I finally had my chance to experience the business class lounge in Istanbul operated by Turkish Airlines. You can access the Istanbul lounge as a Star Gold which makes connecting very comfortable. And I know we've had several posts on this subject, but the lounge is so nice it deserves one more.
After arriving on Turkish Airlines from Cairo I made my way towards the signs for connecting flights, but I was turned back to the security station for all flights to the USA. The security line is before passport control and a little confusing as they have an "express" sign for business class passengers, but no clear indication of where to stand. It was all very chaotic so I just waited in the queue with everyone else. Luckily the line moved quickly and I was at the front of the line within 10 minutes. After a good stare down and some standard questions from the security agent, I had to wait in another slow line to get a sticker on the back of my passport. Once completed I made my way up the escalator in search of the lounge.
If you take nothing else from this post know this: the lounge is at the far end of the terminal and is simply named the Turkish Airlines Lounge. There are several other signs leading to more exotically named lounges, which may confuse some (me!) into thinking they were the intended destination. If you're by the food court, you're at the wrong end. Follow the signs for the THY CIP Lounge instead.
Once I made the lengthy trek to the other end of the terminal I scanned my boarding card and went into the lounge. The lounge is divided into several sections through giant archways. The first room is the library with pool table:
Walking a little further you pass the movie theater on the right:
Then the main dining area. There are several self serve buffets along with chef stations where they cook made to order dishes throughout the day. The dining area is bright and airy and although the lounge was very busy - it never felt crowded.
Towards the back of the Turkish business class lounge is a smaller piano bar area:
There are eight workstations, four running Mac OS and four running Windows. There is an application in the Windows tray that will switch the keyboard between languages.
Self service soft drinks
And more importantly, for my 7am visit, self service alcohol: ;)
Later in the day, I returned from the free tour and took advantage of the sleeping suites that can be used for up to six hours. Longer than this duration they offer a free hotel room outside the airport.
Wide view of the lounge sleeping suite where you can see the mirrored ceiling which makes the room feel much more spacious.
After a kip I walked across the hall to one of the available showers to freshen up before my flight to JFK.
The lounge is well designed, comfortable and beautiful. Although I was very full from my tour I did sample a few dishes and the food was tasty and varied, something for everyone. Overall it was a great experience and I understand why Matthew doesn't mind forgoing the hotel room to stay in the Turkish Lounge instead.