28 Aug REVIEW: TURKISH AIRLINES CIP LOUNGE ISTANBUL
In life there are lounges and then there’s Turkish Airline’s CIP lounge in Istanbul! We spent a couple of hours there before our flight to the Maldives and were convinced that this is one of the best business class lounges in the world! But let’s see why:
Summary: This was our fourth visit to the CIP lounge and it’s easy to see why it’s considered one of the best business class lounges worldwide: massive space with tons of seating, beautiful decor, fantastic food quality/variety and many options to keep you entertained during your visit. The lounge can get quite busy during peak times but it won’t be too hard to find some space to call your own. Put simply: this is a world-class lounge!
Location: The lounge is after security but if you are connecting from another flight you may not have to go through security again (at least that was the case after our Athens-Istanbul flight) and can therefore head to the lounge straight away. Just bear in mind that the airport is quite big so it can take up to 10′ to get there.
Access: Passengers flying on a Star Alliance carrier in business class or in economy but with Star Alliance Gold, Miles and Smiles Elite and Elite Plus status can access the lounge. As always, these passengers can also bring a guest as long as he/she is also flying on a Star Alliance carrier.
The space: Turkish’s CIP lounge is spread over two floors occupying a gargantuan 3,000sqm that can accommodate up to 2,000 visitors! As you can imagine, the lounge is very impressive, especially the first time you visit it. It has many different areas and seating options to match you every mood: comfy couches, big throne-type chairs, desks to work from and to enjoy your meal, private shower rooms, private cabanas where you can catch up on some sleep, kids playground, video games, pool table and even a movie theater! It’s a really well equipped lounge that could easily keep you entertained for 3 hours or more. At peak times it can get busy and loud but you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a place to sit and to enjoy everything the lounge has to offer. The pictures below speak for themselves:
Food/Drinks: The food is one of the areas where the CIP lounge really excels. It offers one of the most extensive food/drink menus we’ve ever seen in a business class lounge. Aside from the usual buffet options that offer cold items, you will also find many hot food stations where real chefs prepare everything in front of your very eyes! As expected, the lounge also has many drinks stations where you can find fizzy drinks, water and alcoholic options. There is so much variety in terms of the food, from Turkish classics to international dishes, that you will be hard-pressed to go hungry! However, during our visit around 12.30am all the hot food stations were closed and we were left with just cold food items. Presumably this is just because it was so late at night but you should bear that in mind if you are planning to visit the lounge at a similar hour of the day. Thankfully, we were able to salvage some photos of the hot food selection from our previous visits:
Other amenities: Like any world-class flagship lounge, the CIP lounge has private shower rooms where you can freshen up before your flight. Obviously, these are in high demand so make sure you ask to use one early on as you might have to get on a waiting list. The lounge also has private cabanas that have a single bed and a tv. To use these rooms, your outbound flight has to be over 8 hours and you have to have at least a 4 hour connection in Istanbul but not more than 7 hours. The reception where you can request access to the private rooms and cabanas is on the top floor, after the main reception.