Earlier this year, Mike and I were wandering around Shops at Don Mills – one of my favourite uptown haunts – when he took a look around and said, “You know what this place is missing? A really nice movie theatre”. True story. While his idea of “really nice” skewed more towards retro (as most of his ideas do), I was so excited to see “Coming Soon” banners for Cineplex VIP on a vacant storefront during my next visit.
Fast forward to a few months later: Mike and I were invited to check out the brand new Cineplex VIP at Shops at Don Mills, the company’s first standalone adult theatre in Canada. The 13,336 sq. ft. cinema has 5 VIP auditoriums, an outdoor patio with a stunning view of the Shops and dedicated parking (with valet during peak periods). Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. To give you a preview of exactly how awesome, he ranked this blogger event up there in his Top 3 along with the Grey Cup and a BlackBerry party where he got to meet Joe Carter.
The view from the Shops at Don Mills Cineplex VIP patio
The luxe element of this VIP theatre is really obvious from the second you walk in. The lobby is beautifully decorated and hosts assist you with selecting your specific seat within the theatre on a touchscreen.
At the top of the stairs, you’re welcomed into a chic lounge area complete with a fireplace, bar and patio. It feels like a high-end restaurant or lounge: you’d never think you were at a movie theatre!
More on the food & drink later…
The auditoriums feel like a luxurious living room with the added benefit on in-seat food and beverage delivery and a tabletop armrest. Two of the auditoriums (1 & 2) even feature fully reclining seats!
And yes, you can lift up the armrest between the pair of seats to facilitate snuggling (although we found this kind of uncomfortable). The seats are large enough to curl up in just like you would at home – a huge win!
Movie popcorn is pretty much my favourite food (buttered with both white cheddar + ketchup seasoning packets if you must know), so don’t think we were going to chat movies without talking about food.
The food at Cineplex VIP Shops at Don Mills goes way beyond traditional movie fare, though. On top of your usual popcorn, candy & soft drinks the theatre has a full menu full of delicious offerings like salads, calamari, bruschetta and an artisinal cheese plate from everyone’s favourite Toronto cheese shop, Cheese Boutique. And those are just the appetizers. You can also order a burger, flatbreads & wraps, fish & chips, poutine…all to your seat!
I had the poutine. It was glorious. And yes, it feels incredibly gluttonous to enjoy poutine that’s been delivered to you while you recline in a leather seat and watch a movie on a gigantic screen. A girl could get used to it! Especially because adult beverages are also on the menu…
If you’d rather stick to the traditional items during the movie and chow down on the more meal-type items before or after your film, you have that option as well. The fully-licensed lounge is the perfect spot to catch up with your friends or date before or after the movie and gives moviegoers a nice alternative to the usual restaurants in the Shops at Don Mills complex.
Premium usually comes at a cost and this experience is no different. The VIP 19+ environment results in costs nearly double that of a regular movie ticket.
Weekend shows (Friday – Sunday) are $24.99, Weekdays (Monday/Wednesday/Thursday) ring in at $19.99 and Cineplex Tuesdays let you enjoy the VIP experience for almost the same price as a regular movie ticket at $14.99.
It’s easy to feel deterred by the high pricing, but if you’re looking to make date night extra-special it’s entirely worth it. I do recommend taking advantage of the in-seat service, so go hungry and with the intention of ordering more than popcorn in your seat. Aside from the luxury of the experience, you are paying for the novelty so enjoy every second.
If you’re making the visit out to Shops at Don Mills for the first time (Don Mills Road & Lawrence Avenue East), consider spending the whole afternoon there and booking yourself into the VIP cinema for some R & R and dinner. There’s lots of shopping to be done in the open-air mall and great restaurants to sample at lunch. Visit Cineplex VIP Shops at Don Mills at 12 Marie Labatte Road, Toronto, ON (Don Mills Road & Lawrence Avenue East).
I was not compensated for this post but my experience at Cineplex VIP was comped as part of a blogger event. I’m sharing this with you because I had so much fun and think you will, too.