I last reviewed the Turkish Airlines Istanbul CIP lounge in 2011 and called it the best business class lounge in the world. Since then, it has doubled in size…and is still the best business class lounge in the world.
Spanning two full floors and featuring many amenities found in the world’s best first class lounges, the Turkish Airlines International CIP Lounge in Istanbul is worth an extended transit in IST.
Who Can Enter the Turkish Airlines Lounge?
Lounge entry is granted for all Star Alliance Gold members, Star Alliance business class passengers, and Turkish Airlines’ Elite and Elite Plus members. Turkish Classic Plus (Star Silver) members have access to domestic CIP lounges, but not this international CIP lounge. Additionally, if you have a United Club membership and are traveling on any Star Alliance flight out of Istanbul, you will be granted access.
Photo Tour of Turkish Airlines Istanbul CIP Lounge
As you enter the lounge, you are directed left to scan your boarding pass. Electronic gates control entry and traffic is brisk — this is a very popular, very busy lounge at almost all times of day. Open 24/7 to support TK’s round-the-clock operations, there is rarely a lull of traffic.
Straight inside the lounge is are two bookcases filled with books — a library for your use while visiting the lounge. In the center of a library sits a pool table, which you are free to use.
Just off to your right is a baggage storage area. Password controlled, no keys are needed and your luggage is safe.
Beyond the baggage storage area is a movie theatre, playing movies (often musical concerts) around the clock. A popcorn machine sits outside and the chairs are very plush with decent recline. Hint: if the sleeping rooms are full or your are not eligible for one, use the movie theater instead.
Past the movie theatre is a vast seating area with couches, tables, and chairs. In the corner sits a children’s play area and a video game area.
Turkish Airlines Lounge Food
In the center of the lounge is food. A lot of delicious food. Breakfast includes omelets made to order, wonderful Turkish and Continental items like bircher muesli, fresh yogurt, and pastries, and even real honeycomb. Scrambled and fried eggs are also available and quickly replenished when depleted. Truly, skip your hotel breakfast — this is better.
Lunch and dinner are even better. Grilled meats, paninis, wonderful salads, homemade pastas…and best of all, Pide. Pide is a delicious flatbread with various toppings, like a Turkish pizza.
There is even a mixed nut bar!
A barista is available for most of the day to make coffee drinks of your choice and the dessert trays are mesmerizing. Also don’t forget to try the many fresh juices available.
The lounge is not dry. Throughout the lounge are alcohol stations with self-serve liquor. Separate stations have water and soft drinks.
As you walk through the lounge you come to seating area after seating area. A grand piano sits, waiting for you to play it. Throughout the lounge are additional food and drink stations.
A few years ago the lounge started to get very crowded so Turkish doubled the size of it.
Adding a massive downstairs, there are now more eating areas, more drinking areas, more sitting areas, more kids areas, and even a second grand piano. The stairs leading downstairs are ensconced in a cool Turkish globe.
Turkish Airlines Istanbul Lounge Showers and Sleeping Rooms
The lounge does offer showers, available to all guests, and sleeping rooms. Sleeping room access is restricted to:
- The following passengers:
- Business Class passengers
- Turkish Elite or ElitePlus members
- Star Alliance Gold members
- Under the following conditions:
- 1.) departing on a long haul flight of more than eight (8) hours AND
- 2.) in transit for more than 4 but less than 7 hours
(Passengers with longer connections are offered complimentary hotel rooms…the subject of an upcoming post)
Sleeping rooms are very nice — a private room with a twin bed, desk, TV, and bottled water:
Showers are fair — a bit more pressure and warmer temperatures would be appreciated:
The lounge also has two large bathrooms–
Turkish Airlines Istanbul CIP Lounge Special Entrance
If you are staring your trip in Istanbul, Turkish created a special entrance for you to clear security and passport control, emptying you directly into the lounge. Be warned, though: this is only for Turkish Airlines passengers — not for any other Star Alliance carriers. This will also be the subject of a future post (I also wrote about it here in 2012)–
What does it say about a lounge when I deliberatly book long layovers in Istanbul just to spend more time there? Over and over. This lounge is truly one of my favorite in the world and if you have not experienced it, you must. I have to twist clients’ arms so often to book on Turkish and every single time — literally every single time — they come back after traveling thanking me and inevitably commenting on how great the lounge in Istanbul is.