I'll cut to the chase: the newly-renovated Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul is amazing and easily the best business class and best Star Alliance Gold lounge I have ever been in.
The last two months I have connected in Istanbul four times--deliberately. I plan to do it again in a couple weeks and hopefully on a number of occasions in 2012 and beyond. Damian shared a few photos of the lounge last month and now it is my turn. Enjoy the tour:
Passengers beginning their journey in Istanbul can use dedicated check-in kiosks and a self-serve lounge entrance (simply scan your boarding pass and the gate opens) to bypass all interaction with Turkish staff.
Inside, the lounge is divided into several areas including:
- Movie theatre with recliner seats
- Food area, catered by Do&Co (featuring fresh food all day, including cook-to-order omelets in the morning and freshly grilled meats in the evening, a coffee-bar with barista, freshly squeezed juices, and a wide assortment of alcohol)
- Ample seating areas + prayer room (no photo)
- Library with pool table
- Computer stations (featuring Apple iMacs)
- Sleeping rooms (reserved for connecting lonhghaul business class and Star Gold passengers)
- Shower rooms (with rain shower head)
A common complaint when the lounge first opened was slow wireless internet--indeed, I found that to be the case during my first visit to the lounge. But the problem is now solved: the internet is now password-protected and provided by a different company with a noticeable improvement in speed.
The pictures above do not do this lounge justice--Turkish is a rising star in Star Alliance and a trip on Turkish Airlines and stop in Istanbul is well-worth your time, even if you have to go out of the way.