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As part of my visit to every Centurion Lounge in the US, I found myself in the great state of Texas in Dallas (DFW). My mission: to find out if Centurion Lounges in the US are living up to the hype or succumbing to the same fate as other domestic lounges. In typical TPG fashion, I spent the first week of August traveling 7,500 miles and reviewing every single Centurion Lounge in the US. You can find Centurion Lounges in San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Las Vegas (LAS), Houston (IAH), Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA) and New York (LGA) — a new one in Philadelphia (PHL) is set to open later this year. Here’s a look at the route I took:
To get as close to an accurate representation of a typical day, I spent a minimum of three hours in each lounge and only visited during lunch and dinner time, evaluating the Wi-Fi, seating, food and beverage options, amenities and service. We’ll be publishing new Centurion Lounge reviews every Tuesday and Thursday, all leading up to the final rankings in mid-September, so stay tuned to see how they checked out. Without further ado, here’s a closer look at the Centurion Lounge at DFW.
Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
You’ll find the DFW Centurion Lounge after security in Terminal D across from Gate D17. If you’re arriving at a different terminal, it’ll still be easy to reach because each gate is accessible airside via Skylink, with trains arriving every two minutes. My flight from Houston arrived at the opposite end of the terminal so it about a five-minute walk for me to get there. This lounge is open every day from 5:30am to 10:00pm.
While I was walking, I spotted a glass wall that showcased some of the airline clubs at DFW.
Here’s a look at the impressive-looking entrance to the Centurion Lounge, which is on the mezzanine level of the terminal.
You’ll have to take an escalator or elevator to get up there. I opted for the escalator, which allowed for some nice views of the interior of Terminal D.
Access to the Centurion Lounge is complimentary if you have an American Express Centurion Card, The Platinum Card from American Express, or The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN — you can also bring in two guests. If you hold another American Express card (including those issued by other banks), you can buy a one-day pass for $50, though these can only be purchased in person on the day of travel and are subject to lounge capacity restrictions.
There were two attendants at check-in, though this was the first lounge I noticed that had one person specifically dedicated to serving Amex Centurion cardholders. After about two minutes in line, I handed over my Amex Platinum card, boarding pass and ID, a process I’ve become quite familiar with by now, and to my delight, I was offered a small mint by the desk attendant — they’re available throughout the lounge, but it was still a nice gesture that started off my visit on the right foot.
At 5:24pm, there were around 100 people in the lounge, which had about 160 seats. There really wasn’t an open seating area, but rather a bunch of small rooms that were connected by a long, thin hallway, which made the whole space feel very crowded — and it was. When I first arrived, I had trouble finding a seat and I was just traveling solo. I kept seeing small families roaming in circles on the prowl for a spot to relax and they seemed to be having no such luck.
To the right of the check-in desk was the first seating area I saw with the same type of large wooden table that’s available at all the Centurion Lounges. I was pleased to see the private cubic seats, though this time they were lime green, rather than black.
You’ll have to walk down a long hallway to get to the dining room, and there’s a variety of seating available along the way. This is where I first set up camp, though it was so busy that I had to pick a seat with no table.
Farther down the hallway were more seats, but I wouldn’t recommend sitting here since almost everyone in the lounge passes by them on their way to the various amenities, and there isn’t much privacy.
The dining room was quite large and offered great views of the terminal concourse below.
There were plenty of seats — you can spot the lounge entrance on the right side in the picture below.
There was a nice set of bar-style seats as well — if you can’t find a place to sit elsewhere in the lounge, I would check this area, as it was frequently empty, even during peak periods.
There was another small room with so many people that luggage was strewn all over the floor even though there were lockers available to store your belongings in near the check-in desk.
Located behind the TV partition was a set of daybeds. While these are pretty much the ideal seat since you can stretch your legs out, this part of the lounge was also much quieter, close to the food and there were plenty of power outlets around so you could charge your devices and get some work done.
While the DFW lounge doesn’t have tarmac views, you can still check out the terminal’s interior.
Food and Beverage
Each dining item offered on the menu here is locally inspired and designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Dean Faring.
As you can see in the photo below, I ended up with penne pasta, roasted elote, roasted asparagus with smoked Texas pecans, braised beef and tortillas. Not pictured were the other dining options, which included butternut squash sage, loaded redskin smashers, Jalapeño cheddar grits and salsa. There were also plenty of vegetarian offerings in a watermelon cucumber gazpacho, as well as Mediterranean quinoa salad, squash salad and a watercress roasted eggplant medley.
For dessert, peach cobbler and chocolate chip cookies were offered — both were delicious, but the real star of the show was the peach cobbler. It was warm, with peach slices that were tender and slightly sour, crust that was crunchy and a sweet glaze.
The bar area was incredibly busy and during peak hours, I saw up to five people working to keep the crowds happy. As with the other Centurion lounges I’d visited so far, the service by the bar staff here was excellent — everyone was courteous, fast and conversational even when cocktail orders were really piling up. One of the bartenders, Julia, even took the time to walk me through the menu, suggesting an Old Fashioned Manhattan.
The coffee machine was being “cleaned and serviced” according to the sign, but fortunately there were additional machines along the far side of the bar area.
Additional drinks included lemon water, tropical aguas frescas and black tea. Next to those were more cookies, just in case your sweet tooth still wasn’t satisfied.
Because of the busy atmosphere in the lounge, I was surprised to see that there was no wait time for the shower, though when I asked, the agent said they had to “prep” it for me. This took about five minutes, but I’m glad they did tidy up — I would much rather have the shower room be clean than deal with another dirty, soap-scum covered floor like I encountered at the Seattle location.
A L’Occitane vanity set was provided, containing cotton pads, shower gel and a shower cap.
Here’s a peek at the shower, which was nice and clean.
There were also private conference rooms available, which could be reserved — I did spot people leisurely walking in and out without notifying the check-in desk though.
There was also a set of computers around for folks to use.
Spa services — a 15-minute massage or a manicure — are also available at this location if you ask the check-in desk attendants to arrange it. If you decide to go with a spa treatment, you’ll have to sign a waiver form that’s provided at the check-in desk and turn it in at the spa.
I requested a massage when I arrived and had to wait about an hour for my turn — it was worth the wait and felt great to relax after traveling so much this week. I asked my massage therapist, Jason, when he thought the best time to visit the spa was, and he suggested coming in as soon as you can because it’s busy all day. While the spa treatments are complimentary, I highly suggest leaving a tip if you enjoy your experience like I did.
The Wi-Fi was dismal according to the SpeedTest, but I found it worked well enough to load light webpages. It was surprising to see how bad the Wi-Fi was at the various Centurion Lounges I’ve been to so far, with the exception of the Las Vegas location.
The Dallas Centurion Lounge was one of the busiest I’ve been in, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a place to relax before a flight, but rather to recharge — grab a quick bite, get a free massage or take a shower — because it’s so crowded. I had trouble finding a seat with a table to work on and there were plenty of families circling the lounge and looking for places to sit, eventually splitting up their groups and sitting at different tables.
This lounge had most amenities of any I’ve been to so far, with lockers for storing belongings, a clean shower, a conference room, a soundproof family room and a spa. The food wasn’t bad either. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi was disappointing, with download speeds of only 0.64 Mbps.
The service at this location was excellent. Whenever I had a question, the desk attendants were eager to answer and were always helpful. The dining room staff were constantly clearing tables and the food was restocked every few minutes. The bartenders were hilarious — their occasional sarcastic remarks had the entire counter laughing — all while offering suggestions and making drinks for a line of seven people at one point. Even small details, from the amount of mints there were in the lounge and the little Amex notepads to the lowering of the intercom music at 8:00pm made my visit an enjoyable one, despite the amount of people who were there.
Would I come back here during peak hours to relax? No. But if I wanted to take advantage of the amenities, I certainly wouldn’t hesitate. Despite the seemingly endless amounts of people, the outstanding level of service never wavered — and that’s something each and every Centurion Lounge should take note of.
The Final Ratings
Food and Beverage: 5/5
Stay tuned every Tuesday and Thursday for reviews of the other domestic Centurion Lounges, all leading up to the final rankings in mid-September.
Have you visited the Dallas Centurion Lounge? Tell us about your experience, below.
Editor’s note: This series of Centurion Lounge reviews was produced by one of TPG’s editorial interns this summer. Each was assigned an intern project. All photos by the author.