Best business class lounge in the world: Turkish in Istanbul

Yesterday I flew from Tokyo to Istanbul on Turkish and while I found the food to be excellent, the service was anything but.

Today I flew LOT from Istanbul to Warsaw, which meant I had the opportunity to visit Turkish’s lounge in Istanbul. I’ve heard great things about the lounge, though I don’t think I fully had an appreciation for how awesome it is.

For one, it’s stunning architecturally, probably the most aesthetically appealing lounge I’ve been to (though I do love Lufthansa’s simplistic design). I think the pictures speak for themselves on that front.

The lounge has a business center, kids play area, quiet room with lounge chairs, billiards table, lockers, and more.

One of the most impressive aspects of the lounge was the DO & CO catering. The food was simply phenomenal. They had a buffet with cold Turkish specialties, all kinds of hot options, and an open bar.

Then there was a dessert station which was too tasty for anyone’s good. They had about a dozen different cakes. There was an espresso bar to complement it.

I’ll have more details with the trip report, though this is hands down the best business class lounge I’ve ever been to (with the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow being a close second).

And I’d actually say it ranks in my top five lounges worldwide, otherwise consisting of the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, Thai First Class Lounge Bangkok, Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai, and Qantas First Class Lounge Melbourne (I realize the one in Sydney is nicer, though I haven’t been there yet).

Comments

  1. Best lounge in the world!
    Greatest food as well as clean, spacious and other airlines could learn from this perfect lounge!

  2. Have you been to the new A380 hub in Dubai that opened in January? I’m traveling through there in early March. Looks great.

  3. @ STLSpidey — Yes, that’s where the new lounge is that I reviewed (link above). It’s an awesome terminal.

  4. I appreciate the nod to the QF lounge in Sydney. It does stick in my craw when you cite the Melbourne lounge. I spend a lot of time at both of them and there’s just no comparison. Sydney First rocks.

  5. I was there before lucky…. I can’t say that very often!

    ( though for us it wax like 4 am and not much was happening)

  6. I was there in the late afternoon and it was very busy so the ambien was like in a crowded restaurant, not very relaxing.

    Didn’t you take a photo inside the washroom (common area)? I think the washroom was also amazing.

  7. I plan on flying to Istanbul later this year, on economy though. Being a *A gold, do I have access to this or any other lounge in IST?

  8. Lucky, I totally agree it’s one of the best J class lounges, did you try the showers? Absolutely nice! So are the sleeping rooms.

    I love the self-assigned luggage lockers.

  9. Lucky, I read the link to your review of the Virgin Upper Class lounge, where as you were checking in, the staff told you the flight was oversold. The very first thing I thought about when I read that was, ‘Opportunity for a free ticket!!’ So this raised a question in my mind… Do you ever try to get bumped in these situations? What is airline bumping policy when it comes to biz or first class? Since I’ve been reading your blog, I don’t remember seeing you talk about that too much.

  10. I was there 2 years ago and it looked nothing like the pics. I was not impressed at all! It was 6am, way overcrowded, and random furniture everywhere (but no place to sit, ironically). Looks like they have fixed up the place nicely.

  11. Great pics! I heard rave reviews about this lounge from others. I will be visiting it next month. Looking forward to it 😉

  12. I’m not a huge fan of the curves/arches. It makes it feel smaller than it is, and not as airy/open as it should be.

    Looks like Qatar’s lounge at Doha was edged out of your top 5…

  13. Great report;

    Food looked great, I love Turkish food.

    Was the liquor as low-rent as it looked? Gordon’s gin, beefeater’s vodka, Ballantine’s scotch… True they have Tanqueray and Johnny Walker Black but they are still not luxury.

  14. @ emilie — Never made it there unfortunately.

    @ BFrankley — Definitely top ten, though I don’t think top five. It’s a nice enough room, though I didn’t think there was anything that special about it. It would probably be the next lounge on my list.

    @ Denis — Absolutely, as a Star Gold you can use the lounge.

    @ Mike — Shoot, sadly didn’t have a chance to check out the showers.

    @ Coutureguy — On US airlines it happens all the time, though on foreign carriers it’s much, much rarer in my experience, as the penalties for overselling are greater. Typically it’s not that the actual flight is oversold, but rather just one cabin slightly oversold in such a way that they’d probably be able to accommodate everyone, and there’s just a small chance they’d have to operationally upgrade (or downgrade) people. So not something I’ve faced personally.

    @ Chase — I believe the lounge only opened more recently.

  15. @ Lucky- It might be interesting to try to see if you can get a free ticket next time biz or first is oversold (speaking of int’l flights of course.) I’m curious as to how they’d handle it if you volunteered to give up your seat.

  16. Awesome, we were there at around 11am on Sunday, we must have just missed each other. Fantastic lounge, agreed that it’s likely the best I’ve been in. Food was great, though a bit limited as we were there right as they were switching from breakfast to lunch service. To be honest I lol’d right after typing “limited” right there 🙂 Even as the stations were in transition there was still more food and drink than the avg 1st lounge 🙂

  17. Hi,
    after reading this blog I used United miles for business class tickets from Rome to JFK on Turkish Airlines, so I guess 4 hours in Istanbul lounge will be enough to try it all (lol). Lounge description also has shower (better be Turkish baths), did anybody try it?
    Also is it anything else interesting or unique we can see/buy/enjoy at IST?

  18. @ Tatyana — The shower rooms are also quite nice, though I forgot to snap a picture of them. Other than the lounge the airport in Istanbul is pretty mediocre.

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