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Istanbul New Airport
Istanbul New Airport (IST) became operational since October 2018. It replaced 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 new airport can accommodate more than 200 millions 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. IST 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 new airport is far from Istanbul's centre and it slows down your travelling to Istanbul centre. This is a problem only for passengers whose final destination is Istanbul. Majority of the airport's passengers are only connecting and passing through the airport. Better ground transportation options to Istanbul centre are still being developed. Still, the public transport connections to the centre are quite poor, for example, lacking a train connection.
There is a hotel inside Istanbul Airport: The hotel has been divided into two parts. The other part is located in the air-side and the other on the land-side of the terminal. The hotel is operated by an UK-based hotel group Yotelair.
Surprisingly, there is only one huge terminal. It has a big rectangle central area with shops, restaurants, lounges and with a hotel. Gate wings are connected to every corner of the central area. Even though the layout may sound simple, walking distances in the airport are really long. Prepare enough time in reaching your departure gate. This airport is not meant for short connections.
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, it takes anymore about 15 minutes to reach a departure gate. Luckily, lounges and the hotel are located in the central part so reaching gates from the lounges and from the hotel is quite fast.
Yotelair: The Hotel in Istanbul Airport Terminal
Inside the terminal, there are two hotels operated by Yotelair. One of them is before the immigration and security control. That hotel is meant for people who are departing from Istanbul and wish to arrive to the airport early. Say for example, in the previous evening. The hotel after the security control and immigration is meant for connecting passengers. The clear benefit of this hotel is that you do not need to clear immigration to reach the hotel. You can stay in the hotel without need for Turkish Visa regardless what passport you possess. Since the hotel is inside the security area, it takes only 15 minutes to reach gates from the hotel.
Why to Stay in a Terminal Hotel?
We can imagine many good reasons to stay in a hotel inside the airport:
- When your flight is departing early in the morning, you may want to arrive to the terminal already during the previous evening. In the morning you just check-out from the hotel and walk to airline's check-in desk. You save about 2 hours time in the morning. This works also vice versa if you land to Istanbul late in the evening.
- Or maybe you have an overnight connection in Istanbul, the airport hotel inside the security area is perfect. You can rest in a peaceful and safe place and to feel fresh when your trip continues. This was our motivator to use the hotel during our night connection.
- While having a connecting during daytime, you may still want to use the hotel. Minimum stay is only 4 hours that is enough to have a shower, to rest little and maybe visit the gym.
Our Visit to the Yotelair
We were flying from Tel Aviv, Israel to Helsinki, Finland via Istanbul New Airport. The first flight landed to Istanbul about 2am and the onward flight left about 7am. We had 5 hours layover time between the flights. Since we were feeling quite exhausted, we decided to book the Yotelair airport hotel for 4 hours.
We called to the hotel already from Tel Aviv's Airport and asked if they had free rooms. We were told that there are much vacancy and no booking was needed in advance. The receptionist on the phone told also that the price would be 85 euros for 4 hours stay.
After landing in Istanbul's new airport, we walked directly to the hotel's reception. Unfortunately, the walking distance was long and it included a security check. It took totally about 30 minutes to reach the hotel but there was no passport control on the way.
The hotel lobby looked welcoming. We asked a room for 2 people but surprisingly the price had increased from 85 euros to 95 euros. When we told that we were offered a room for 85 euros on the phone, they told that it is indeed possible to have a room for 87 euros if we accept a king size bed. That was totally okay for us because we were planning to stay in the hotel only for 4 hours.
After 4 hours resting, 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 marginal. We rated the hotel for our readers.
Location of the Hotel
There is no better location than in the middle of the terminal. The hotel can be found easily and the gates are near enough to the hotel.
Easiness to Place a Booking
The hotel has its own 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 were maximized efficiently. Even though the size wasn't big, the room was really 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 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 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 hotel in the airport hotel category is a really great choice. The quality is good, it has really great location and they have a friendly customer service. We are quite sure that we will stay in this hotel again.
How Much a Room in Yotelair Costs?
The hotel is not that cheap but still affordable. Keep in mind, that you do not need 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 from 70 euros. We paid 87 euros.
Where to Book the Hotel
The best place to book a room is Yotelair's website. If you are booking a hotel only for a few hours, you need to call directly to the hotel. The hotel can also be found in public booking services and you can compare prices on hotelscombined.com.
Booking the whole day is not much more expensive than booking only a few hours. So we recommend to place a booking for 1 day if you intend to stay in the hotel more than 8 hours. In this way, the value of your money has obviously better returns.
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 for 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 Yotelair's hotel? Comment below about you experiences. Why not share this to your travelling friend or family member connection in Istanbul Airport.