The Centurion Lounge by Pontus in Stockholm (ARN) is weird and wonderful. More akin to a nice restaurant than a lounge, there are only two lounge chairs of middling comfort, but the top-quality food and service more than make up for how un-loungey this lounge is.
Our Trip – Centurion Lounge by Pontus Review – Stockholm (ARN)
This city break in Budapest, by way of Stockholm, was a disaster from the beginning. In classic fashion, I booked my 8 euro RyanAir flight to Stockholm for the wrong month and bought a replacement at the airport for over 100. If you’ve never paid real-ticket prices for a RyanAir flight, let me congratulate you for not wading into mankind’s deepest well of shame and despair.
Budapest was a disaster as well– I should have listened to the fates when they told me it would lead to nothing but heart-break and wasted money. Luckily, a quick hop to Warsaw and the wonders of Lodz, and the weekend was salvaged.
The Facts – Centurion Lounge by Pontus Review – Stockholm (ARN)
The Pontus in the Air lounge is a weird one. AmEx, in their infinite wisdom, often neglects to open legit Centurion lounges outside North America, but instead goes more for the “lounge experience” route. Centurion Lounge by Pontus is no exception.
To get into the lounge, you’ll force your way down the human version of a cattle chute which connects terminals A and F. Arlanda is a somewhat confusing airport, but when you hear the pitiful moans of the lost souls relegated to the “F” gates, you’re on the right track.
Look for the Pontus sign, as it was much easier to spot than any AmEx signage. When you climb the stairs and arrive at the
disorganized storeroom for theater props host stand, you will use your blingy AmEx to dazzle the host into admitting you.
The Space – Centurion Lounge by Pontus Review – Stockholm (ARN)
I arrived before 9am and wasn’t allowed to enter the lounge proper, but was led to a general seating area. This area seems to serve as a traditional restaurant for those who aren’t part of the platinum glitterati and will be your holding pen while you wait for the lounge itself to open.
When the full lounge space does open– or, as when I was there, irate customers force their way in with the utmost entitlement– you will be treated to plenty of restaurant-style seating options. Along the corrdior is a nice bar with just the right dimensions for a laptop. Each station also has its own power outlet.
The restaurant itself is decorated with atrocious pop art set against the can lights and duct work of the terminal. Whoever designed the interior, entrance included, must have been paid in raw fish heads, because I have no other way to explain the terrible and off-brand the decor.
There are two, yes two, lounge chairs, stuck in a disused space between two dining rooms. They aren’t particularly comfortable or stylish and are put between prints of the AmEx black and platinum cards, just so you don’t forget where you are.
The Food – Centurion Lounge by Pontus Review – Stockholm (ARN)
As in all Centurion lounges, the food, drink and service are excellent. In the “holding pen” outside the restaurant, we were given a complimentary breakfast, with slightly-less-excellent dry ham sandwiches and a capuccino. These did keep the guests from resorting to cannibalism, which is about the best that can be said for it.
The menu sounds pedestrian, but in my many, many hours in the lounge, I was able to try almost everything (free) on it. Even the linguine with meatballs, which was a classic for my elementary lunch lady, came out delicious. Eat all you can.
My only complaint here is that the alcohol policy is very stingy. Many other Centurion lounges, like the one in Charlotte-Douglas, have excellent cocktails and no limit to the number or type you can order. Not so in the Centurion Lounge by Pontus. Here you are limited to beer and wine, with discounts (discounts!) on some other libations.
Working in the Centurion Lounge by Pontus – Stockholm (ARN)
The Stockholm Centurion is a very aggreable place to get work done. I was able to very comfortably set my laptop up on the counter and use a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to get work done or eat amazing food and drink wine as the mood struck me. While the internet was fast enough for a work video call, there was no quiet, isolated place to do it. The cavernous interior also created a ton of background noise for the call.
Apart from the cacophony, the work experience was so great I even fantasized about booking 8 euro flights on a weekly basis to spend my entire workday in this lounge, eating great food, and flying home in the evening. 16 euros is a small price to pay for excellent food and an entertaining coworking space, but it isn’t worth the weight of the CO2 on my conscience.
The restrooms are a crime against humanity. Squashed in the back of the lounge, there are two cabin restrooms that have probably been cleaned at one point in time. For now, don’t forget a pair of rubber boots to wade through the pile of discarded paper towels at the entrance.
The Stockholm Centurion by Pontus in Arlanda is a fascinating experience and the food and service are wonderful. We just wish they would hire a custodian and an interior designer and add a lounge space for top marks.