Top-Notch Food: A Review of the American Express Lounge at Mumbai Airport
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To The Point
While Mumbai arguably has one of the best lounges globally in the GVK Lounge, American Express contracted lounge operator TFS to make an exclusive outpost for its own cardmembers as well. This one is compact but very efficient; a good pitstop before your flight. Pros: Quiet and excellent food and drink options. Cons: Ergonomics are a miss if you intend to work while visiting the lounge.
One of the best perks of holding certain American Express cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express is the airport lounge access that comes along with cardmembership. In the US, this means mainly Centurion Lounges and Escape Lounges, but Amex also operates a collection of lounges in major airports around the world in Argentina, Australia, Mexico and two in India, one of which I’ll be reviewing today.
My wife and I were flying Vistara — Singapore Airlines’ Indian subsidiary — between Mumbai (BOM) and Delhi (DEL), so we headed to Terminal 2, which largely serves full-service airlines and all the international flights out of Mumbai. The American Express lounge at Terminal 2 had recently opened at the end of 2018, and I’d actually visited a few times already. But, I’d never been with my wife, so I was excited to show her the new space and give the lounge a full review at the same time.
The American Express Lounge Mumbai is open 24 hours a day. Access is offered to American Express card members and their guests with a same-day departure out of Terminal 2 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai (BOM) on domestic tickets.
Like the Centurion Lounge in Hong Kong (HKG), there’s a separate area with a la carte dining and a complimentary bar. American Express Centurion (personal and business), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and personal Platinum card members are allowed access to the Centurion and common areas of the lounge, while Platinum Corporate and Platinum Reserve card members can access the lounge but not the Centurion area. The common space offers buffet dining and a paid bar.
The specific rules for card member and guest access vary based on what type of American Express card you have. See the below for the specific rules for each type of card:
- Centurion card members (personal and business) are allowed unlimited access to the Centurion area, along with up to two guests per card member.
- Business Platinum card members are allowed unlimited access to the Centurion area, along with up to one guest per card member.
- Platinum Charge card members (personal) are allowed unlimited access to the Centurion area, but no guests are allowed.
- Platinum Corporate card members are allowed unlimited access to the common area, but no guests are allowed.
- Platinum Reserve (issued exclusively in India) card members, are allowed three complimentary entries per calendar quarter.
The above rules also apply for authorized users on personal charge cards, and access for any additional guests can be bought at 2,360 rupees ($35) per guest.
This lounge is in Terminal 2 at Mumbai Airport, which is where all international flights and many domestic flights on Indian carriers depart from. It’s on the third level of the terminal, after you clear security and across from the Burger King near Gate 65. Due to the layout of this terminal, its location makes it accessible only when you’re flying domestic flights from Mumbai. The entire lounge is nonsmoking, but there are designated smoking areas within the terminals.
The space itself is compact, and it’s divided between a common area and a separate Centurion area. As you enter, you will notice the green living wall design that has come to be associated with American Express lounges across the globe.
Since entry with a Platinum Card does not allow for any guests, my wife and I each presented our Platinums upon check in. The agents were friendly, and after our access was confirmed we were escorted through the glass wall into the lounge, where solo chairs were set up. We were also given a quick rundown of the lounge and the facilities, as it is a new lounge still and most guests may not fully know about everything at their disposal.
Four rows of leather armchairs lined this space, with USB and AC charging ports between. The low tables between chair clusters could easily be used for eating, though they were not the best for working. Overall, it felt spacious enough, and it didn’t feel like I was invading someone else’s personal space while sitting here.
A communal table and high stools lay in the rear of the glass-enclosed area, ideal for those traveling alone who needed to get some work done.
A bar was set up in one corner of the enclosed area.
The common area was more dressed down and felt generally more relaxed. Here, 36 guests could be accommodated. This area was full of low chairs, and power ports were provided across the room.
High-top tables were set up at the back of this room. They made great work stations, as they were complete with AC and USB power ports.
The bar in this area wore an empty look, as the lounge had yet to receive its liquor permit. When functional, drinks will be available here for purchase.
The lounge is small but comfortable and has unique amenities, such as a jacket steamer and a shoeshine machine in the Centurion area — everything you’d need to get prepared for a business trip.
The lounge provided a variety of daily and weekly Indian newspapers and publications such as Forbes India.
TV screens and departure information screens were in both areas of the lounge in convenient locations.
Wi-Fi access was provided via voucher codes, which could be collected from the reception desk. Indian regulations require authentication for everyone accessing the internet, and a voucher left a digital signature from the person accessing the internet. I didn’t end up using the Wi-Fi on this visit, though, as I could do everything I needed to do on my phone with my connection to a cell carrier.
This lounge did not have its own bathrooms, but the common bathroom was directly adjacent to it. Plus, they were pretty nice and staffed with an attendant at all times, so really clean.
Food and Beverage
The food and beverages at the Mumbai Amex lounge were a real treat for both Indian and overseas card members. The common area featured a large buffet available at all times of the da to guests seated anywhere in the lounge. The selection was changed four times per day in order for breakfast, lunch, lighter snacks and then dinner. I arrived at the lounge at about 7:30pm, and there was a vast spread waiting for me.
The buffet included cold options like fresh fruit, Arab mezze, salads, cookies, cake and sandwiches.
Hot foods included Indian curries and Western dishes like pasta, while Indian breads as well as a special dessert of the day were available to order. I had some pasta and salads, and it was delicious.
After sampling some of the buffet, I headed back to the Centurion area, where table service was offered. A member of the staff offered me a bottle of water as soon as I was seated and brought me a menu.
The a la carte menu offerings were delectable, and I was spoiled for choice. The Centurion Lounge offered breakfast and all-day dining, with everything fresh and made to order. There was an ample assortment of Indian and Western favorites for breakfast.
For all-day dining, there was an even larger assortment, including crowd pleasers such as chicken biryani and fish and chips. The challenge on this visit was to select an assortment that would still leave me with an appetite for dinner on my upcoming flight to Delhi. For my tasting session, I ordered the chaat sampler and chicken tikka three ways, both of them to be shared with my wife.
The chaat came out first, and the chef knocked it out of the park. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a taster of Indian snacking. The hits kept on rolling afterwards: The chicken tikka was some of the most tender I’ve eaten anywhere, and I’ve eaten chicken tikka on four continents! Not quite satiated after these two dishes, we tried the fish and chips for good measure, which was also delicious.
To round out the meal, we ordered the dessert of the day, and the staff soon came back with hot jalebi and halwa. Jalebi is an Indian dessert made by deep-frying batter in the shape of a spiral and then dipping it in sugar syrup. Halwa, on the other hand, is a sweet pudding, usually made out of semolina. These were Indian selections, but you could also pick up Western sweets like cake from the buffet area.
While I visited, the lounge had not yet secured its liquor license, but drinks would have been complimentary at the small bar in the Centurion area. Amex has teamed up with Pernod Ricard to offer a great selection of liquor, and as India is a land of whisky lovers, the lounge will rotate the malt every two months.
The American Express lounge at Mumbai’s airport is a quiet and relaxing space to spend time before a flight. It’s only a few months old and represents a great value for Amex card holders flying out. The service is quick and friendly, and the quality of the food really stands out. I look forward to returning to this lounge many more times, and hope that you’ll stop by this new space as well.
All photos by the author.
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