather that the standard of lounges is higher in this part of the world, and therefore there’s less of a “wow” factor with these lounges. I’ll be sticking to Cathay Pacific’s First Class Pier Lounge from now on (not that I was expecting the Centurion Lounge to be better) when flying oneworld.

However, for those who don’t have access to a good airline lounge in Hong Kong, this is a very nice addition.

What do you make of Amex’s new Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong? Do you plan on visiting?

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Comments

  1. Only a Sapphire but will still probably stick to the Wing or Bridge…as you said, it’s a game-changer in the US but hardly in Asia

  2. Yeah, the food looks pretty disappointing for a Centurion lounge. Maybe it’s worth it over the Cathay business lounges if they are too busy and this one isn’t. I’ve had a good experience at the Virgin lounge in HKG, which has table service and a menu to order from which might put it a step above this one.

  3. now you are going into the heart of enemy territory, what prevails at home is a pale blimp on their radar screen. much like the US big 3 airlines, the lounges suffers the same defeat at the hands of asian counterparts. i had a better meal in their 1.5 hr economy flight than a 3-hr first class meal in US.

  4. One thing that I found odd was that there’s seating where the cereal towers are located. That means that if the lounge is full, you have to reach over someone to get cereal. It looks pretty, though.

  5. This is the first centurion lounge, other locations (SYD, DEL, EZE, etc.) are just Amex international lounges.

  6. This looks like a substantially better breakfast spread than at the SFO CL. I mean, I could eat my weight in dim sum, so maybe I’m biased. But yeah, it’s definitely “meh” for the CX lounges nearby, but we US-based flyers have a low standard already. Thanks for the write-up!

  7. @Varun, Ben mentions under access requirements and also the fact that there is a reserved space for Centurion members…

  8. Generic food in a HKG lounge?? Pretty damn “meh”. CX lounges have the awesome noodle bar and HK milk tea; I’d expect AMEX to bring in someone from Mak’s to do won ton noodles…

  9. Disappointing that it’s so small and there’s really no “lounge” seating. Compares poorly to the CX J lounges in pretty much all respects. Maybe I’d stop for a bite if I were flying UA, but can’t otherwise see any reason to visit.

  10. The menu and food is a real head-scratcher. They haven’t paired with a local chef as with every US lounge, and even though from the AMEX website they tout, “tastes of Hong Kong with a locally inspired menu.”
    Except for the dim sum and congee there’s nothing for breakfast, lunch or dinner that fits that description.

    Breakfast
    5:30AM – 11:30AM
    Scrambled Eggs

    Chicken Sausage, Bacon, & Sautéed Vegetables

    Yogurt and fruit bar

    Dim Sum Basket

    Pancakes | Maple Syrup, Mixed Berry Comp0te, Whipped Cream, Butter

    Chicken Congee with Condiments | Shredded Ginger, Pickled Turnips, Spring Onion

    Additional breakfast items, include yogurt, cereals, breads, and fresh fruit, will also be available in the Lounge.

    ————————————–

    Lunch & Dinner
    11:30AM – 12:15AM
    Leek & Potato Soup

    Pan Fried Sole Fillet | Caper Cream Sauce

    Gnocchi | Pomodoro Sauce

    Beef Bourguignon | Baby Onion & Mushroom

    Baked Broccoli | Cauliflower, Mornay Sauce

    Kale Mediterranean & Olive Salad

    Wild Rice and Barley Salad | Almond & Dried Apricots

    Dessert Menu
    Tiramisu

    Banana Caramel Mousse Cake
    ————————————————–

    Yes, we all go to Hong Kong for the delicious Beef Bourguignon and Tiramisu. Oh those Chinese specialties! 😉

  11. I have yet to see scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, steamed vegetables, tater tots, and shumai offered in a Priority Pass lounge. In addition to the San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna water. So I don’t know if I’d call that similar to a Priority Pass lounge. I mean, short of an omelette station, those are actually the standard breakfast items you’d see in a mid to high tier hotel buffet breakfast.

  12. I think they also have Michelin star design BBQ pork rice and edible bird’nest egg tart for the black card member.

  13. Others have commented and I concur: this looks like a good lounge but only if you don’t have access to either lounge(s) of Cathay Pacific or Qantas. Especially the Qantas lounge!

  14. Anyone else surprised that there is no spa here? Given the low cost of treatments in HK/SE Asia in general, you’d think it would be a no brainer. Would be a much better use for that conference room space IMO.

  15. AusBT has a review with a bit more detail about what’s behind the door for Centurion card holders (https://www.ausbt.com.au/american-express-centurion-lounge-review-hong-kong-international-airport). Turns out it’s an a la carte dining room with a menu designed by a 2 Michelin starred chef. Now if they opened this up as part of the main lounge, they would really have something.

    Agree CX and QF lounges look much better. One possible advantage is that you can get two guests into the Amex lounge, which depending on your oneworld tier may be more than you can get into a oneworld lounge.

  16. @Lucky I think u are wrong. If you look AMEX website, Hong Kong is the only CENTURION lounge. Others are called AMEX Lounge.

  17. HKG Centurion lounge is pretty meh. The food is catered by Priority Pass so it’s bland and unimaginative. Went there for dinner and the food wasn’t edible. This one is one of the wort lounges in the Amex network in terms of food offerings.

  18. Just came through HK this weekend, and looked at Centurian as well as Cathay Pacific Business class lounge (at Gate 65). No comparison. If I had the chance to choose the CP lounge, it is heads and shoulders better – complete with noodle bars and tea bars and food bars and big and spacious places. The Centurian lounge was a disappointment – with the lounges in the US – specifically San Fran and JFK even a better overall experience. I can’t believe that AMEX is putting a subpar lounge in Asia – where already so many lounges are so much better.

  19. HKG Centurion lounge is pretty good. Was there middle of October. Food quality is pretty good. Just not a lot of variety. Staff is very friendly. When I was there went around frequency and asked if wanted more to drink. Lot better then Premium Plaza lounges in HK which are overrun. Premium Plaza caters and runs the lounge. MD think you got it confused when you said Priority Pass caters.

    My main issue are the seats. They might look good but uncomfortable and small.

  20. If you were flying Star Alliance and had access to this lounge, would you visit this lounge or the United Club (which is probably the best Star Alliance lounge in Hong Kong)?

  21. I was transiting HKG a few days ago and in the Centurion Lounge. As luck would have it the gentleman I sat next to was a corporate AMEX employee. He was interested in my feedback on the card and I told him it’s the reason I’m in Asia right now (95,000MR’s to ANA for RT LAX-PEK-HKG-ICN-LAX (PEK-HKG was open jaw) in J. A tasty nugget: I inquired about a lounge coming to ORD and he smiled and was emphatic with “stay tuned, it’s coming!” That’s all he would give but was definitive and when someone else overheard and got excited he said: “it hasn’t been announced yet so just… stay tuned is all I can say.” I’m based in ORD so am elated! I’m speculating maybe they’ll overtake the original AA FL lounge at the far end of the K-gates unless that is already spoken for. Hopefully they do not put the lounge in T1 as it’s all United (similar to the crap they pulled at SFO’s location).

  22. I was at the HKG Centurion Lounge a couple of days ago, (Nov 1). I was in Cathay Pacific’s business class to Male so I was excited to visit one of their lounges, but when I saw the Centurion Lounge, I made a detour and camped out there. I have to say, I was thoroughly UNIMPRESSED! The Miami and Dallas Centurion lounges are much much better, even though they are more crowded as well. I found the HKG lounge uninspiring, uncrowded, bland and meeh! I am sorry I did not choose the Cathay Lounges. I know better now. As stated, we are so used to the terrible lounges in the US, that the Centurion Lounges are a bright light in an otherwise dim canvas. What I did not like about this HKG lounge was the food. And seating. I was there in the afternoon and I did not have one thing to even mildly rave about. And the chair I was sitting in was so uncomfortable that I had to move. Who lets decisions about furniture get through with the choices they had? He/she should be fired. While it was a nice respite from the crowds, the HKG airport is not overcrowded and I also enjoyed the wide terminal space when I left the lounge. Next time, Cathay, I will stay with you. On a positive note, I flew 1st class from JFK to HKG the day before and was able to experience AA Flagship First dining and lounge. I have to say it is by far the best in the country (USA) now. I am a Delta Diamond and while Delta has upped their game, this JFK Flagship lounge was very spacious, not overcrowded, has excellent food choices and the Dining Room’s offerings were sooo delicious. Good job AA.

  23. I was there is Oct and I have to say the main lounge is small but the Centurion area is lovey. It is divided into a lounge (with odd bars going floor to ceiling which is a bit prison-like) and a dining room. The food was excellent and the staff were incredibly attentive. I think they are trying to attract Chinese Centurion members. The only issue is some machine which keeps alarming and is quite disturbingly annoying! Well worth a visit if you have a Centurion card and certainly useful for those without airline status, but on balance, Pier First every time!

  24. Yeah, agreed about the last point. Looks nice but probably not going to sway anyone from the Cathay lounges.

  25. Lucky I agree with your general point that this pales in comparison to the outstanding CX J and F lounges but this looks miles better than the existing priority pass lounge (plaza premium) in HKG, so I don’t think there’s really a comparison there.

    This is a godsend for those of us that fly QR out of Hong Kong now and then as their contracted lounge is the dreaded plaza premium priority pass lounge… I do wonder how crowded this we’ll get at peak late evening hours.

  26. This looks amazing compared to the Amex
    Lounge in Sydney Very , very small, dirty and with the worst service in the world

  27. Let’s keep some perspective here, y’all! Lucky is comparing the Centurion HKG to heavy hitters The Pier, The Wing and Qantas’ equally freaking gorgeous J lounge. It is NOT in the same league as the United Club, which is more par with its neighbor, the Plaza Premium lounge… and that’s really being nice to the UA Club 😉
    But I’m going to go against consensus here: I prefer Centurion HKG to the Bridge. Yes, the food’s better at the Bridge (unless you you’re really into quinoa), but it’s also hot, poorly designed and the bartenders barely know the difference between Tsing Tsao and champagne. Centurion’s bright, smartly laid out, perfectly climate-controlled, with a killer wine & spirits selection. The unimaginative food is a bummer, but I’m hardly in a place to complain when I can access this lounge when flying cattle class. I’ll happily pay for some dim sum outside (or scarf down something from Plaza Premium, where the food could be a helluva lot worse), then head to Centurion to knock back a few Mumm Cordon Rouges or Basil Gimlets before hurtling across the Pacific 🙂

  28. It doesn’t appear that there is a kids section of the lounge as some of the other Amex Lounges have, did I understand this an the AU review correctly on that? I’ll be passing through HKG in a couple months and would love a little playroom for my 5 year old without disturbing others. Any other place in HKG for kids to play at the airport?

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