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Lounge Reviews - San Diego and San Francisco

Updated: Jan 18

Since I've been starting to play the credit card points game, my card has given me access to the Priority Pass network of lounges and the card's parent lounge The Centurian Lounge. Plus with this trip I booked Business Class for Singapore Airlines (via United) where it gave me access to the United Polaris Lounge (for which I'd normally wouldn't have access through my card..


I had an 8 hour layover in San Francisco before flying to Singapore. Normally i wouldn't do such a long layver but since I was trying to use mostly points for this flight, there wasn't too much flexibility. I found a great deal with allowed me to fly Business Class both rates at fantastic point burn and I just couldn't pass it up. But unfortunately, it wasn't flexible with the flights so I had to take this 8 hour layover. No worries as i intended to use the Lounge benefits. Plus I had to work on this damn website so passing the time was no big deal.


Aspire Lounge - San Diego



First up, the Aspire Lounge. This was the most disappointing of the three. It was woefully small. The two times I've been there it was crowded. My brother and his wife was flying the same day and by the time they arrive at 10am it was already at capacity. The seating capacity is quite sad.



There's a buffet section. It was breakfast time when I was there. In the main station, there were some yogurt, cheese, sliced meat, fruit, and probably something to make a salad with, i forget. It just didn't look appetizing. The other side had the drink station and some sweets such as cookies. There were some fruit juices and a soft drink station. The soft drink station only had one spout and buttons to choose your flavor like Coke or Sprite.



There were a couple of automated coffee machines (one wasn't working) where it grinds the beans and makes different styles of coffee (cappuccino, espresso, etc) . It was one of the slowest coffee machines



It was all disappointing and just had a Sprite and cappicinno.


American Express Centurion Lounge - San Francisco



This one I was looking forward to since it seemed to have reviewed alot of good reviews from vloggers. One thing I've realized is that you won't be guaranteed access to a lounge depending terminal you fly in and the the location of the lounge. You may be flying into a different terminal and the airport may not be laid out with easy access to other terminals. Plus, it seems that a lot more people now have Lounge access so there's problems with overcrowding. During one of my layovers at JFK a few months ago, I wanted to go to the AMEX Centurion Lounge, but it was at a location near Security that I didn't have access to (and was too long of a haul). I opted for the Delta Lounge, and it had a long line to get in. Arriving at SFO, luckily the Centurion Lounge was literally next to my arrival gate.




The furniture and seating were nice. Pretty modern and new. There were sections with private booth complete with outlets. There were also some community tables with outlets. Then there were the plain dining tables. There were several sections, some had VIP access for the Centurion card holders. The main area with the larger buffet was pretty full so i went to the satellite, for which I believe was a recent expansion. It had a smaller buffet section but the spread was decent for lounge food. Had some soup, chicken tiki masala, pita, hummus, cookies and juice station



Later as the crowd died down, I took a peek at the main buffet



All in all, it was a great place to hang my hat for a few ours before I head over to the United Polaris Lounge at the International Terminal.


United Polaris Lounge - San Francisco



This lounge is pretty much only available for International Business Class Travelers so normally I wouldn't have access to this lounge. I must say I was really impressed with this lounge and easily the best so far.


Everything is elevated and upscale. Very nice furniture and lots of seating. It wasn't particularly crowded at the time. There are the private booths with nice comfy seats and chargin ports and outlets. lots of different type of seating whether solo or communal. There's also sections where you can sleep and even take a shower.



The food looked pretty good and the best of the three. Here is a gallery of what they offered in the buffet. There was also a drink station with different flavored water and a fridge where you can grab can soda (which I grabbed one for my flight).



I actually didn't do the buffet. I saw that there was a separate dining area where it is a sit down restaraunt with waiter service and you can order for a small menu, and it's all free (but tip your waiter)! It very small bites but you can order as much as you want.


Here's the menu offering:




I started with the Pork Belly Bao then the Seafood Cioppino. The bao was great. The pork belly was nice and fatty and seasoned well, and the bao itself was moist. The cioppino was excellent but it was maybe a tad salty. Had a nice chunk of cod and the shrimp was pretty plump.



Then finished off with a chocolate chip skillet cookie with ice cream. It was small but satisfying. The cookie was nice and melty. And the icecream was a nice touch. It was listed as vegetarian but i don't think that's the case.


The best location to finish up the lounge visit was the Quiet Section. It wasn't busy and a lot of the private booths were available. It had its own beverage section



I found a booth with a nice view and hung my hat until my flight



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