Best Airport Lounge
You won't believe the family-friendly amenities at this airport lounge! KidTripster is naming it “World’s Best.”
Why would I take the time to write about an airport lounge? If you're asking that question, it’s only because you have yet to experience the Turkish Airlines Flagship C.I.P. Lounge (CIP means Commercially-Important Person, aka V.I.P.) at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul. If you had, it would come as no surprise that KidTripster has named it the “World’s Best Airport Lounge.” With more amenities than most five-star hotels, the lounge caters to both parents and kids. Don’t believe me? After spending 13 hours in this lounge on a recent layover, my children didn't want to leave! In fact, if you’re not traveling to Istanbul, you may want to consider routing your next layover through Istanbul just to experience it for yourself.
“Wow!” Those were the first words uttered by my sons as we walked into the Turkish Airlines Lounge. Bright and airy, the décor rivals any luxury resort: comfortable leather couches and chairs, crystal chandeliers, and hardwood floors. The two-story, 63,507-square foot lounge accommodates 1000 passengers, yet it’s easy to find a quiet, cozy nook all to yourself. Even the bathroom is over the top with marble countertops and cascading water faucets that my sons still remember! Shower rooms are also available.
Even the littlest travelers have spaces all their own inside the Turkish Airlines Lounge. The lounge features multiple playrooms with toys, balls, video games, kid movies, and bean bag chairs. Outside of the playrooms, there’s a Scalextric slot car race track, where you can challenge your child to a road rally through a model made to look like the streets of Istanbul.
Now you can improve your game while you’re waiting for a flight! The Turkish Airlines Lounge sports a realistic golf simulator, so passengers can practice their swings.
4/Billiards room & library
Rack ‘em up for a game of pool in the lounge’s billiard room. The space also serves as a library with plenty of reading material to borrow. And there’s a periodical cart with current newspapers and magazines from around the world.
Didn’t make it to one of Istanbul’s lovely tea gardens during your visit? No worries. There’s a tea garden in the lounge, serving freshly-brewed Turkish tea and simit, a traditional Turkish sesame seed bagel. More of a coffee drinker? Just order a handcrafted latte at one of the many coffee bars. It's all free!
6/Drinks on the house
Looking for something to calm your nerves? The Turkish Airlines Lounge has a full compliment of alcoholic drinks, including a middle-shelf collection of liquors. There are complimentary wine stations every couple of feet and refrigerators stocked with beers, sodas, and juices.
7/Pastries and desserts
The Turkish pastry and dessert selection here is out of this world! Among the choices, you’ll find freshly-prepared pastries from Vienna’s famous pastry shop, Demel.
8/More first-class cuisine
The food offerings aren’t limited to sweets. There’s a regional corner where chefs prepare traditional Turkish delicacies, including manti (beef dumplings), gözleme (stuffed flatbread), pide (Turkish pizza), and börek (stuffed phyllo). Throughout the lounge, you’ll find fresh fruit, salads, appetizers, and nuts. Plus, there’s the largest olive bar that I’ve ever seen. My younger son counted… 12 different kinds of olives!
And know that the food options change throughout the day, so you can literally eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner here.
Need to work out a few kinks from your last flight? Simply call over the resident massage therapist for a treatment where you’re sitting. Yes, it’s absolutely free. Or opt for a nap in one of several massage beds.
KidTripster Tip: Sign up for the massage bed early, as there can be a wait.
10/Relaxing piano music
Need to settle the little ones down for a nap. Sit near the live pianist and let the music lull them to sleep.
The Turkish Airlines Lounge has a cinema with leather recliners and freshly-popped popcorn. And you won’t miss any flight updates, because they flash on the screen. There’s also a nine-screen media wall where you can catch up on current events or the latest sporting contests.
Want to take a shower or walk around the airport (though I can’t imagine why you’d leave this lounge!) without lugging your carry-ons? Stash your belonging is the lounge’s individual, locking storage cubes.
The Turkish Airlines Flagship C.I.P. Lounge is available to business class passengers, plus Miles & Smiles Elite, Elite Plus, and Star Alliance Gold card holders.
Alternatively, you could take advantage of Turkish Airlines’ free city tours during your long layover. No, I'm not kidding! Read more here.
Editor Shellie Bailey-Shah travels the world with her husband and two sons. They’re looking for an excuse to fly through Istanbul, again, just to get back to this lounge.