Some, or should I say many, people have called it the best business lounge in the world. Over and over again. When I passed through Istanbul airport recently, I couldn’t help but peek in. For one thing, it’s huge. Understandable, given they doubled its size a few years ago when it became a tad crowded.
There’s a lot of nifty tech in use. You only have to scan your boarding pass and, should you be eligible for lounge access, electronic gates open up to let you into the sprawling lounge which now straddles two floors. The first impression is of a tranquil, airy, light-filled space, especially after the walk through the very busy food courts and shopping areas of the airport.
If you want to store your luggage, the baggage area lets you do so in glass compartments accessed by passwords. So no fumbling around for keys.
Plants tucked in here and there strongly suggest an oasis. And an oasis suggests water, which does flow here, but in the plush showers which I realised are rather popular when I lined up for one. I can’t tell you how heavenly it felt after my long flight.
There’s lots more, of course. Video gaming and children’s play areas. A library, would you believe. A pool table. A movie theatre with a machine in front of it dispensing as much popcorn as you want.
The seating areas are spread out across the lounge and there is even a piano, in case you suddenly get the urge to play one. There are suites equipped with showers and comfy beds. Should you still not feel rested, in-house massage therapists are at hand to tease out every niggling knot from your body.
As is often the case with business lounges, there was a lot of delish food floating around. The culinary high points of this particular lounge sojourn for me were the live teppanyaki station that had been set up to celebrate the launch of flights to Tokyo and some traditional kofte. Another authentic Turkish delight I sampled was pide, a flatbread topped with ground meat and vegetables. This was Turkey after all, so a plethora of sweets was available all over the lounge. I dutifully tucked into some baklava.
Istanbul is a lively airport, filled with enticements. If you can tear yourself away from all that, the Turkish Airlines lounge is just the restful nook you need before your next flight.