***This is part 1 of my “Spain-giving 2014” trip report detailing a recent trip to Barcelona over Thanksgiving weekend***
1. American Express Centurion Lounge at SFO
2. Korean Air Lounge at LAX
3. KLM Business Class Los Angeles to Barcelona, via Amsterdam
4. Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona
5. Exploring Barcelona in a Motorcycle Sidecar
6. Day trip to Girona for Lunch at El Celler De Can Roca
7. Sala VIP Lounge at BCN, KLM Crown Lounge at AMS
8. KLM Business Class Barcelona to San Francisco, via Amsterdam
Our trip started the Tuesday night of Thanksgiving week, and according to the mainstream media we would have been better off staying at home since this was supposedly the busiest travel day of the year. That may be true in many situations, but it’s certainly not the case for international travel. In fact, Thanksgiving and Christmas time are among the least busy times for international travel, and the best times to score fantastic deals.
While our international flights were departing from LAX, we did have a short domestic hop down to LAX from SFO. The domestic terminal was indeed humming, so we used the International Terminal G/Terminal 3 trick to breeze through security in minutes. Instead of stopping at the International Terminal United Club, we made a beeline back to Terminal 3 to check out the brand new American Express Centurion Lounge.
The Centurion Lounge is located right after the former United Premier Access security checkpoint near gate 74. The check-in desk is located on the 2nd floor, and after entering there is a beautiful vertical indoor garden that stretches across 1st and 2nd floor.
We had gone to the airport early specifically to eat dinner at the lounge, so after checking-in we didn’t waste any time heading over to the dining area. Toward the back of the dining room was a small buffet-style food selection, with views into the open kitchen. Upon entering the dining room, on one side was a full service bar and on the other was a large display case looking into the wine cellar and also featuring a dispenser with a wide selection of wines on tap.
There was a decent spread of food, but overall was more limited than the selection we found at the Centurion Lounge at LAS. The main featured entree was slow-cooked pork with rice, along with some side dishes and a salad bar. The highlight for me were the desserts, which included chocolate mousse and pecan bars.
After eating we migrated over to the main seating area, which was surprisingly busy and crowded. There really isn’t that much square footage here, and I can see it getting extremely crowded during peak hours.
Overall, this is a great new addition to the lounge scene at SFO, but with a fairly limited food selection and lack of seating, I certainly wasn’t blown away or overly impressed. In my opinion, the award for best lounge at SFO still goes to Emirates.