Picture this: freshly prepared local dishes, unlimited refills on all your favourite cinema snacks, and a team of staff on hand to cater to your every need. This is a level of luxury that penniless students are rarely afforded, but last week we were lucky enough to sample Cineworld’s exciting ViP film experience and all it had to offer.

Upon arrival we were invited to wait in a private seating area complete with red velvet ropes, until it was time to go into the ViP lounge. At the door, we were met by a cheerful employee who took us on a guided tour of the facilities available to us. However, we were so overwhelmed by the mountain of free food in front of us that we barely took in what she was saying.

Along with all the traditional fare you would expect to see at your average box office (popcorn, hot dogs, nachos) we were invited to help ourselves to an extensive buffet. The food on offer ranged from pizza to mac and cheese to Thai vegetable soup and crusty bread.

Naturally we piled our plates high, like any sensible twenty-something would, before sampling the wide array of hot and soft drinks on offer. We were particularly fascinated by the flavoured syrup feature, transforming standard Pepsi (other brands are available) with options including vanilla, lime and cherry. Alcoholic drinks were made available from the bar, though this was the one aspect of the experience that cost an additional charge.

There was never a time when the hot plates were empty, with the staff constantly on the lookout for anything that needed replenishing. As we devoured our body weight in pizza and potatoes we were able to admire the assortment of film posters and memorabilia from the comfort of spacious tables and chairs. We even had access to a private bathroom, complete with pot pourri.

At last we managed to drag ourselves into one of the two private screens as the adverts started rolling. The mourning period was short however, as we sat down in the spacious Lazy Boy reclining seats and lined up our assortment of snacks on the spinning table before us. The comfort was temporarily interrupted when a chair malfunction caused it to (for lack of a better term) eat one of us, approximately ten minutes into the film. But this was easily laughed off given how pleasant the rest of the night had been.

Overall, we cannot fault our experience of the Cineworld ViP package. We were well looked after throughout the evening and would recommend the experience to anyone who, for just shy of £30, wants a substantial and memorable upgrade to the traditional cinema experience.

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