The American Express Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia Airport is a very welcome addition to what is an underwhelming selection of lounges that we had access to (Minute Suites and Delta were the two others). We were very excited to go to Philadelphia – not just to walk around this historic city and see the sites, but also to see the relatively new American Express Centurion Lounge at PHL – Philadelphia International Airport. Here’s our Philadelphia Centurion Lounge Review.

Locating the lounge

The Centurion Lounge is located in the A terminal airside, near Gate A14. It’s not difficult to find at all, as it really stands out in the terminal. You’ll locate it fairly easily.

The entrance to the Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia International Airport
The entrance to the Centurion Lounge at PHL

Checking in

In order to access any American Express Centurion Lounge, you have to either have an Amex Platinum Card or be a Centurion Member. The good news is that each person who gets access to the lounge is able to bring up to two guests with him or her.

The best part about this policy, in our opinion, is that the Centurion Lounge is much less crowded than, say, a Priority Pass lounge or even a Delta Sky Club lounge with their more liberal entrance policies. Sky Clubs may be restricted and not allow guests, but a lot of people can access them. And Priority Pass lounges allow multiple guests in many instances.

Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia International Airport check in desk
The reception desk with two friendly attendants

Once we entered the Lounge, two smiling women greeted us at the check in desk. The first thing you notice is that they actually seem to be proud to work here and certainly enjoy it. They were excited to tell us about this newer lounge, what we could do here, and what was available.

It was a very inviting experience from the get-go. Check-in took just a couple of minutes or less. Halef gave them his Amex Platinum card, told them I was his guest, and we were in.

Note on accessibility. If you’re using a wheelchair or a scooter, you won’t have any issues with the Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia. There is plenty of space to maneuver and the restrooms are accessible.

Lounge layout

This is not a large lounge. Even though I knew it was only going to be around 6,500 square feet (600 square meters), it seemed a bit smaller than I expected. But that was OK. It still felt larger than other lounges because of the number of people who were here.

The bar seating area at Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia International Airport
The bar seating area

There is plenty of seating space for guests, either in front of the bar area or in a more secluded lounge area behind the bar. The room behind the bar has a variety of seating – from a board room-style table to high private chairs, and even a good-sized separate room where you can take a private phone meeting if you need to.

The lounge was very tastefully appointed. And that seems to be one of the main things that sets Amex lounges apart from the other lounges at PHL. They just get everything right. Everything is very detailed in its design.

Food and drinks

One of the other things that sets this lounge apart is the quality of the food. While we personally don’t have too much of a problem with eating regular lounge food, this was different. Everything here is the product of  Michael Solomonov, The Centurion Lounge Executive Chef. Solomonov is a James Beard Award winning Israeli chef who is quite well-known in Philadelphia.

You can find out more about Michael Solomonov right here.

Entrees at Centurion lounge in philadelphia
The entrees, by Michael Solomonov

Solomonov’s creations were quite delicious. During our visit, the menu included:

  1. Moroccan stew
  2. Lamb & Beet meatballs
  3. Charred Eggplant and Tomatoes
  4. White Beans and Red Peppers
  5. Rice Pilaf

All except the meatballs (and possibly the stew) were vegetarian.

The highlight for both me and Halef though was dessert – specifically the Passionfruit Malabi. It is incredible. I had one of these. I think Halef had two (possibly 3)! The tartness of the passionfruit combined with the custard base was simply delicious and left you wanting more.

It’s the kind of thing that, were it self-serve from a giant bowl, you’d look around to make sure no one was looking and help yourself to a huge portion!

The dessert bar at Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia
The dessert bar at Centurion Lounge Philadelphia

There were also plenty of salads and other things for people who wanted a lighter meal. Other desserts included cookies and squares (I recommend the gooey soft chocolate chips cookies!)

It was definitely the best food I have eaten at a lounge and the staff kept it replenished through our several hour visit. Great job by Michael Solomonov!

The bar

At a normal airport lounge, you can expect either a full- or self-serve bar with free and premium options. If you want a vodka soda, it’s free, unless you order a high end vodka.

Unlike many airline lounges, there is no “You can have basic alcohol, but you pay for premium here.”

Not so at American Express Centurion Lounges. All of the beers, wines, and spirits are free. If you want one of the special drinks from the menu, no worries. Consider it done. These drinks were developed by one of the nation’s top mixologists, Jim Meehan.

The specialty drink menu at Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia
The specialty drink menu. You’d pay handsomely for these drinks elsewhere.

The bar’s specialty drink list is created for Philadelphia only. So if you’ve already been to an Amex Centurion Lounge elsewhere, expect an entirely different list of specialty drinks here.

On tap, the Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia has a couple of local beers, including a nice IPA, which I appreciated.

Tipping: It’s pretty much standard around the United States to tip $1 a drink. So be prepared to bring some $1 bills with you.

The bar at the Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia is fully-stocked
The bar at the Centurion Lounge is fully-stocked
Hot beverage bar

The Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia has a high-end coffee machine that can prepare just about any hot coffee beverage you like. Espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, lattes, and more. And the coffee is very good.

I rarely drink more than one coffee a day, but I found myself coming back here a few times during our stay.

I’m not a huge tea drinker myself, but they appear to have a large selection of teas, so they probably have most of the teas anyone would ever want.

The coffee and tea area at Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia
This coffee machine is awesome

The staff is awesome

One thing you will notice immediately here is how friendly everyone is. At the bar, they’ll learn and remember your name and what you drink. They’ll always smile. Their objective is 100% service, which is a good thing to point out in our PHL Centurion Lounge Review.

Amenities at Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia

Restrooms: The restrooms (at least the men’s) here are very nicely designed and there is an attendant that cleans them often. But they are also small. That would only be a problem if the lounge was packed, which it is not. There is a baby changing station inside the men’s restroom.
Wi-Fi: Password protected and very fast for the Centurion Lounge in Philadelphia Airport. I was not disappointed at all.
Showers: There is a shower here, but it was not yet open (as of January 2017). I expect they’ll open it soon.
Phone room: There is a private room you can use if you need privacy during a business call, etc.
Business Amenities: Other than the phone room, we didn’t see any business amenities like printers and copiers. However, we’ve been told they do exist!

Amex Centurion Lounge Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Centurion Lounge hours is 5 AM – 9 PM daily.

More Lounges Around The World

For More on the United States: When we travel, we use Lonely Planet. By buying a book at one of the links below, we get a small referral fee at no additional cost to you.

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Michael is originally from Canada but now resides in Atlanta, GA with his husband, Halef, who also writes here. He is a Couchsurfing expert and has traveled to over 40 countries to date. Currently saving all his money for a Round the World adventure.

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