Why you should avoid the Amex Platinum / The Hospital Club pop-up lounge in Covent Garden

I apologise to any readers who tried to meet up with us at the American Express Platinum pop-up lounge at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden last night.

The evening turned into a PR shambles for American Express, although anyone could have seen the flaw in their plan.

The lounge has capacity for 75 people.  However, Amex decided to put on a lecture for 60 people at 6pm until closing time at 8pm.  I’m not sure which one it was, but the topics to be covered over the weekend were:

snow globe making

make your own home fragrance

beauty services

“holiday tips related to shopping, clothing, and decorating”

With 60 people ticketed for the lecture, only 15 places in the lounge were left for the general public.  On a Friday night.  In a city with many thousands of Platinum and Centurion cardholders, all of whom had been emailed and invited along.

We arrived at 4.30pm.  The last people to get in arrived at 4.20pm.  After that, Amex stopped allowing anyone else in and started to clear the lounge, because everyone had to be gone by 6pm.

People arriving early for the 6pm lecture (some were there at 4.30pm with us) were told to queue until 6pm.  They did tell us that, as we were at the front, we would get in as one of the 15 members of the public allowed in at 6pm.  However, hanging around for 90 minutes did not really appeal.

What you can do, of course, is use the other facilities of The Hospital Club because you are already in the building – the staff don’t know you’re not a member.  Anika and I went up to the 2nd floor bar, had a beer and went home.

If they are running similar lectures in the evenings on the other nights that the lounge is open (tonight, tomorrow and next Friday to Sunday) then there is no point – at all – in turning up.

When I asked the manager why they had done this, she told me (and I paraphrase, obviously) that they expected that the people who would come would not be the sort who have jobs.  They were expecting everyone to visit during the day on Friday.   No-one was expected to come on a Friday night, despite a two hour ‘canapes and cocktails’ happy hour being advertised.

If you do want to give it a try …..

The Amex pop-up lounge is at private members club The Hospital Club, on Endell Street near Covent Garden.   The lounge will be open from Friday 24th November (yesterday was the opening day) to Sunday 26th November and from next Friday 1st December to Sunday 3rd December, from 11am to 8pm.

You will get access with a Platinum or Centurion charge card.  Each cardholder can bring two guests, so presumably if your partner has a supplementary Platinum card then you’d be allowed four guests between you.

There is a special ‘cocktail and canapes’ happy hour between 5pm and 7pm each day.  

Your chances of getting in at night seem slim.  Assuming that only 15 members of the public will be allowed in each evening because the other 60 slots are reserved for lecture attendees, and one Platinum cardholder can bring in six people using their supplementary card as well, you can do the maths.

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  1. I went in on Sunday around 1:30 pm, no queuing. Just waited for someone to take is just before. Staff were very friendly and helpful. Me and the missus found a couple of seat, seemed like a mix of families, couples and groups of friends. Very chilled out relaxed atmosphere. Sandwiches, wraps, cakes and bowls of snack were available. Sparkling wine was flowing freely till 3, beer and spirits, as well as soft drinks were also available.
    Didnt sign up for the fragrance making session around 2pm, was fully booked but due to a couple of no shows they did manage to accommodate us. Was a fun experience and everyone was very chatty. The highlight was a mother who had her 5 year old bring her a glass of sparkling wine to the table then go back to her Dad, great parenting skills, haha.

  2. We’re here now. Friday at 5. Crowd is light and staff is friendly and helpful. Has the atmosphere of a small private party. I imagine that since it’s early the crowd will grow.

  3. Waribai says:

    Yes, went yesterday afternoon with a friend. It had a good vibe and while the snacks were a little light on the ground the drinks were definitely flowing. Although they did run out of sparkling wine. Now, thinking whether to take the family tomorrow….

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