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. Sort of OT – it’s Amex related at least: I think I saw on here that you could now get refer a friend bonuses across different cards – is this confirmed as true/not true? I would be looking to refer someone for an SPG Amex from my BA PP. Would I get a referral bonus for that?

    When I follow the referral link and choose the SPG card it says I would get 11000 points, so the referred person would get the sign up bonus for the referral.

  2. I went in around 2.30 this afternoon grabbed a beer and coffee.
    Staff were so nice but they did run out of food (only small cakes)
    It was at capacity when I walked in but they let me in anyway (as I was on my own)

  3. I went yesterday evening arriving about 17:20. Had a lovely evening in the lounge joining friends who had arrived earlier in the afternoon. Extremely courteous staff with a really good vibe. We had very good seats for the lecture which actually was interesting but only lasted about 20 minutes. Drinks were free flowing though they often ran out so therefore delays at the bar. All in all though a magical evening and one must not forget this was provided for “free”.

  4. We went by on the off-chance today around 4pm and got in straight away. We stayed until chucking-out time and had a really nice evening chatting to other people and enjoying a few drinks and snacks.
    The staff couldn’t have been friendlier and the ambience was really nice. There was a free gift wrapping service for Christmas presents you had bought.
    The canapés and cocktails were very good, but it was definitely best to be seated near the bar as they didn’t make it that far down the room.
    I’ve got a feeling that people had been put off by what had happened yesterday, so I think we were quite lucky today.

  5. I think your review is petty, vindictive and wrong.
    I was there early in the afternoon and would estimate about 200 people would fit in standing, with around 70 seated.

    The lounge wasn’t a piss up spot for HFP readers, and it’s a shame you portrayed it this way.

    For someone who is supposedly good friends and knows all about Amex, this will hopefully help destroy your relationship with them. What will you do with out the constrsnt stream of referrals?

    • Fred,
      That is very negative petty and vindictive of you also. Don’t think Rob was advocating quite what you had in mind. Remember we card holders were actually invited by Amex. It was just a suggestion that if any of us were planning to go, it would have been actually quite nice to have met up with some other HFPs. A simple nice suggestion. The 1000s descending was a quick tongue in cheek remark, humorous at best!
      The amount of money Amex makes from his referrals spend is huge, so l don’t think Amex will hold this review against him!

  6. IslandDweller says:

    Fred. I, along with many other readers here, got a direct email invitation from amex. It implied I would be welcome at any time over the weekend and be offered snacks and drink. That proved illusory as the overcrowding on Friday was so bad we couldn’t get in. Nothing petty or vindictive in reporting that.

  7. Do they swipe your amex card to prove it is still active? Mrs MC has an active card however has left it at her parents.

  8. Neil Spellings says:

    Visited the lounge yesterday with my family around 5pm. Had no problems getting in but there was not enough places to sit (which is exactly what you need after trekking around the shops)

    We ended up sitting in the family area (although we did have a child, so technically wasn’t breaking any rules) however soon found out that no food was being sent in our direction. We either had to intercept the staff as they brought it out, or pick at the crisps and snacks that were available near the bar. Despite assurances from several members of staff they would more evenly distribute the food, we didn’t really see any for the two hours it was being served.

    Despite the failings, we did have a good time, a few drinks and snacks, and had fun taking and printing pics (including a photobomb message for Amex to send us some food)

  9. A couple of points (forgive the pun) – I have a Platinum Amex, and I live in London, but didn’t receive any kind of invitation to the lounge – does anyone have any idea why? Was it limited to ‘types’ of Platinum???

    I only found out about it because I’m a member at The Hospital Club and so saw the pop-up lounge as I was entering the club one day.

    Yesterday, I thought I’d pop-in with a couple of friends. We queued (at 5.30) for about 5 minutes and were then let in. The place was full, but not rammed, and we had to stand at the bar which I didn’t mind. There was plenty to drink at the bar (wine, spirits and beer) and occasionally some cocktails were passed around on trays.

    I didn’t see any canapés, but there were bowls of crisps and chips.

    The atmosphere was lovely and the staff (I suspect agency/actor/models) were terrific. AMEX have done a beautiful job in the lounge – I just wish I knew why I wasn’t invited!

    The atmosphere

    • Invite was to all card members, in the Vista email they send round. You may have just deleted or not have marketing preferences set to receive it…

  10. We were at the lounge on Sunday morning. The children made snow globes (we were not pre-booked but they found us a space). There were nice cakes on offer and around midday a few sandwiches came out. The staff were very friendly and attentive. We all had a good time – it was a nice pre Christmas experience.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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….