American Express opened a new Centurion Lounge at Denver International Airport in February. At just over 14,000 square feet, it is the latest and second largest lounge in American Express’ growing network of airport lounges that will soon include locations in London and Washington, DC.
This Centurion Lounge and (I thought) the American Airlines Admirals Club would be my hangout during the eight-hour layover before the flights home on this trip to experience air travel for the first time in over a year.
Location, Hours and Access
The lounge is located post-security in Concourse C just past Gate C46 on the mezzanine level. Current hours are 07:00 – 19:00 daily.
Access rules is where things can get tricky with lounges. Centurion Lounge access, though, is relatively straightforward. Access is complimentary for Platinum Card Members, Centurion Card Members and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card Members and up to two guests, currently. Day passes are not available for purchase.
Access is permitted when departing from or connecting through Denver. Travelers whose final destination is the Mile High City, however, cannot use it upon arrival. All patrons are limited to a three-hour stay.
To get in customers need a valid Amex card, boarding pass showing a confirmed reservation for same-day travel on any airline and a government-issued I.D. The agent looked up my card information since I didn’t have it with me.
American Express recently revealed plans to limit free guest access to Centurion cardholders next year. Others would have to pay $50 per guest. This potential move is aimed at the issue of overcrowding.
Centurion Lounges are the best lounges accessible to domestic travelers. They are very popular. Before the pandemic they could be very crowded at times. That may not be the case in the future. Covid-19 forced businesses to find alternatives to travel. Some expect that business travel will remain depressed after the pandemic.
Food and Beverages
Providing quiet places to work or relax is the primary function of an airport lounge. It is the food and drinks that make a lounge great and that is the strength of the Centurion Lounges.
James Beard Foundation Award-winning Chef and Colorado Restaurateur, Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson is the executive chef. He has crafted a menu inspired by the food of Northern Italy.
Like the Charlotte Centurion Lounge, food is pre arranged in individual portions that a server hands to customers.
There is also a live-action cooking station where guests can customize meals and order dishes à la carte. The menu rotates daily.
This lounge is the only Centurion Lounge that has two bars. There is the standard Centurion Lounge bar for liquor, cocktails, wine and beer, and there is a first-of-its-kind craft beer bar.
The lounge Mixologist, Jim Meehan, and Wine Director, Anthony Giglio, created complementary cocktail and wine menus.
Lounge Layout and Other Features
This lounge is certified to accommodate 587 patrons in normal times, but COVID-19 restrictions in Denver permit a maximum of 150 people presently.
The lounge is shaped like a U with seating on the right and food service on the left as you face the check-in desk.
Dining areas, bars and the game room are found on the left side and the base of the U.
This is the first Centurion Lounge with a separate beer bar. It serves seasonal selections from local Colorado breweries, including Denver Beer Co, ODD13 Brewery, Breckenridge Brewery and Left Hand Brewing Company.
The craft beer bar is wisely and conveniently located next to another first-of-its-kind, Centurion-lounge feature a game room.
This lounge has many windows from which to view the concourse and operations on the tarmac.
Other features include a digital library, free wifi, showers (closed temporarily) a family room (closed temporarily) and a phone room.
After the Centurion Lounge closed at 19:00, I took the terminal train to the A Concourse where I expected to spend the remainder of the time before the next flight in the American Airlines Admirals Club.
There was definitely no social distancing on the train. Being on the train was the only time on the whole trip that I felt somewhat uncomfortable at risk.
Once I got to the Admirals Club I was disappointed to learn it closed at 16:30. Shorter lounge hours is another undesirable Covid-19 side effect.
It was fun to spend a couple of hours in the new Centurion Lounge in Denver International Airport. This lounge has two features (a craft beer bar and a game room) that are unique and very well done. They make up for the lack of a spa which several other Centurion Lounges tout. Spa services are suspended because of Covid anyway.
Since the Admirals Club was closed, I had to amuse myself in the terminal and gate areas for about five hours before the next flight. The free Denver wifi was a big help, but the noise and distractions from the concourse drove home the value of access to an airport lounge.