WHO WE ARE: not fancy.
WHAT THIS LOUNGE IS: fancy.
WHAT WE DID: hung out in that fancy lounge. All. Freakin'. Day.
Our task was simple: to see if an airport layover has to feel like an uncomfortable purgatory, or if it can, in a certain light, actually be kind of lovely.
First, we basked in the ambience.
Next came the most important meal of the day: coffee.
JEN: Hydration is key while you’re traveling. Of course, so is caffeine (how else will I finish the giant novel I wanted to read on the plane?), and caffeine makes you dehydrated. I loved this lounge for catering to such a beautifully vicious cycle.
AUBREE: I drank seven cappuccinos and two Turkish coffees, and I’m not even sorry. My only regret is that I didn’t go the Chris route and try, like, every bev.
While Aubree and Jen stuck to espresso, Chris drank all the drinks.
Then we took ACTUAL SHOWERS.
CHRIS: Can I just get emotional real quick and talk about how safe and protected I felt in this perfect little shower room? My father always reminds me that I should start a 401(k) and invest in my uncertain future, but did I think about that once while debating whether to wear anything under my free robe? Nope. I simply LIVED.
AUBREE: This was literally the nicest place I've showered as a real adult. It had a damn rainfall showerhead and water pressure that I'm sure I'll dream about for the rest of my natural-born life. Also, I don't know about y'all, but nothing makes me feel more glamorous than putting on a robe in the middle of the afternoon, brushing my teeth, and taking a selfie.
JEN: Brushing your teeth is bae. So are rainfall showers and complimentary loofahs. By this point, I was already very unsure I'd be able to go back to normal life.
Once we smelled like humans again, we explored the rest of the lounge...
...and found ourselves surprisingly enthralled by the slot car racing.
Then, of course, we had to show off on social media...
JEN: After both Aubree and a 5-year-old destroyed me in slot car racing, I decided to selfie my heart out. The only thing to improve your confidence after defeat like that is shamelessly bragging to your 15 followers, and I loved every minute of it.
...which is why Aubree went a little crazy taking photos of her shoes.
AUBREE: Part of the lounge I loved that probably doesn't get the attention it deserves? All the awesome rugs and floors. I spent a solid 45 minutes walking around and taking pictures of my feet.
Finally, it was time for food.
CHRIS: You know how earlier I agreed to be a jellyfish forever? Can I just amend that request real quick and add on the ability to also eat select solid foods? Specifically grilled meats. I will be a jellyfish who also eats grilled meats. Great, thanks.
JEN: My greatest skill as a traveler is probably that I'll eat anything. I'm also very talented at not hating the cardboard sandwiches from those grab-and-go lunch places in airports. But when you get to eat food that actually tastes good, it just makes you feel like a human again. Your body knows the difference between day-old tuna salad in a plastic container and an assortment of fresh gourmet dishes.
This also included traditional Turkish mantı, which was handmade right in front of us.
And, of course, dessert.
AUBREE: Give me free desserts, and I'll be your best friend. Give me free desserts that are THIS GOOD, and I'll never leave your side. Seriously — the lounge and I are getting married, and you are all invited.
CHRIS: Here is my plan to save the world: Turkish desserts are drenched in delicious honey, right? Honey comes from bees. The more honey I eat, the more I support the bees. The more I support the bees, the more things get pollinated. I AM LITERALLY SUPPORTING THE CREATION OF LIFE ON THIS PLANET, THEREFORE MORE DESSERT. You're welcome.
JEN: Chris had an existential experience. Aubree's was borderline romantic. Mine was mainly cultural, considering the airport had cakes imported from a bakery in Vienna and I ate seven.
The #gorg plating made us feel seriously out of our league, but that didn't stop us from eating everything.
We had a few hours of "free time," during which we each went our separate ways. Aubree, naturally, took a nap...
AUBREE: I like naps. I'm good at them! But these two (yes, TWO, and I'm not sorry) were both exceptionally fantastic. If I kept a journal, I would write about them.
...Chris used the golf simulator...
...and Jen got two massages.
JEN: Translation of the weird look on my face: complete and utter bliss. For a few brief hours in that lounge, my life was perfect. I never wanted to leave the airport, which is something I'm pretty sure no one has ever said.
Before we knew it, the sun had set. It was time for our departure — not only from the airport, but from the people we once were.
Fortunately, we flew home business class, which gave us one last taste of luxury.
If you hate us now, that's OK. We understand.
Treat yo self to the high life — fly Turkish Airlines, and don't forget to check out the CIP Lounge in Istanbul.
Photographs by Aubree Lennon / © BuzzFeed