LaGuardia airport's American Express Lounge is incredibly stylish

New York’s LaGuardia Airport gets a bad rap. It regularly appearson “America’s worst airport” lists, and Vice President Joe Biden once claimed it belonged in a “third-world country.”

But things are looking up for the beleaguered airport — at least for a certain group of customers. In late 2014, American Express opened its Centurion Lounge, a drastic departure from the often drab domestic lounges that populate most major airports around the country.

Located inside Terminal B (home to American, United, Southwest, Jet Blue, Air Canada, Spirit, and Frontier Airlines), the Centurion signalled a major upgrade in culinary fare for LaGuardia’s domestic rest stops. Visitors are treated to a variety of fine dining options, specially paired wines, and signature cocktails.

Like most airport lounges, access to the Centurion comes at a price. All American Express card holders may drop in by buying a $50 day pass. If you hold a Platinum or Centurion cards, however, membership is included.

The Centurion Lounge is on Level 3 of Terminal B. It's located before the security checkpoints, so passengers from other terminals can drop in.

The LaGuardia location was the third Centurion Lounge in the U.S., joining lounges at Las Vegas McCarran International and Dallas/Ft. Worth International.

Instead of over-the-top opulent, the lounge is stylish and comfortable. The design is chic, modern, and tastefully restrained.

Travellers can spend time at a communal table.

Or in private.

The Centurion's layout features two larger rooms connected by a long corridor in a 'U' shape.

The lounge offers high-speed wi-fi, electrical outlets at virtually every seat, and noise-buffering work areas.

The best part of the Centurion is the food and drink. Starting with specialty cocktails like the Big Apple (pictured here), courtesy of renowned mixologist Jim Meehan.

The location also features a broad selection of wines, paired to the menu by the Centurion Lounge's National Wine Director, Anthony Giglio.

The menu for the lounge was created by C├ędric Vongerichten, executive chef at Perry St. in New York City.

The menu includes locally-inspired seasonal cuisine, like these shrimp sliders.

And this tomato-and-herb salad, with a shallot red-wine vinaigrette.

The udon noodles with aromatic vegetable broth and green chilli were wonderful, especially when paired with a nice glass of Champagne.

The slow-baked salmon with sesame seeds and the fried chicken with a honey lemongrass glaze will probably be favourites.

As will this delectable strawberry shortcake.

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