The Crowded Centurion Lounge – Vegas: Good Food, Gross Showers

I recently visited the American Express Centurion Lounge in Las Vegas after a 3 night camping trip in Death Valley National Park. I was in desperate need of a shower after a grueling amount of driving, hiking, and photography walks. It seemed ideal to get all of this at the Centurion Lounge before my flight back to Dallas. After all who likes sitting next to stinky passengers right? 🙂

The Centurion Lounge at Las Vegas is open from 5am to 11pm every day and is located opposite Gate D1. The lounge is open to AMEX Platinum/Centurion card holders (personal referral link) and one additional guest per cardholder. It should be noted that the lounge is no longer open to other cardholders for a nominal fee due to overcrowding.

As always you are greeted by AMEX’s classic wall of leaves and the “signature scent of a Centurion.” I was quickly checked in at the front desk and put on the waiting list for the shower. The list was rather long this particular morning, there was a a good 90 minute wait.

On this specific morning there was a spectacular sunrise over the eastern mountains or hills bordering Las Vegas as we walked into the lounge (our eyes are just trained to look out the window first):

The Las Vegas Centurion Lounge actually feels bigger (it really isn’t) than the DFW lounge or the Miami lounge because of the layout and the apparent lack of narrow corridors with seating. Though I must say that certain areas of seating (especially toward the front) felt a bit dense.

The dining area is quite large (unfortunately I don’t have a picture) and at the ends of it are a bar and full buffet which changes based on the time of day. On this particular morning the breakfast featured a sizable offering (much of it good for vegetarians), which included buttermilk pancakes, french toast, scones, spinach frittata, cereal, yogurt + granola, and some fruits. All of it was high quality and there wasn’t any problems in terms of replenishment (lounge staff were amazing at taking care of this).

And of course, the lounge features a nice coffee machine and drink selection at the bar.

A little later, as I was leaving the lounge, a lunch buffet was offered. I was already late for my flight so I had to rush the pictures. Again plenty of vegetarian options.

Anyway about an hour or two into my stay, I was informed that the shower was ready for me to use. I was also offered a shaving kit, and  dental kit upon request as I went in to use the shower.

These pictures are from my last visit to the lounge back in 2013 (when it was clean and fairly new). The shower looks and feels nothing like what it was back then. The toilet was quite dirty despite having been cleaned recently, water pressure at both the shower and sink were horrible, and water temperature was very volatile. For 30s the shower would spew incredibly hot water and for the next 60 seconds it would be incredibly freezing. I also noticed that there were even a few mosquitoes flying around. Needless to say that after seeing all this, I left without taking a shower. The condition of the shower room was inexcusable for what is marketed as a premium lounge and really reminded me of the United arrivals lounge in San Francisco. 

By the time I returned from my alarming visit to the shower, my seat was taken and it was virtually impossible to find a place to sit inside the lounge. So it certainly signaled my time to leave the lounge and go find the gate.


Bottom Line:

The AMEX Centurion lounges are meant to deliver premium experiences for cardholders, but the lounges are starting to suffer from overcrowding which is really taking away from the experience. The Vegas Centurion Lounge is in line with the experiences I’ve had at the DFW and Miami Centurion lounges, not too busy early in the morning, but packed as the day progresses. Food continues to be good at all the Centurion lounges, and they do offer an abundance of vegetarian options, which is not always the case in most lounge buffets. The condition of the shower room was the most shocking part of my visit. The cleanliness, water temperature, and water pressure could all use some work.  


I do continue to appreciate what the Centurion lounges offer for free, but they really aren’t what they are hyped up to be anymore. What do you think?