Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge in Istanbul

The central atrium of the Istanbul lounge features a wire globe with the Turkish Airlines symbol

The Turkish Airlines CIP Lounge at Istanbul Ataturk airport in the International Terminal is a tourist destination in and of itself. It is one of the best business class lounges in the world.

Open 24 hours a day, the lounge is located near gate 220. It is available to first/business class passengers, Star Alliance Gold Members, Star Alliance partner flight (e.g., Aeroplan) Miles and Smiles Elite members, United Club and Air Canada Maple Leaf members leaving on  a Star Alliance flight on the same day. Star Alliance Gold and Miles and Smiles Elite members can bring one guest.

On entering you just scan your boarding pass or Star Alliance membership card at a turnstile.

The cavernous 3500 square meter lounge occupies two floors and can host 1030 people at a time. The lounge has been cleverly divided into welcoming and surprising spaces.

Lacy deco/islamic arches define a large seating and eating area
Lacy deco/islamic arches define a large seating and eating area

a grand piano

The design of the space is art deco luxury complete with overstuffed chairs and a grand piano.

All amenities are complimentary and include:

storage lockers for carry-on, boots, coats, duty-free purchases

  • Elegant storage lockers  (you can set the code), so you don’t need to lug your carry-on, winter coat or duty-free purchases around with you. Every lounge should have these!
  • Movie theatre with a big screen, reclining chairs and a popcorn machine
  • Billiard table in a library setting
  • Play room for kids
  • Video game and arcade machines
  • Marble clad shower suites (with product, towels, slippers and robes provided)
  • Sleeping suites
  • Massage therapist
  • A wide selection of newspapers and magazines
A panel of nine televisions each tuned to a different channel in several languages; wireless headsets are available so you can listen to your chosen broadcast
A panel of nine televisions each tuned to a different channel in several languages; wireless headsets are available so you can listen to your chosen broadcast
  • Media rooms with multiple screens tuned to worldwide TV channels.
  • Computers and printers
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Teleconference Hall
  • Prayer room
  • Complimentary city tours (for those with long stopovers)
  • Entertainment, including a golf simulator and a racetrack
Golf simulator
Golf simulator
Race track
Race track

But to be honest the best thing about this spectacular lounge is the fine dining…

Dining area with fancy crystal chandelier

Catered by Do&Co the lounge features a variety of stations of (buffet and cooked to order) offering a wide range of European and Turkish gourmet delicacies. The selection includes Boomer Travellers top Turkish favourites including:

-Lahmacun (Turkish pizza) thin crust with minced meat, onion, red pepper, lemon juice and parsley
-Turkish mezzo
-Pide: a slightly leavened wheat bread oval in shape stuffed with meat or cheese
-Börek: phyllo pastry filled with spinach, cheese or potatoes

Simit (Turkish bagel): freshly baked, dipped in grape molasses and covered in sesame seeds
Simit (Turkish bagel): freshly baked, dipped in grape molasses and covered in sesame seeds
Manti (Turkish ravioli)
Manti (Turkish ravioli)
Baklava
Baklava

And for those who prefer European delicacies you will not be disappointed.

Drink coolers, tables loaded with alcoholic bevarages, expresso machines, coffee bars with baristas freshly squeezed juices are located throughout the lounge. Be sure to try Ayran the national drink of Turkey  (a slightly salty yogurt drink) – delicious with spicy foods.

Hints: (1) The lower level is less crowded than the upper level (it was almost empty during our most recent seven hour stay). (2) Arrive hungry, and make sure you have lots of time before your connecting flight.

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