VIP treatment Cinema unveils its A-list makeover
CINEWORLD in Cheltenham has opened its doors to the public after undergoing a refurbishment and an expansion.
The cinema in the Brewery Quarter – which previously only offered Imax along with standard screenings – has added a 4DX cinema, a “VIP experience” and a Starbucks.
So firstly, what is 4DX?
In a 4DX screening, the seats move with the action on the screen and there are special effects such as wind, fog, lightning, snow, bubbles, water and scents.
The “VIP screening rooms” offer a private lounge, complimentary dining and unlimited cinema snacks.
The new screens have the most upto-date technology, in what the general manager has described as a complete “revamp”.
As you enter the cinema – much like Neo’s red or blue pill scenario in The
Matrix – you are faced with two choices. You can either venture up the escalator to the main Cineworld space or you can turn left into the VIP area.
To the right, there is a new row of selfservice ticket machines where one can buy and collect tickets.
The entrance to VIP lounge is on the left, where the Screening Rooms used to be located. As you enter, neon lights are reflected by the shiny red and black floor tiles. If that isn’t dazzling enough, there’s a large screen depicting film clips and whizzing graphics.
The VIP lounge area is full of tables, chairs and sofas where Vips can lounge, drink and eat their food from the buffet and bar areas.
This experience costs £32. That covers cinema tickets, food and drinks.
The all-you-can-eat buffet had a range of food items, including pizza, curry, spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, soups, an assortment of buns, hot dogs, small cakes and brownies... there was lots to choose from.
The VIP auditoriums are intimate viewing rooms that have postbox-red leather seats. Screen 1 had a total of 30 seats, making the experience feel quite exclusive. Between the three screens, there are a total of 106 seats.
I imagine that a lot of people think 4DX probably sounds like a gimmick, no doubt picturing the cheap swivelling seats in the Mr Bean movie.
I thought this, too, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how sophisticated the 4DX auditorium set-up was.
An adult ticket is £16.30, roughly a fiver more than a standard screening.
The seats are large and luxurious, offering full leg room. At 5ft 9ins, I could stretch my legs out with room to spare. These ample black seats are actually raised above the ground, to allow for the movement, and each of them have a foot rest on the bottom – so no dangling legs. Cineworld boast that the curved screen is “bigger than a double decker bus” – and I can confirm this.
I have actually been to the 4DX screen in Manchester to watch First Man, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, and Aquaman, so I was expecting this experience to be similar. However, the screening of IT Chapter Two turned out to be an altogether different beast entirely. Cheltenham now has the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art 4DX cinema in the world – we’ve been spoilt. To be honest, the only thing I really didn’t like was the Wetherspoonstyle carpet.
Also, be aware that it is literally someone’s job to watch the audience during the entirety of the film. The staff member sits in large red seat, generously given a cup holder, by the side of the screen to check that everyone is OK and is not messing around on their phones.
I spoke to the staff member who had sat in front of the screen during my visit, and she said she really enjoyed watching the movie-goers having fun. I imagine this novelty will wear off. However, she took great pride in showing me the big red button behind the seat that she can press to shut down the screening at any given moment. With great power comes great responsibility...
Cineworld in Cheltenham has opened its doors to the public after undergoing a refurb and expansion. The cinema at The Brewery Quarter – which previously only offered Imax – has added a 4DX cinema, a “VIP experience” and a Starbucks