The New Centurion New York Has A Secret Room

Early in the year we learned about American Express’s plans for a bar and restaurant in New York with food by Chef Daniel Boulud on the 55th floor of One Vanderbilt, about a block from the Hyatt Grand Central (former Grand Hyatt). I’ve been up on the 91st through 93rd floors of that building and the views are truly stunning.

The space is now open, and it’s not only available to Black Card customers. There is an open Salon with complimentary coffee and (3) distinct areas with separate reservations:

  • The Gallery: fine dining with dishes selected by Daniel Boulud

  • The Studio: casual dining, light fare

  • The Studio Bar: bites and cocktails

A reader shares his visit to the brand new Yabu Pushelberg-designed space. He entered from the lobby where they asked for a reservation or if he was a Centurion cardholder. Then they called upstairs, took photos for security badges that are used for the elevators and they’re directed inside.

The initial space has a Chrysler bar because of the view and a large dining room for three-course sit-down meals overlooking the Empire State Building.

This is the bar menu:

One one side of a long hall is a bar with about 8 seats and two tables, while the other side of the hall has restaurant areas. Food is described as “excellent” and the service as “perfect.”

This was the casual dining area. There is “a long bar and the view is of Manhattan and you can see many of the lights of Times Square.”

There is also a secret room, and they ask that photos not be shared to social media.

When the check came it was unitemized. An unitemized bill! I’m not quite sure what to say to that, other than they seem to be going for ‘if you have to pay attention to the details of something like money you shouldn’t be here’?

Information about the American Express Centurion Card is neither provided nor reviewed by its issuer.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. I guess I’m surprised they charge for food there even at a fine dining level. Shows what I know as a lowly Platinum member, lol.

    What’s the difference then between this and some other restaurant or country club?

    Exclusivity, I guess? No fees other than spending a ton on your black card?

  2. “An unitemized bill! I’m not quite sure what to say to that, other than they seem to be going for ‘if you have to pay attention to the details of something like money you shouldn’t be here’?”

    Ah, we are back to the 1970s and 1980s of “If you have to ask the price, then…”

  3. “An unitemized bill! I’m not quite sure what to say to that, other than they seem to be going for ‘if you have to pay attention to the details of something like money you shouldn’t be here’?”

    It is my experience that people who can afford to eat in an upscale restaurant, can afford it because they they do look at the bill. Money is still important.

  4. I dined there last night (Friday), the second day it was open and the bill in the Gallery was itemized. Chef was on site chatting with people at their tables, it was a nice experience.

  5. @Steve Thornton – Speak for yourself as a non-UHNW. At that point you don’t care about being overcharged an extra $20 drink. Not worth the time/effort.

  6. The richer you are, the more you value money. Black card holders have to pay for their own exclusive lounge…….so what kinds of exclusive status is there?!

  7. @Gary – Does Biz Centurion count? Don’t have, but we all know a certain vain blogger will post about their experience there very soon if they have access.

  8. Why would anybody even go up 55 floors to have a meal? That’s not private.
    When the ground starts shaking you will meet a lot of people on the way down.
    Those high rises are not good investments.

  9. If you want to get a sense of the “secret” room, go to any Centurion Lounge at any airport. There is a separate yet unremarkable space solely for Centurion cardholders. You will ask yourself, “That’s it?” In Manhattan, you will ask yourself, “In what way is my experience in a non-secret room not incredible?” Certainly, there will be incrementally higher service and food. Fine. Manhattan is filled with great restaurants. So, it’s really more about Amex intangibly recognizing its Centurion cardholders with exclusive access to the mysterious. Oooh . . . aaah.

    Consider the target market of the Centurion. If a person qualifies for the card, the person really doesn’t need it. A qualified candidate for the card should already have personal circumstances that already afford the person every single benefit the Centurion provides (other than the Centurion-specific things such as the “secret” room). If a person qualifies for the card and gets it, what is the person compensating for with the Centurion’s enormous-sized (dare I say OMG-sized) line of credit? 🙂

    My spending level with Amex is multiple times what is expected to qualify for the Centurion. I’ve told Amex to take me off the list. So, none of the foregoing is a matter of sour grapes. The Platinum has utility. Be happy with it and don’t covet the secret room.

  10. @Lee “…My spending level with Amex is multiple times what is expected to qualify for the Centurion…”

    You do realize that unsubtle brag makes you look like a complete fool considering the opportunity cost of not putting that spend on non-AMEX cards?

  11. The location ambiance and food is excellent. The views incredible and worth going if only for that. The service makes it all that much more special. This is NOT like going to a centurian lounge even with the centurian lounge special rooms. (I have been to those in LAX and Hong Hong) this place is special and should only get more better as time goes on.

  12. BonvoyedAgain . . . or is it Alan . . . or is it Jackson? It would be difficult to avoid “sour grapes” characterization without disclosing qualification for the Centurion. Such disclosure makes the case against the Centurion stronger. Perhaps your troll comments stem from sour grapes.

    You presume that I don’t put spend on non-Amex cards. You would be wrong. You presume to know my spending pattern and that it is somehow inefficient. Do you get 8X on your Amazon spending . . . at scale? Perhaps stow your troll comments.

  13. BonvoyedAgain, let’s say that you have more airline and hotel points than you would ever need for the rest of your life. Yet, you still earn points. So, you say that you’d like to transfer points to your employees . . . or your family . . . or your friends. So, you add them as authorized users to your cards. Question: which issuer(s) allows a person to transfer points to an authorized user’s loyalty program account. Amex does. Before you answer Chase or Citi, you’ll want to read their terms and conditions. So, if one is in such a position, which card issuers might one use? There are far broader considerations than earn rate. And, after filling all of their buckets, one turns to cash back. Think beyond your own situation and yourself.

  14. The facility, Centurion and Platinum, both business and consumer. The secret room is Centurion, business and consumer.

  15. Is this supposed to read “not only” as written, or “now only”? Really unclear since the article is based on a third-party account with the credentials not stated.

  16. Some benefits that make the centurium worthwhile if you spend enough.
    1) 50% bonus points on single items above $5K which includes event charges …
    2) 50% points back on any point flight purchase.

    Those two points above are worth the cards price tag if you spend enough every month (by you, I mean a business or a person).

    Getting access to a private members-only space in NYC would be icing on the cake. (think Noho house … these places charge members $5k per year).

    That said this lounge doesn’t sound like it is competing against these private members only establishments. too bad.

Comments are closed.