Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge, Washington-Dulles Airport (IAD) via Priority Pass is a true gem

I wrote last month about How to get and use Priority Pass lounges to find peace, quiet, (free) wine, and food at the airport, drawing on recent positive experiences in Göteborg, Lisbon, Boston, and London. Priority Pass has been adding some really nice options lately, with the great One Mile at a Time blog writing in June that Priority Pass now gets you access to the world's only airport distillery tasting room (in Portland, Oregon), and how members can now eat and drink for free at the airport in Sydney, Australia. It's a fun time to be a member, as a free benefit of your premium travel credit card, no less. Meghan and I recently spent a few hours in our absolute favorite of the Priority Pass lounges we've been to thus far, the Turkish Airlines lounge at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD). In a sentence, "it was convenient, stylish, tasty, and popular".

Further reading: How to get and use Priority Pass lounges to find peace, quiet, (free) wine, and food at the airport

Lounge: Turkish Airlines Lounge
Airport: Washington-Dulles International (IAD)
Location: Concourse B, post-security, near gate B43
Great for: Drinks, food, style, plane spotting
Use when: Flying internationally, or on long United layovers

Getting there, getting in

Turkish Airlines is a Star Alliance member, so their priority is convenience for their own passengers followed by those traveling on their partner airlines. That said, Dulles is organized such that basically all international flights depart from the single pier of which both Concourse A and Concourse B are a part. The bottom line is that the lounge is readily accessible to all international passengers, and also to all domestic passengers so long as they leave enough time to get to their departure gates (which are a bit more of a hike) by using the AeroTrain between Concourses C and A. Once you've arrived, just show your Priority Pass card and go on in.

Food and beverage

The lounge really excels when it comes to food and beverage. Unlike much of the competition (particularly domestic lounges in the U.S.), Turkish offered a buffet of real food that could easily suffice as dinner (this was at about 4:30 in the afternoon, so the options may be more limited earlier in the day). We really enjoyed the Mediterranean seared tilapia, coriander chicken with cilantro cream sauce, hummus, saffron rice, and baklava. Really delicious.

The bar is well stocked, and while a white likely would have paired better with the food that afternoon, I decided on a Turkish red they were offering as a house wine. See tasting note below. House wine and basic cocktails are complimentary, of course.

We found this wine made from Turkey’s native Öküzgözü red grape in the Turkish Airlines lounge at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD). To be clear then — because this is such an unusual wine — “Diren” is the quite established winery from northern Turkey, and Öküzgözü is the grape varietal. A bit astringent and rough around the edges at first, we found that this wine paired amazingly with the Turkish dishes served in the lounge. It is truly a case for the notion that the best food and wine pairings are often those that match food and wine from the same part of the world. It’s warmingly alcoholic with brambly red red (yes, two reds) raspberry fruit. We didn’t pay for the glasses in the lounge (thanks, Priority Pass!), but we believe this wine can be had in the $10 range. We’d consider a true house wine contender if true.
— My tasting note on the "2014 Diren Öküzgözü Collection" red wine

Amenities

We've visited a few Priority Pass lounges that are pretty basic (and some airline lounges that are equally basic, for that matter). The Turkish Airlines lounge was anything but, with immense floor to (almost) ceiling windows offering great views of the air operations outside, well appointed and comfortable furnishings, hard wood floors, a nice mix of lounge seating with perhaps not-quite-enough table space for dining, a wall fountain at the bar, shower facilities that you'd feel lucky to have at home, well kept restrooms, and a secluded prayer room.

Caveats

Size. The Turkish Airlines lounge is easily the nicest lounge that we've been to at any of the three Washington, DC area airports, and is sure to become popular now that Priority Pass members are welcome. There's not a lot of space here, so as nice as all of its food, beverage, and amenity contents are, we're reasonable sure that there aren't nearly enough of them on a busy day. Best to get here early and claim your seat ahead of the late afternoon to early evening rush. Otherwise, enjoy, for this is a great place. Cheers!