American Express has just opened its new lounge in JFK, and with more than 15,000 square feet behind its doors, the new space is the largest Centurion Lounge yet and the first with two floors to explore. Naturally, because of the current travel climate, it hasn’t opened quite as the designers had originally envisaged it, but it’s still an impressive space nonetheless.

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Card Members visiting the Centurion Lounge at JFK will see new health-and-safety practices in place, as part of the “Centurion Lounge Commitment.” These new practices have been implemented across the lounge network and include socially distanced seating, reduced capacity, increased cleaning frequency, requirements to wear a face covering when entering the lounge, served food instead of buffets, and more.


The masterpiece of this lounge is a tucked away “1850” speakeasy bar, referencing the year the company was founded, complete with cocktails developed by Centurion Lounge mixologist Jim Meehan. There are other branded elements behind the blue doors, including an Equinox Body Lab wellness experience and a bespoke menu created by Executive Chef Ignacio Mattos all tied together by. new design elements inspired by New York’s cultural landmarks and much more.

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“Our flagship Centurion Lounge at JFK is our fourth location to open in 2020 and reiterates our commitment to backing our Card Members whenever they may be ready to travel, while striving for a safe environment for all,” said Alexander Lee, Vice President of Travel Experiences and Benefits. “Like many of our customers we are proud to call New York City our home, and we are thrilled to have another lounge in our backyard. This new lounge will span two incredible floors and host a variety of amenities that bring New York City culture to life, plus floor-to-ceiling windows that offer sweeping views.”

Most visitors will probably gravitate towards 1850, even though it’s concealed behind a copper-panelled wall, this intimate, luscious space certainly evokes the Prohibition era through its design brought to life by the bartender’s versions of classic cocktails, such as the espresso martini and boulevardier.


When it comes to food, Ignacio Mattos – a proud New Yorker and a four-time James Beard Award nominee has curated a menu that “channels both the elegance and ethnic diversity of the city’s vibrant restaurant scene”, with signature dishes including a caciocavallo and egg sandwich with tomato marmalade, fennel salad with castelvetrano olives and provolone and steak with romesco and taleggio sauce.

Salivating? Well we are, but that’s more to do with the design details throughout the space. The Centurion Lounge at JFK pays homage to New York City’s past and present. Greeting guests as they approach the lounge is a handmade, custom mosaic art mural sourced from SICIS, the renowned mosaic art factory, developed with the Sicis North American Bronx-based team, as a nod to New York City subway murals.


Throughout the lounge, vintage New York City taxi meters, architectural renderings of Manhattan landmarks and other local artifacts are showcased on walls and shelves. The lounge will also offer six unique rooms, each influenced by a different New York City landmark or iconic design period. These rooms will maximize the sense of discovery visitors will feel while walking through the lounge and they are named for the year they were inspired by. 


If that’s all too opulent, there’s a chance to relax and switch off too. In partnership with high-performance lifestyle leader Equinox, the Centurion Lounge at JFK will debut the Equinox Body Lab, a first-of-its kind regenerative destination designed specifically for an indulgent pre-flight experience. The Equinox Body Lab, normally only accessible within Equinox clubs, will offer performance-driven restorative therapies including custom, self-guided meditation and stretching sessions using the Variis by Equinox app, a vibro-acoustic chair to help fliers relax before takeoff, and more. When the lounge opens, these sessions will be offered to individuals, in a self-led format to prioritize health and safety.

Posted by:Jonny Clark

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