Guest Post: Turkish Air To Istanbul And The Park Hyatt Macka Palas

My best friend David recently took a new position that requires him to travel extensively around the world.  He’ll likely rack up 200,000 butt-in-seat miles this year as a result of all his travel, which has taken him to some places I don’t expect to see anytime soon.  Recently, he took a trip to Istanbul.  Since I don’t normally see a lot of blogger reviews for Turkish Airlines or the Park Hyatt Macka Palas, I asked him to take some pictures and jot down a brief summary of his trip for my readers.  Here, in his own words, is a short review on both:

Thanks to Ed for inviting me to guest blog.  I recently travelled to Istanbul, Turkey for business and wanted to briefly share my travel experiences with Turkish Airlines business class and a great hotel, the Park Hyatt Macka Palace.
I’m based at Dulles airport, so I was able to fly Turkish Airlines (TK) which has one direct flight each day.  The flight leaves at 11:25pm, getting in at 4:45pm the next day in Istanbul.    On this route, TK flies an Airbus A330-300. Here we are disembarking at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.
Hyatt Macka Palas
Like most of the international flights I’ve been on, boarding is done through a regular gate, but disembarking is typically on a tarmac, as there aren’t enough gates at most international airports for all the arrivals and departures.On board is a pretty good business class product.  It’s a fully lie-flat seat with about 6 feet of legroom and a handy foot deck.
Hyatt Macka Palas
TK conveniently packages a blanket and a pillow (shown here stored underneath the foot deck), so you feel assured that your linens are clean and fresh. The food was fairly typical international fare.  They served dinner on the way out, and then a light breakfast before landing. I would characterize the in-flight service as “average”.  The flight crews know how to do certain things very well (prepare the meals, serve them, give you hot towels, re-fill your drinks), but isn’t big on the little things like stopping when you make eye contact to ask if you need anything, or noticing that you have a bunch of trash and offering to take it.
The business class seat is somewhat similar to the current generation United Airlines BusinessFirst seats.  There’s a bit more space between you and the person in the seat beside you and the footwell is much more comfortable.
Park Hyatt Macka Palas
I stayed at the Park Hyatt Macka Palace.  I do over 100 nights a year in hotels, and this hotel is one of the best I’ve ever stayed at.  When the door to my room opened, I was surprised to see a large glass wall.
Hyatt Macka Palas
Behind the glass wall was a bathroom suite the size of most hotel rooms I’ve been in.  It included a bath, a shower, a Turkish bath, a sauna (!), a double vanity, and a toilet with a third vanity.
Hyatt Macka Palas
Hyatt Macka Palas
Hyatt Macka Palas
Hyatt Macka Palas
Hyatt Macka Palas
The living and sleeping area is gorgeous.
Hyatt Macka Palas
Hyatt Macka Palas
Hyatt Macka Palas
Thanks, David!  I’d love to make it to Istanbul, but until I do I’m happy to be able to offer some pictures and some detail on these travel experiences.  For those interested in heading to Istanbul using miles and points:
The Park Hyatt Macka Palas is a Category 5 property with Hyatt Gold Passport, which means 20,000 points a night.  That sort of luxury makes it well worth 20,000 points, IMO.
Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which means you can book awards using the United Airlines MileagePlus program.  I found lots of availability in coach but not much in the way of business class availability.
While a business class award on a partner used to be a reasonable price using your MileagePlus miles, United solved that advantage with their Black Friday devaluation.  Now, a round-trip ticket in Business Class on Turkish will set you back 140,000 miles.  If you fly this route on United, it will cost you a somewhat more reasonable 115,000 miles, but you’ll likely be sticking a connection in there.

2 Comments

  1. Great post! I’ve never even heard of the Park Hyatt Macka Palas but from the photos and your descriptions it looks exquisite!
    I’ve flown Turkish airlines a number of times and love the airline (and its lounge in IST.) I’ve flown it in economy and business and I agree that the service is “average” at best. If anything, I felt I got the same service in economy as I did in business! 😉

  2. We will be staying (on 30,000 pre-devaluation Hyatt points/night) at the Park Hyatt Istanbul in a Park King Suite in a few weeks on our extended weekend holiday visit to the city following business in Paris (Westin Paris Vendome on 20,000 SPG points/night) and Tel Aviv (Sheraton Tel Aviv paid stay). We’ve had nothing but great experiences thus far with the concierge (prompt replies and confirmations/recommendations for dining and tourist sites/tours), and expect a great stay based on this and many other glowing reviews.

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