The SkyTeam Lounge at Istanbul Ataturk airport belongs to a burgeoning network of SkyTeam-branded lounges worldwide, which includes locations at Sydney, Dubai, and London Heathrow airports. The club welcomes Business, First Class, and Elite Plus customers departing on a SkyTeam flight.
Designed and operated by the alliance on behalf of member airlines, SkyTeam lounges can be found at destinations where the economics make it challenging for individual airlines to build their own facilities, yet the market is strategic enough to justify an investment in the ground experience beyond what contract lounges typically provide.
Such is the case in Istanbul, an airport heavily dominated by Star Alliance and the behemoth flag carrier Turkish Airlines. While SkyTeam has a token presence in comparison, 10 member airlines, including Air France, China Southern, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, and KLM, serve the dynamic Turkish capital.
SkyTeam Exclusive Lounge ISL design
The SkyTeam Lounge at Istanbul Ataturk boasts the alliance’s signature design, a study in contrasts. Dominated by bright white and orange tones, the décor is counter-balanced by a serene living botanical wall. Curves and rounded shapes create a natural flow, contrasting with the angular designer furniture.
Next to the reception area, a striking LCD wall displays flight paths, inspiring further travel. At night, the subtle glow of orange LED accents highlight the main features of the décor.
The ensemble is resolutely modern and functional, yet vibrant and convivial.
Large windows run along two walls, letting ample natural light in, and offering panoramic views of the suburbs of Istanbul. At dusk, the SkyTeam lounge is one of the best spots to watch the sunset and observe the city fading into darkness.
With 350 square meters (3,800 square feet) and seating for only 90 passengers, the SkyTeam lounge is compact and one of the smaller clubs at Ataturk airport.
As the lounge fills up at peak times, the smart layout manages to preserve a healthy amount of personal space per guest. A curved, shoulder-height partition elegantly carves out multiple zones while enhancing privacy. Seating options include groups of four seats with coffee tables by the window, more intimate seat duos next to the living wall and central divider, and solo seats in the rear, next to the window.
Most seats come with two European-style power outlets, a side table or coffee table, and a pillow.
A quiet room in a nook near the reception area features counter-style seating with built-in power outlets, a selection of magazines, and a handful of isolated seats. The elegant space is spruced up with fresh flowers and one of the more private areas in which to work or relax, however there is little physical separation from the main area, so noise may bleed in.
Nearby is a large TV room with cushy booth-like seating, which doubles as a family room—or an informal sleeping room at quiet times.
SkyTeam Exclusive Lounge ISL amenities
The SkyTeam lounge at Istanbul airport features a set of essential amenities.
The buffet features a simple but generous assortment of snacks, appetizers, salads, dips, soups, and hot entrées such as sichuan chicken, spinach, and rice with saffron. The selection is mostly international, with a hint of local fare. The tasty dessert bites, which include mandarin cake, are a highlight.
The self-service drink selection includes soda, juices, beer, wine, and a typical assortment of liquor and spirits including Absolut vodka, Havana Club rum, and Ballantine’s whiskey. There is also an espresso machine, Turkish coffee, and bottled water to go.
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout, although the cumbersome login process involves watching a video and answering an excessive number of questions.
Alternatively, a business center with shared computers is available in the center of the lounge.
Other amenities include bag lockers in the reception area, and a large selection of international press.
Note that SkyTeam has phased out the “spa”, an original feature of the lounge which consisted of a glorified set of massaging chairs and an oxygen bar. The space has been repurposed as a likely more useful quiet room.
Unfortunately, the SkyTeam Lounge lacks a bathroom, and therefore, showers. Public facilities are located in the vicinity but are not maintained at the standards expected from a lounge.
SkyTeam Exclusive Lounge ISL bottom line
The SkyTeam Lounge at Istanbul Ataturk airport is a compact but nicely laid-out facility featuring a distinctive design, comfortable seating, the airport’s best views of the city, and an enjoyable assortment of food and beverages.
A boutique lounge, modest compared to the home carrier’s sprawling flagship Turkish Airlines Lounge Istanbul, the SkyTeam Lounge also happens to be much quieter, especially outside peak times, and is situated closer to the gates. We just wish there was a bathroom.
- Selection of dips, including spicy tomato paste.
- Iceberg salad.
- Kisir (spicy Turkish tabbouleh.)
- Turkey wrap.
- Humus wrap.
- Yoghurt soup.
- Sichuan chicken.
- Pasta dishes.
- Rice with saffron.
- Desert bites, including mandarin cake.
3.5 / 5, based on 3 reviews