Lounge Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge at Istanbul Ataturk

Lounge Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge at Istanbul Ataturk

Contributed by Hirofumi Suda
Contributed by Hirofumi Suda
Hirofumi is an aviation enthusiast based in Zama, Japan. He fell in love with commercial aviation when he was eight, and ever since then has flown on more than 600 flights with more than 70 airlines. If you happen to read Japanese, also make sure to check his personal blog here.

While making my way back from the US to India, I had a chance to visit Turkish Airlines’ lounge at Istanbul Ataturk airport.

It is often highly regarded in reviews, and I cannot agree more – it was the best business class lounge I visited to date. In fact, more than a lounge, it almost felt like a small amusement park.

But, more on that later.

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Lounge Overview

The Turkish Airlines lounge can be accessed in two ways.

For passengers originating in Istanbul, there is a direct entrance through a dedicated business class check-in and security area. And, for those that transfer at the airport, or (for some reason) opt not to use the dedicated area, there is the main entrance from airside.

Given that I was transferring from a flight from San Francisco, I entered through the main entrance – by scanning my boarding pass at one of the lounge’s automated gates.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Entrance

Entrance into the Turkish Airlines Lounge at Istanbul Ataturk airport.
Lockers

Luggage lockers.

The lounge itself spanned two spacious floors, and it had many interesting features – some of which are rarely, if ever, seen in other airport lounges.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul

Looking down from the upper level.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul

Hallway.

Among other things, the lounge offered a movie theater room, a pool table, video game consoles, a golf putting course.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Pool Billiards Table

Library and pool room.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Movie Room

Theater room.
News Room

News room.
Golf

Golf.

There was also a well-equipped kids’ room, a slot car race track, and a video gaming area.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Kids Room

Kids’ room.
Slot Car Track

Slot car race track.
Video Games

Video game consoles.

All of the above, as well as some seating and dining areas, and a business center with iMacs were on the upper floor. For the musically-talented, there was also a piano.

Computers

iMacs.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Piano

Piano.

At the time of my visit, the upper floor was fairly crowded. But, the lower floor was much quieter with plenty of seats open.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Lower Floor

Looking at the lower floor from the second floor of the lounge.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul

First floor of the Turkish Airlines Lounge.

While the lower floor had no “fancy” features, there was plenty of seating, as well as dining there to keep one busy.

Dining Space

Dining area.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Seating

Lounging area.

Finally, the lower floor also offered shower and nap rooms. It took about an hour wait until I got to use one of the shower rooms.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t use one of the nap rooms, as the conditions for access are fairly strict with passengers having to meet all of the following criteria:

  • Traveling in business class or being a Miles&Smiles Elite Plus member
  • Having a transit time of four to seven hours
  • Flying on at least one flight longer than 8 hours

As for the shower room, it was quite extravagant with all marble.

Concierge Desk

Concierge desk.
Sink

Sink inside shower room.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Shower

Shower.
Shower

Toilet in the shower room.
Bathrobe

Bathrobe.

Separately, there was also supposed to be a quick 10-minute shoulder massage service by a therapist coming around the lounge, but I couldn’t see one walking around.

Food & Drinks Selection

Starting with the food there were some lighter items like salads and simit – a Turkish sesame bread.

Salad

Salads.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Simit

Simit.
Butter

Turkish butter.

Then, there were separate staffed counters for a variety of dishes, and all of the ones I tried tasted delicious. Among others, there was a Turkish pizza station, a grilled meat station, and even an Indian food station.

On a side note, the food in the lounge was catered by Do&Co, the same company Turkish Airlines uses for their onboard business class catering.

Turkish Ravioli

Manti – Turkish ravioli.
Manti

Many of the food stations were staffed.
Turkish Pizza Station

Pide – Turkish pizza.
Indian Food Station

Indian food.
Meat Station

Grilled meat station.
Pasta

Pasta.

Finally, there was also plenty of desserts to choose from – including items from Demel, a famous Viennese sweets shop.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Demel Cakes

Demel cakes.
Pie

Pie.
Turkish Dessert

Turkish dessert.

Overall, everything on offer in the lounge – from the appetizers all the way to the desserts – looked fresh and delicious. Just as an example, I had some perfectly cooked penne arabiata and Demel cakes, both of which were fantastic.

My Meal

My choice of food and drinks.

As for drinks, the usual canned and bottled soft drinks were available in refrigerators dispersed throughout the lounge.

Canned Soft Drinks

Canned and bottled soft drinks.
Drinks

Juices and Schweppes.
Ayran

Ayran.

Apart from that, there were stations where one could get Turkish coffee, home-made iced tea with dates syrup, as well as lemonade and tea counters.

Coffee

Coffee.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Tea

Tea.
Lemonade

Lemonade.
Ayran

Ayran “on tap.”

Alcoholic beverages were available at self-service counters in a number of places throughout the lounge as well.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Alcoholic Drinks

Alcoholic drinks.

Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul Ataturk Summary

Overall, the Turkish Airlines lounge is by far the best business class lounge that I’ve visited to date. And, even though I visited it during one of the airport’s peak times and as such it was a bit crowded, it still provided for a very pleasant stay.

The only two downsides of my visit – my short one hour stay and the inability to try the nap rooms – were not even faults of the lounge itself.

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