Executive travel: Drive an F1 car and play golf at Istanbul airport lounge

From a 10-minute massage to private sleep suites and a golf simulator to practise your swing, the lounge at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport is a traveller's playground.

The Turkish Airlines lounge in Istanbul, Turkey. Courtesy Turkish Airlines
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If your idea of sleeping at airports is lying across a strip of seats, or worse on the floor curled around your hand luggage, then the Turkish Airlines lounge at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport will open your eyes to a new world.

This two-storey lounge features showers and private sleep suites for you to catch up on forty winks between flights. Unfortunately this level of pampering is not for every traveller.

Not only do you need to be flying business class to have access to a sleep suite, you also need to be in transit for almost seven hours to qualify for one of the seven cabins.

But staying in the lounge itself is far from roughing it. In fact it’s like a traveller’s playground — catering to all tastes.

With a capacity for 1,000 guests, the lounge’s main features include a children’s play area, library, billiards area and mini-movie theatre with La-Z-Boy recliners.

When I was passing through, the mini-theatre was playing an orchestral performance, but the show regularly changes. While, relaxing on a comfortable leather La-Z-Boy, I was able to listen to the orchestra wearing headphones. I imagine this is a way to keep the lounge quiet for those sitting outside.

If you are feeling energetic, you can try out the Formula One simulator. There’s also a high-tech golf simulator to practise your golf swing if your next business meeting is on the course. You play using real golf clubs while looking at the screen as you hit the ball.

For those who experience a stiff neck after hours of flying, the spa offers 10-minute massages — perfect for those on a short stopover.

I happened to be there around 6.30pm and despite the busy time of day, the size of the lounge meant it did not feel overcrowded.

There are buffets stacked with delicious food at almost every corner of the lounge. And when I wanted to pop out to look at the airport’s duty-free without carrying my laptop bag. I was able to, thanks to the luggage storage area.


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