Because you can't and will never be able to get enough, I'm back with another round of my very popular lounge reviews. It's really gratifying to see my 80-point scale become the standard across the point & miles blogging community, since I really do think it's the best representation of lounge quality. So, without further ado, let's dive in...
Amex Centurion Studio (SEA)
Furnishings: Centurion-chic. My one concern as Amex opens up more and more of these lounges is that they start to run together, thus making them more mundane through repetition. Still, though... nice. 9/10 Cookies: Macaroons. I LOVE macaroons. 9/10 Snacks: I was here in the morning and had some oatmeal for breakfast. This lounge has like 10 different types of seeds you can put in your oatmeal to make it more crunchy. You know how people use "crunchy" as a word to describe hippies in Seattle and Portland? They're literally talking about how many seeds those hippies put in their oatmeal. Supposedly Amex brought some of those crunchy hippies in to consult on all the various seeds they wanted to put out in the lounge. 7/10 Alcohol: Craft beer on demand… 10/10 Views: Okay views, but they suffer for not being through floor-to-ceiling windows. You kind of have to crane your head over a half-height wall of frosted glass to see the airfield. Lotsa Delta on view too... talk about a boring livery. I suppose every livery is boring if you see it all the time, but Delta's just screams "Live John Tesh Concert" to me. 5/10 Bathrooms: Clean single-stall bathrooms with lots of space, really thick paper towels (seriously, they're like bath-towel thick), and L'Occitane products to wash up with. Only complaint is that there are only two, and there's sometimes a wait. 7/10 Outlets: Ample. 10/10 Other amenities: This lounge really is tiny, so it's sometimes hard to find a seat. I had a good time watching some football in the little TV area (where there are three chairs), drinking beer, and eating crunchy oatmeal and macaroons. Here's my one issue with this lounge - more and more, every Centurion lounge becomes a referendum on how worthwhile the Amex Platinum card is vs. other cards that offer lounge access. And while the Centurion Studio is unquestionably nicer than Alaska's Board Room, it isn't *so much nicer* that I'd want to keep the Amex card just to access it. Especially since the Board Room will probably get remodeled any time soon. So while it's a much nicer lounge, it isn't a world apart or anything. 7/10 Final score: 64/80
United Club (SFO, domestic gates) - sorry I don't have pics, but if you've ever been to a United Club, you can picture it.
Furnishings: If I were worried about lounges running together, I guess I shouldn't bother going to United Clubs, right? Close your eyes and think of the furniture in the lobby of a Marriott Courtyard hotel in the mid-90s. You just pictured any United Club. 3/10 Cookies: Brownie crunch. 4/10 Snacks: I've discussed this before, but because I had just come to this lounge from the Centurion lounge at SFO, I'm giving it a low score. 3/10 Alcohol: I didn't even ask… 1/10 Views: Here's where this lounge shines. It's a long room, with floor to ceiling windows all the way across, meaning you get panoramic, unobstructed views of the airfield. And not just United planes, either. 10/10 Bathrooms: I'm just going to go out on a limb and say "not great." I didn't use them. 7/10 Outlets: I had to hunt a little bit for one, which I hate doing. They're around, though. 7/10 Other amenities: Okay, so I had a realization at this lounge. I had planned to spend my time at the Centurion lounge before my United flight to EWR, but it was crowded, and I was flying in first class and would have a meal on the plane. The only open seating was at a table in a not-so-comfortable chair, and I almost started to feel claustrophobic in the small space with no windows to the outside. I left and decided to try the United Club (which is included with a premium transcon ticket), which, for all its United Clubby shabby drabness, was exactly what I needed. It wasn't crowded, it was quiet, the lights were pretty low, and I could sit in a comfortable chair and watch planes go back and forth until my flight. My realization was that, while Amex lounges are definitely "nicer," in terms of food/decor/amenities/etc, if you just need a lounge to relax in before the flight, there may actually be better options out there. Given I had had a really stressful morning and was able to chill out a little bit before a long flight, I'm going to give this lounge a 10 here. Oh, also - there's a long hallway that leads you to the check-in desk, and there are pictures of tall ships on the wall. I'm all like, "You're an airline, United! Where are the planes?!?!?!?!" 10/10 Final score: 45/80