When we were transiting in Istanbul Ataturk Havalimani International Airport (IST) on our way to the Maldives, we managed to check out two lounges – the Comfort Lounge and the HSBC Premier Lounge. Istanbul Airport is the main hub for Turkish Airlines, and it is the biggest and busiest international airport in Turkey. Here’s our review of the HSBC Premier Lounge in Istanbul International Airport, Turkey.
Getting to HSBC Premier Lounge
The HSBC Premier Lounge is located in the International Terminal airside, after security and passport control. There are a few executive lounges on the Mezzanine levels, including the Comfort Lounge which is located across from the HSBC Premier Lounge. Keep in mind that you can only access the HSBC Premier Lounge for international flights, since any domestic flight passengers won’t be able to access this secure area.
Priority Pass has a huge selection of executive airport lounges, and the HSBC Premier Lounge is one of three lounges you can choose to visit at Istanbul International Airport. It’s open 24 hours daily, and you can stay for up to 4 hours.
When you enter the double sliding glass doors to check in, you will find the main desk right in front of the doors.
The attendant checks you in by verifying your membership, and the process won’t take long. Keep in mind that the Priority Pass allows a cardholder to invite a limited number of accompanying guests for free. Because of this, it’s worth asking the front desk when checking in whether you are allowed to bring everyone in your traveling group with you to access the lounge.
HSBC Premier Lounge Layout
The lounge space is basically one medium-sized room.
There is a row of four computer workstations by the main entrance if you prefer to sit at a desk to work while you are visiting. The workstation area is located behind the screen that separates the main waiting area. A printer is included for those who may need to print boarding passes, hotel directions, or just things for work.
The main sitting area consists of mostly individual comfy chairs with small tables in between for your plates or cups. Most of these tables are actually lockers – you can store your carry on luggage inside them open lockers. If you want secure lockers though, these are not the ones to use. See below for those.
There are a few pots with green vegetation to lightly screen and define privacy into smaller spaces for groups. In addition there is plenty of reading materials scattered throughout the lounge. My only complaint is that there are not enough outlets in the lounge. This is something we hope they consider adding in the future. People just have too many devices nowadays for such a limited number of electrical outlets and this should be a priority at any lounge.
Food and Drink
Along the side wall of the lounge is the hot beverage counter and food buffet table. A small bathroom area is located at the back corner of the lounge.
There is a selection of hot food and soup, as well as cold sandwiches in the lounge. If you prefer something lighter, you can opt to plenty of snack, such as fruits, cookies, and several versions of bite-sized cakes and Turkish delights. All of the food is quite good, and you can generally find something to suit just about any taste.
Just a note: It does seem that the whole system of airport lounges in Istanbul Airport orders from the same catering company. We visited two lounges on the same day, and they had the exact same hot food. Oh well, it was good!
For drinks, you can stick with the familiar: water, soda, juices, beer, or coffee. Draft beer is available as a self-service item, so you don’t have to feel guilty going back several times! There is no bar where you can order your other adult beverages. You can ask the lounge attendant if you need any special menus or drinks.
The standard espresso machine is available for making your coffee, such as latte and cappuccino. They even have Nescafe Gold instant coffee if you prefer to have your coffee this way! Try the famous thick and full flavored Turkish coffee – they have a special espresso machine just for that. Ask the attendant if you are not sure about how to properly use the machine! They’re happy to help.
HSBC Premier Lounge Amenities
Here are a few notable amenities inside the HSBC Lounge:
- ATM: It’s the HSBC (a.k.a. Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation) Lounge, so obviously, they’re gonna have an ATM. It’s located next to the main desk when you check in. Turkish lira, U.S. Dollars, Euros, and Pounds Sterling are available.
- Airport view: One side of the lounge opens up to the busy airport hallway and duty-free area below. If you prefer to people watch, this is a great spot to sit because the busy airport unfolds right before your eyes.
- Restrooms: Toilets are available, but please note that the HSBC Premier Lounge has no shower options. If you have a Priority Pass, head over to the Comfort Lounge if you need a shower.
- Wi-Fi: It is reliable and password protected. You’ll receive a username and password when you are admitted into the lounge.
- Lockers: They are 20 or so security-coded and are perfect for your carry-on bags. You may store your luggage here while accessing the lounge. While we were there though, about 30% of the locking mechanisms were out of service and there was no way to use your own lock. If you want to wander around the airport without carrying your luggage, leave it here.
Things to consider
The well-lit room is bright enough to keep you awake in this cozy lounge. Keep in mind that since every user is within a single room space, it can be extra loud at times. That’s especially true of the lounge is fully occupied, which it no doubt usually is at this busy airport.
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