IST: Istanbul HSBC Premier Airport Lounge
The HSBC Premier Lounge Istanbul Airport is now one of only 4 in the world run by HSBC for their most elite customers - to gain access you need an HSBC Premier Credit Card (a basic HSBC Premier ATM card won't cut it). To get this card, you'll need a spotless credit record, and HSBC savings and investments totalling a minimum of $500,000AUD or US$100,000 or £50,000 GBP. However there are a surprising number of these individuals in Turkey.
The lounge itself is good, really good, with great comfortable seating, an amazing view over the terminal, good food, a decent free bar, and excellent business facilities.
The lounge is up the escalator by Burger King, and then right. There is always a big queue at the door with passengers with basic HSBC ATM cards being turned away. When you enter the food and bar is on the left, and the business facilities on the right. Directly ahead are large windows, overlooking the Japanese style garden.
The most comfortable seats are in the middle of the lounge, with a higher bar area on the left. There are departure screens overhead, and also a couple of conventional TV screens. Despite the crowds there is always a subdued hush in the lounge.
FoodFood in the HSBC Premier Lounge Istanbul Airport is quite good. There are three hot dishes under silver covers, with rice curry and a vege sweet and sour mix. There are small sandwiches in sealed plastic wrappings, with ham and cheese.
The salad selection is one of the best in the airport, with a large fridge with half a dozen different bowls of salad, dressing, ham and cheese.
There are also lots of little pastries well displayed on large trays in the fridge.
There is also a tub of hot soup, fruit, nuts, and selection of salad.
BarThe bar is quite good at the HSBC Premier Lounge Istanbul Airport. Beer comes from Efes Pilsner with a beer tab and logoed glasses on the rack on the left behind the beer pump.
Wine is alas rather poor, with just one type of Turkish White, Rose or Turkish Red.
There are a dozen bottles of spirits beside the wine bottle: Beefeater gin, Absolut vodka, and Ballantine's whisky, plus a number of totally unknown Turkish types.
There is also an excellent soft drinks fountain and some great coffee in the machine.
BathroomsBathrooms are - hum - a little basic. There is one cubical for men, and another for women, which also doubles up at the shower cubical. When someone takes a shower, you can't use the bathroom for a good half hour. It is a major design flaw.
There are also two cleaners who hang around outside the bathroom, and after someone takes a shower you can't nip in until they have slowly cleaned it.
Business FacilitiesThere are four quite fast and new internet computers for use, along with a printer, but no photocopier. These are behind the small wavy screen to the right of the entrance.
There is free wifi too - ask at reception for the code.
A real curiosity are the 'charging cubicals' for mobile phones: beside the bathrooms are small lockers, with power sockets inside, and cables for phones: the type of phone is displayed on the outside of the cubical: just leave your phone to charge, take the key - and then panic when you remember you've forgotten your phone when you get to the gate. Simples.
AccessThere is free access for HSBC Credit Card Premier customers.
Accompanying guests will be charged an entrance fee of 50TL per person
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