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Istanbul Airport (IST) became operational since October 2018. It replaced the old Atatürk Airport whose capacity was not anymore enough for increasing traffic flows via Turkey's main aviation hub. Once the expansion is completed, this airport can accommodate more than 200 million passengers per year and it will be one of the busiest and biggest airports in the world.
Even though the airport is still being expanded, it is already fully operational. The airport is the main hub for Turkish Airlines and a busy transfer point for international passengers. Airport's slogan is World's Meeting Point which is actually a well chosen line. Not any other airline is flying to so many destinations as Turkish Airlines does from Istanbul Airport.
The airport is far from Istanbul's centre which slows down travelling to the city. This is a challenge only for passengers whose final destination is Istanbul. The majority of the airport's passengers are only connecting and passing through the airport. Better ground transportation options to the Istanbul centre are being developed.
There is Yotelair hotel in Istanbul Airport: The hotel has been divided into two parts. The airside part is located in the transit area and the other part is on the landside of the terminal. The hotel is operated by an UK-based hotel group Yotelair.
The landside hotel is meant for people who are departing from Istanbul and wish to arrive at the airport early. Say for example, in the previous evening. The airside hotel after the security and passport control is meant for connecting passengers. The clear benefit is that you do not need to clear immigration to reach the hotel. You can stay in the hotel without a Turkish Visa regardless of what passport you possess. Since the hotel is inside the security area, it takes only 15 minutes to reach the gates from the hotel.
Terminal and Airside Hotel Location
Surprisingly, there is only one huge terminal. It has a big rectangle central area with shops, restaurants, lounges and the Yotelair hotel. Gate wings are connected to every corner of the central area. Even though the layout sounds simple, walking distances in the airport are long. Prepare enough time in reaching your departure gat after a hotel stay.
Navigation in the terminal isn't difficult while signs are clear. A connecting passenger needs about 30 minutes to reach the central part of the airport after deboarding the plane. From the airport's central part where the Yotelair is located, it takes about 15 minutes to reach a departure gate. The hotel's location is perfect for reaching gates fast.
Benefits of a Hotel inside the Terminal
The biggest benefit of a hotel in the terminal is closeness. A hotel is a perfect option for resting between flights and an alternative for also an airport lounge. There are multiple other benefits to staying in a hotel inside the airport:
When your flight is departing early in the morning, you may want to arrive at the terminal already during the previous evening. In the morning you just check out from the landside hotel and walk to the airline's check-in desk. You save about 2 hours in the morning. This works also vice versa if you land in Istanbul late in the evening.
When you have an overnight connection in Istanbul, the airport hotel in the transit area is perfect. You can rest in a peaceful and safe place and feel fresh when the trip continues. This was our motivator to use the hotel during our night connection.
While having a connection during the daytime, you may still want to use the hotel. Minimum stay is only 4 hours that is enough to have a shower, to rest a little and maybe visit the gym.
The hotel is affordable. It is good to understand that there is no need for any transportation to reach the hotel and the location is just perfect. People who love quality and easiness will surely find this hotel a great accommodation choice.
The price for 1 whole day is about 160 euros. The price for 4 hours is starting at 70 euros. We paid 87 euros.
Our Stay at the Airside Hotel
We were flying from Tel Aviv, Israel to Helsinki, Finland via Istanbul Airport. The first flight landed in Istanbul about 2 am and the onward flight left about 7 am. We had 5 hours of layover time between the flights. Since we were feeling quite exhausted, we decided to book the Yotelair airport hotel for 4 hours.
We called the hotel already from Tel Aviv's airport and asked if they had free rooms. We were told that there are many vacancies and no booking was needed in advance. The receptionist on the phone told also me that the price would be 85 euros for 4 hours stay.
After landing in Istanbul's airport, we walked directly to the hotel's reception. Unfortunately, the walking distance was long and it included a security check. It took about 30 minutes to reach the hotel but there was no passport control on the way.
The hotel lobby looked welcoming. We asked for a room for 2 people but surprisingly the price had increased from 85 euros to 95 euros. When we were told that we were offered a room for 85 euros on the phone, they told us that it is indeed possible to have a room for 87 euros if we accept a king-size bed. That was okay for us because we were planning to stay in the hotel only for 4 hours.
After 4 hours of rest, we had to make the check-out and hurry to our next gate. It took only 10 minutes to reach the gate from the hotel lobby but we recommend you to reserve at least 25 minutes just to have enough margin. We rated the hotel for our readers.
Rating for Yotelair
Location of the Hotel
There is no better location than a hotel in Istanbul Airport terminal. The hotel can be found easily and the gates are near enough to the hotel.
Easiness to Place a Booking
The hotel has a website where you can place the booking. Unfortunately, short bookings cannot be made on the website but you need to call directly to the hotel. It is also possible just to walk in and book a room at the reception. We recommend placing a booking beforehand as this great hotel may become easily fully booked in the future.
Naturally, the hotel can be booked via the hotel's booking sites except that a booking for a few hours stay in the hotel must be booked directly by calling the hotel reception.
The room was small but every single corner and space was maximized efficiently. Even though the size wasn't big, the room was stylish. It had a comfortable adjustable bed, big LCD TV, colour changing lights, many power sockets and a fully equipped bathroom. What else can you expect from a terminal hotel?
Our room category was the cheapest one so probably the hotel has even better rooms.
Everything in the room was flexible. There were many sockets to charge your devices, lights colours could be adjusted like bed's position.
During our short 4 hours stay, we were not able to test the hotel's services. There is a restaurant inside the hotel where you can eat and have a breakfast buffet. We also noticed that the hotel has a gym.
Based on our experience, the Istanbul International Airport's hotel operated by Yotelair is a great choice. The quality is good, it has a great location and they have a friendly customer service. We are quite sure that we will stay in this hotel again.
Where to Book the Hotel
If you are booking a room only for a few hours, the best way is to to call directly to the hotel. Booking a room for the whole day is not much more expensive. On booking.com, you can easily book YOTELAIR in the transit area or Yotelair with the city entrance.
We have stayed in many airport hotels but this hotel was the best one. It was more stylish than many other airport hotels and well-designed for travellers seeking a comfortable resting place. The best part is its great location. We can't emphasize how handy it is just to walk to the hotel after landing. No need to clear immigration or even step outside from the terminal.
Have you stayed in any of Yotelair's hotels? Comment below about your experiences.