Well the weekend's over and here we are back to work again. Unless you are a banker, seems so silly this split weekend.
I went to the City Cinema in the MGM twice over the weekend, once to a regular screening and once to the VIP screening to check out the newest cinema in the Sultanate. I discovered that prices for the weekend actually jump 500 bz, so it is RO 3.5 (or 4.5 for a 3D film) for the cinema. The VIP price remains unchanged, at RO 10.000.
The cinema has both Coke and Pepsi fountain machines, which I found odd, but perhaps the Shatti cinema has that too, I have never noticed before. Nachos, popcorn, ice cream, juices, slushies and all the rest of the usual cinema fare is on offer here. 2 large sodas, small popcorn, nachos & a candy bar came to RO 3.900 when ordered in the VIP cinema - I've no idea whether that is with a mark-up in price or not.
The regular cinemas have nice comfortable seating and cup holders and all the usual bits you'd expect. I went to Screen 2 which was the smaller of the 2 regular cinemas, and felt the screen was a little small, but the sound was great (no popping/cracking or dropped sound like I've experienced occasionally in Shatti). The screen wasn't really small, just.... not as big as I was expecting, but it is also a smaller auditorium than most cinema's I've been in.
Now, yesterday I went to see the new Spiderman movie in the VIP cinema, and here's my experience.....
The cost, RO 10.000 ($26) is not much more than a regular 3D ticket in Toronto, which is about $17 including the taxes - so about $9 more here, and you have the "VIP" experience to boot. Having seen it advertised at the start of regular screenings in City Cinema, I knew that there was a waiter service inside the cinema and so opted to try that out (and not buy anything at the concessions outside). The screen was about the same size as the one in Cinema 2 - not massive, but big enough to get that cinema feeling.
There are 4 rows of 6 seats each, with a small table between every 2 seats, with cup holders in the table. Personally I didn't like that the cup holders were alinged the way they are - if you put your soda in the first hole, then the person next to you has to put theirs further away from them, meaning they actually have to sit forward to reach their drink. Nothing major but just a niggle.
Another niggle was that the waiter service did not start until the film was basically about ready to start. There is a waitress that walks around (ok she more sort of ducks to avoid getting in the way) and hands you a clip-board with a little light on it with a menu... which does not have the regular concession stuff on it, just fancy snacks, ranging in price from about RO 1.5 to RO 4 (or there abouts). So, you are sat there in the lovely leather over-stuffed lazy-boy style chairs (with electronic recliners in them!) and you have a clipboard and no where to put it. Each chair has a button you can push to page a waitress to come and take your order. We ordered the stuff I mentioned above and they brought it to us about 10 minutes later - and said they would deal with payment later on. Which they did... about 15 minutes before the film ended (and the film was in the middle of an epic fight).
In summary, I'll definitely pay for the VIP cinema again, primarily because it was so comfortable, not what I'd call outrageously priced, and NO ONE TALKED during the film, which was worth the extra five and a half rials on it's own in my mind. I usually go to the cinema here at least twice a month, sometimes more, I don't think I'll go to VIP for every film I want to watch, but certainly I'll be going again, although next time I'll bring in my own soda and popcorn and decline the offer of the clipboard (which sat on my lap the entire film). It'd help if they had the waiter service started way sooner so you can get all the ordering and payment issues dealt with before the film starts. The seat was so comfortable I was tempted to have a little nap (Spiderman was a little boring in places I found) and the simple pleasure of watching a movie without hearing so many people talking throughout was worth it to me. All in all a great time, just buy your own snacks at the concession outside in order to save yourself a little hassle.
The website is now updated and you can order your tickets through the website for both regular and VIP. And yes they are still charging the 200bz fee per ticket, which I think is ridiculous.