I’ve been a Cineworld customer for many years now and an Unlimited member since my Uni days back in 2008. As a blogger (here and elsewhere) and film critic for The National newspaper, it’s been an invaluable and extremely cost-effective way of seeing as many movies as I can.
The recent refurbishment at the Renfrew Street location – hats off to Cineworld for keeping the cinema open as best as possible while all of this was going on – has promised big changes to how you can experience a trip to the movies. First the superscreen, then the fun novelty that is 4DX. But now they’ve added something of luxury that truly takes things to the next level.
I’m talking about the much anticipated VIP Experience, which is housed on the top floor of the humongous cinema. Straight away when you walk in you’re greeted at the doors by staff into a private lounge area with various comfortable seats and stools dotted around. There’s plenty of room – an impressive capacity of almost 160 people – so you don’t feel like you’re being crowded as you wait for your film to start. There’s a nice laid back atmosphere that’s quite hard to put your finger on without experiencing it for yourself.
Most impressive of the pre-showing experience, however, is the food and drink on offer. There’s a gourmet buffet to choose from prepared locally by a chef, featuring everything from pizza to fresh salads to cake bites. There’s also a stocked bar (not an open one, sadly, but reasonably priced!) and the usual cinema snacks like popcorn, nachos and hot dogs. It feels like something that you could really make a trip of, treating it as a date or family night where you count it as a meal as well as seeing a movie.
By far my favourite aspect of the VIP experience – I saw The Accountant on this occasion, which I’ll be reviewing next week – was the actual screening rooms themselves. It used to be that there was one big hall on the top floor with two smaller, frankly not-so-comfortable ones squashed together down the corridor but that is no more.
The new rooms are state-of-the-art, chic and intimate but still suitably spacy. Most importantly, as far as I’m concerned, there are large, leather La-Z-Boy chairs that recline for ultimate comfort. There are also little swiveling tray tables to hold all your snacks and drinks – a nice little touch. As comfortable as the new seats Cineworld has installed in the regular screens are, I have to see the reclining ones this experience offers are far superior.
The VIP Experience is a little pricey – £29 for standard ticket, £19 with an Unlimited card – but I would definitely say it’s worth it considering all the things you get with it, especially if you’re treating it as a big night out. Be warned though – once you’ve tasted it, you might not want to see a film any other way!