This week American Express launched its fifth Centurion Lounge at Miami International Airport—an 8,000-square-foot refuge created exclusively for its cardholders, equipped with everything from a spa to private workstations.
The space is a soothing blend of can’t-miss-it tropical touches (walls of plants in glass bowls) and dollops of whimsy, with vintage cameras on shelves and 1960s photos of Frank Sinatra at play in Miami. It’s hard to imagine what the no-nonsense drinker Sinatra would have made out of the evolved cocktails on offer by mixologist Jim Meehan, but the Key Lime Gimlet—with Botanist Gin, lime juice, and Paradigm Lime Curd—seemed to have a solid fan base at the opening.
The four other Centurion Lounges in the United States (in Dallas-Ft. Worth, New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, with a Centurion Studio lounge on the way at Seattle-Tacoma) all feature star chefs with regional street cred. In Miami, home girl Michelle Bernstein, who has Seagrape at the Thompson Miami Beach and the new CENA by Michy, ranges across an international palate (as does Miami) with the lounge menu, spanning from Coq au Vin to Arroz con Pollo and All-American fried chicken.
Wines are curated by Wine Director Anthony Giglio, a Food & Wine contributor with a deft touch. “At each Centurion Lounge, we serve wines that reflect regional differences,” he says. “Here in Miami, we’re honoring Latin America with a 2013 Bodega Tamari ‘Reserva’ Malbec from Argentina. A wine like this makes a stop in Miami even better.”