On our recent trip to Istanbul and London, we had a chance to visit Turkish Airlines’ CIP Lounge located inside the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul (The CIP stands for Corporate Incentive Program).

We arrived early at the airport for our Lufthansa flight to London (via Munich) specifically to make sure we had ample time to experience the well regarded lounge. The lounge had been through a major renovation and was re-opened on July 19, 2011. What we experienced would not disappoint!

After going through the formalities with the Lounge Attendant and entering the Lounge, the first thing that caught my eye was the Billiards table that was set up for guests to use. I’ve seen pictures of the lounge previously, but it still caught me by surprise. Normally you would not expect that in an airline lounge.

Billiards pass the time before a flight.....

Another feature that I normally do not see when using a lounge (especially in the USA) is an area to securely lock your luggage in a locker. You set your own combination much like the safe in a hotel room and are free of your luggage while in the lounge or if you decide to leave the lounge and explore the airport shopping areas.

Safe and secure storage of your luggage

The architecture is certainly unique within the lounge (I mean that in a very good way!). The 32,000 square foot lounge is segmented into “Spheres” using circular structures that help break up the size of the lounge. At the same time it does lend a sense of warmth to what otherwise would just be one extremely large room.

The circular design lends warmth to the lounge

A view from the eating area toward the Biliiard "Room"

Much of the Lounge is daylit. I noticed very little artificial light throughout the lounge. This also helped with the warm feel within the lounge. It also allows the lounge to have real flowers and tree throughout!

Plenty of day light allows for live plants and trees

In addtion to the Billiard Table, other forms of entertainment are offered for both young and less young. The lounge offers a dedicated Child’s Play Area, A dedicated Theatre Room, A Media Wall covered with flat screen TVs, a Player Piano as well as a bank of Apple Computers (not pictured)for use by lounge guests.

Let the Lounge entertain your children

As comfortable as a Home Theatre Room

9 Screens.....something for everyone.

Player Piano provides soft music

The food service in the lounge is very good. We were there during breakfast service and had ample options including continental breakfast options as well as options such as Omelettes and Menemen from the kitchen area. Of course, the Coffee and Tea offerings were impressive, but what else would you expect in a Turkish Lounge!

Dining Area adjacent to the Kitchen

Additional Dining Area

Excellent and delicious breakast!

One food related item that stood out to me among all others was the way they “presented” honey. Normally honey is simply in a bowl or some single serve packet. Not here. The honey here is directly from the Hive, including the Hive’s frame. Its set up in such a way that the honey slow drips out of the Hive and into a serving plate. I thought this was spectacular!

Fresh from the Hive.....

Ample beverage choices including Coffee, Tea, Juices, Water and a self-service Wine cart:

Large variety of Coffee and Tea

Well stocked beverage cooler

Self serve wines

As much as I enjoyed our time in this lounge, there is one minor disappointment which has to do with it’s location. There is no decent view from the lounge. All the views look away from the airport, so there is no chance to watch the activity on the tarmac and runway. Some may not care, but being a “closet” plane-spotter, I would have liked to watch the Airplanes move about the airport while enjoying my eggs!

A few other bits and pieces from the Lounge visit:

The Lounge is accessible by passengers flying in Business Class from Istanbul, Star Alliance Gold Level members and Turkish’s Mile & Smiles Elite and Elite Plus members.

The lounge is open daily from 5:00a to 1:00a

To get your wifi password, you need to go back near the rest rooms and Apple Computer bank where an lounge attendant will give you the code.

There are shower facilities available that allow you to wirelessly “sync” your Ipad, Ipod or Smartphone to a speaker system so that you can play your own music in your shower room.

The lounge has private resting rooms available for guests.

The lounge offers separate prayer rooms for Men and Women.

In closing, I have to say that this is one of the best Star Alliance Lounges available for Business Travelers and Star Alliance Gold level members. The suite of amenities are far and above what most other basic lounges offer. The uniqueness of the architecture and activities that are available in the lounge in my mind is what sets it apart from the rest. Mind you, I am not including Lufthansa’s First Class Lounges and First Class Terminal in this comparison! 🙂

But seriously, if you ever find yourself in Istanbul with the credentials to enter the Turkish CIP Lounge, you have to do it!

This is only part of a much larger trip report covering the trip to Istanbul and London. If you would like to be informed of future trip reports, please follow me on twitter: @lufthansaflyer.

Here is the current “index” of the trip report. The one’s with hyperlinks have already been completed:

Lufthansa First Class Services from Chicago to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Frankfurt

Istanbul – Sultan Ahmed (Sultanahmet) Mosque.
Istanbul – The Basilica Cistern.
Istanbul – Spice Market and Grand Bazaar.
Istanbul – Park Hyatt Macka Palas.
Istanbul – Our Day with Ihsan (besttaxidriver.com).
Istanbul – Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul – Other Mosques and Churches.
Istanbul – I find out what Zultanite is….
Istanbul – The Food We Found.
Istanbul – Turkish Airlines’ International CIP Lounge.

London – Hyatt Andaz Liverpool Street.
London – Opening of Parliament – Great pictures of the Queen and procession to Parliament.
London – ‘The Sunshine Boys’ at the Savoy Theater (Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths)…..BRILLIANT, MUST SEE!
London – Spitalfield’s Antique Market – And the lesson I learned.
London – Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum.
London – Photos from around town.
London – Dinner at Petrus
London – St. James Park: Feathers and Fur
London – Covent Gardens.
London – All the other things that I can’t think of at the moment….

Pluckley – They said it was haunted……