IST: Istanbul Millennium Lounge
It's difficult to work out where the Millennium Lounge at Istanbul Airport has gone wrong: after all there is plenty of space, the seats are relatively comfortable, and there are always staff around replenishing the drinks and sandwiches.
The problem really stems from the fact that the lounge is, well, just a bit careworn and daggy, with an atmosphere that wouldn't be out of place in doctor's surgery. And that's a shame, because it could be really good - look at the Primeclass lounge downstairs - and it gets lots of airlines using it.
It is everything from the Lufthansa Istanbul Lounge to the Iberia Istanbul Lounge and the Qatar Istanbul Lounge. As are Aegean, Lot, Swiss, Malaysian, and a whole host of smaller eastern European airlines, and the amount of traffic it gets is huge. There is a well detailed board outside the lounge with all the airline logos. Mind you it always advertises as a place to relax before your flight with a whole host of facilities that are there. They just aren't very good. Technically this Istanbul lounge is run by Turkiye Banksia, and there are always a fair few of their customers in here too.
The Istanbul Millennium Lounge is in effect a large square box on the top floor, with an open entrance separated by a small fence to the terminal. It gets hot on the top floor: the lounge is rarely below thirty degrees, which contrasts with the icy welcome at the front desk: you get the feeling you are doing Turkiye Banksia a favour by coming in here. Indeed, when you look at the facilities, you are.
The Millennium Lounge Istanbul Airport has seats all the way around the edge of the lounge, and a strange wooden pagoda structure in the middle which houses some really uncomfortable hard upright seats. There re windows, but they are frosted over so you can't look out.
A real curiosity of the Millennium Lounge Istanbul Airport is the lounge decoration, which consists of a dozen large glass boxes with mannequins showing national dress of some of the countries you can reach if you could only leave the Millennium IST Lounge. Fast. It's rather like an episode of Doctor Who, where you expect the mannequins to come alive and take over the lounge.
The bar and food area is all the way along one side close to the reception desk. The other side has a small business centre with three computers.
FoodFood in the Istanbul Millennium Lounge is basic in the extreme. There are very small sandwiches in sealed plastic wrappings.
There are also lots of little pastries well displayed on large trays in the fridge.
There is also a tub of hot soup, and some bowls of apples. There is also a bowl of pretzels. And that's it.
BarIf you think the food is bad, the bar is even more basic in the Millennium Lounge at Istanbul Airport. Mind you, it looks impressive with a huge rack of wine bottles above the bar: alas they are all sealed and you can't get at any of them.
There is one beer tap, which dispenses Efes beer: logoed glasses are on the rack behind the beer pump.
Wine is Turkish Rose or Turkish Red. There is no other choice. Red is kept - warm - on the counter beside the beer pump. Rose is kept in the trough.
There are three bottles of spirits beside the wine bottle: Beafeater gin, Absolut vodka, and Ballantine's whisky.
However there is an excellent soft drinks fountain with some good mixers.
BathroomsThere are no bathrooms in the Millennium Lounge at Istanbul Airport. You have to go on the floor outside the lounge.
Business FacilitiesThe Istanbul Millennium Lounge sells itself on the Business Facilities. Alas, this is comprised of three rather old computers, running IE7, on a small stand to the left of the entrance. On a bad day families leave their children to play on these computers, and you can't get near them.
There is however free wifi.
There is a newspaper rack - of sorts - however it is very tatty, and only has either Turkish papers, or some very old international travel magazines.
AccessBusiness Class on Lufthansa, Iberia, Qatar, Aegean, Lot, Swiss, Malaysian all have free access to the Millennium Lounge Istanbul: you don't need a voucher from check in (although it helps), you can just present your boarding card.
Otherwise, it's 25 euro to get in.
The lounge is also a Priority Pass lounge.
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