On March 27, Cineplex opened a 10-screen theatre in Lansdowne Park. After years of screens closing, just having a new movie outlet available in or near the city’s core is a positive. Included in the mix is what is billed as a VIP experience.
The Citizen decided to see what that entails. So, on April 3, I booked my tickets online, printed them at home and grabbed my boyfriend for a date night.
With tickets in hand, we skipped the line-up and went straight to the theatre entrance to have my tickets scanned. We also ended up getting carded. The VIP cinemas are 19+ because alcohol is served.
ID checked and tickets scanned, we wandered to the elevator. I must have looked lost because an attendant asked: “Are you here for VIP?”
She led me into a lounge, where there was a bar and a beautiful view of Lansdowne. Guests sit there and have a drink before their movies start.
The attendant also showed me where my theatre was and the separate kiosk where I could get more typical movie fare. I got some popcorn — what’s a movie without popcorn? — and headed into the theatre right away.
Inside, a host showed us to our reserved seats. If you purchase online, you choose your seats from a graphic representing the theatre you will be in. If you purchase at the box office, there’s a touch screen in front of the cashier that allows you to see the same graphic and choose.
The host explained the workings of the comfy leather chairs that recline at the push of a button and then left us with menus.
She told me to flag down a server when I was ready to order. It’s definitely a good idea to arrive a bit early, because the in-seat service stops when the trailers begin. But you can still head to the lounge to order a drink during the movie.
The seats have tabletops on the armrests that swivel out in front. There’s plenty of legroom to allow the servers to walk through the rows and get down on one knee to take orders and serve. Feeling a bit uncomfortable, I commented to our server, but she said it wasn’t a problem because she uses a knee-pad.
The VIP seating is designed for couples. The chairs are grouped in twos and can be converted into a kind of love seat. Between each set of seats is a lower armrest without a tabletop that can be flipped back to optimize cuddling, which the duo beside me decided to do almost immediately.
While most VIP seats are paired, there was a row of single seats along the stairs in the theatre I was in.
The theatre was well staffed, with six very quick and friendly servers waiting along the stairs to take orders. I ordered a glass of wine, but the drink menu is quite extensive, including cocktails, martinis, and beer. There were also finger foods and appetizers, including burgers and poutine.
Once I got my wine, I kicked back in the recliner and waited for the film to start. From that point on, it was movie-going business as usual.
The evening cost $80: the tickets were $19.99 each, the popcorn was $9, my wine was $10, my boyfriend’s Fruitopia was $7. I paid $9 to park but I didn’t have to. I found out later that I could have used my tickets as a free pass. I had not noticed the sign saying that was possible. The wine perhaps?
Maybe I just don’t appreciate life’s finer things in life, but having experienced the VIP treatment, I’d say I enjoy a $10 bottle of wine and Netflix on my couch, in my sweat pants, far more. Apparently, though, I’m the odd one out.
According to Cineplex communications director Michael Langdon, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s been very popular. We’re very pleased with the performance of the VIP cinemas. So far it’s done very well in every market in which it’s opened across Canada,” he said. There are 14 VIP locations across Canada, including Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Saskatoon. Openings are scheduled for Calgary and Vancouver.
“We really haven’t been able to build them fast enough to service the demand,” says Langdon. The cinema is especially busy on Tuesdays because of a discount that day, he added.
The other moviegoers at my screening certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves.The drinks were flowing, a few pitchers were ordered and almost everyone ordered food. People really seemed to be indulging and enjoying the moment and the servers helped to capture that by taking several photos on phones for the patrons.
Langdon also noted that in addition to the luxury experience, the no-kids rule is helping.
“Our research showed the adults-only aspect of the VIP Cinemas experience really appealed to our guests. We think it’s an important part of what makes the experience a little more special. It really makes it an opportunity to escape,” he says.
Lansdowne’s four VIP screening rooms have capacity ranging from 70 to 119 seats. There’s no seniors discount, but a Scene card qualifies for 10-per-cent discounts on everything except alcohol.
For more information or to book your own VIP experience, you can visit cineplex.com
Cineplex Cinemas – Lansdowne VIP
Where: 325 Marché Way
VIP Tickets: Weekend – $21.99, Weekday – $19.99, Tuesdays – $14.99
Source : https://ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/local-reviews/lansdowne-vip-cinemas-an-adults-only-experience