Last month, Netflix opened a new luxury movie theater in Los Angeles to screen its own productions. But as a company that brings movies and series to people’s homes, Netflix also knows that it’s not easy to pull people off the couch.
But the luxury cinema experience is like no other: There are comfortable seats and glamorous amenities in the renovated historic cinemas. Some offer full service, in-theater dining with premium culinary and cocktails, plus exclusive access to directors and their actors.
While Netflix’s luxury theaters are currently only found in large cities, around the world smaller, more private theaters in luxury hotels are thriving. These luxurious screening rooms offer private VIP events for industry insiders, club members and independent directors hosting their own premieres.
With larger theaters lagging behind in attendance, people feel safer in smaller, more intimate theaters, in addition to the luxury amenities they offer. Hotel theaters offer a greater variety of programming than your average blockbuster fare.
“Hotel cinema is definitely something that is here to stay,” says Andrew Satkowiak, executive vice president of Luxury Travel Agency, a Toronto-based upscale travel agency. “I had a lot of interest and organized some great trips that included the cinema for an evening of movies and entertainment. If a customer is looking for a great option for any type of celebration, renting the movie theater is a great and safe option.
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Whether it’s plush armchairs in a historic-style cinema for watching an independent film, or a private screening room for six in an ultra-luxurious hotel room, these screening rooms are bound to thrive. in 2022.
“There are plenty of cinemas offering food, but the best stand out with high-quality cuisine and premium cocktail programs,” says Tom Marchant, co-founder of luxury travel company Black Tomato. “People are motivated to spend more to have a fuller service experience and the exceptional venues have prioritized incredibly comfortable seating and in turn the theaters themselves are smaller and more personalized. People will book the movies well in advance if the amenities and experience are high. “
The Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York has a 99-seat cinema, used for private events and industry meetings. The Mondrian London has a 56-seat screening room, which hosts events for film festivals and weekend screenings for guests. The Soho Hotel, also in London, hosts screenings on Saturday afternoons with a buffet lunch and prosecco.
The Roxy Hotel Cinema in New York regularly shows movies, while luxury hotels like William Vale in Brooklyn, Four Seasons Downtown, and 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge all host screenings for more than just hotel guests. .
Of course, Hollywood also has its own selection, including the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles. It has a 37-seat VIP screening room in their Il Posto room, with reclining leather chairs and a private patio used for outdoor functions.
Other hotel theaters are a nod to the past, such as Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland, which houses a 32-seat cinema adorned with vintage movie posters and shows films from Golden age.
Outdoor rooftop cinemas are also a growing trend. Soneva resorts in the Maldives and Thailand each have their own open-air cinemas. At the Soneva Jani location in the Maldives, the hotel offers the country’s first ‘silent cinema’, where guests wear Bluetooth headphones to watch movies, without disturbing the nearby lagoon wildlife.
“In the age of Covid-19, we have certainly seen an increase in the number of multigenerational groups coming to our resorts, and watching a movie with your family is just one of the few experiences we offer,” explains Carissa. Nimah, commercial director of the Soneva resorts in the Maldives and Thailand. “Where else can you sit outside under a starry sky with the sound of ocean waves while watching a classic movie? ”
Some hotel guests don’t even have to leave their rooms to go to the movies. The new Hotel Paradiso in Paris is the city’s first cinema-themed hotel, with one in each room. Co-founded by brothers Nathanael and Elisha Karmitz, it was built in honor of their father, Marin Karmitz, who founded the French movie channel mk2 in 1974.
The hotel has 34 rooms and two executive cinema suites, each designed to include a screen and projector. The rooftop is also home to an open-air cinema club, along with a cocktail bar and restaurant. On the ground floor of the Paradiso hotel is mk2 Nation, a cinema with six cinemas. Inside the hotel, they have two private screening rooms. Soon they will be opening La Lage, a plush movie theater with red carpets for small screenings.
In most hotel theaters, every screening is neatly organized. The Bulgari Hotel London hosts a monthly film series called Breakthrough Women in Film Series, held in the hotel’s private cinema from November 9 to Women’s Day on March 8, 2022, featuring work by female directors.
“This series of screenings demonstrates once again the Bulgari Hotel London’s commitment to the arts and its creative sponsorship of female talent,” said series curator Bridget Arsenault of Long Winded Lady Productions.
At each event, canapes are served to guests with a welcome drink in the cinema foyer, while each screening is followed by a live Q&A with the director or an actor. (Bulgari recently announced the opening of a new hotel in Los Angeles with a luxury theater in 2025 as well).
One of the most ultra-luxurious hotel cinemas is the 99-seat Katara cinema at Le Royal Monceau hotel in Paris, a Raffles hotel. On weekends, they host the Royal Monceau Film Club, which serves champagne, gourmet popcorn from Pierre Hermé Paris, signature cocktails from Bar Long and canapes.
Heckfield Place in Hampshire, England has a private cinema they call their screening room, next to a bar that serves champagne, homemade chocolate treats, and popcorn. Since the pandemic struck, this small-scale cinema, which can seat 67 guests, has experienced a rebound.
“We have restored confidence around theatrical release, where some movies perform much better on the big screen than streaming at home, since the restrictions were relaxed,” says Lucy Hyslop, curator at the Heckfield Place hotel.
The hotel shows films four days a week, as well as talks in the cinema several times a year (in the past they have held talks with former British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith, peace activist Satish Kumar and economist Will Hutton).
Recently the hotel screened the James Bond film No time to die and brought a pair of vintage Aston Martins up front to celebrate, and is planning The French dispatch, Dune, and The respect, which are open to hotel guests and the public who can participate in the hotel’s “pre-theater” menu. The hotel also organized opening galas for a smaller audience.
“Customers love the screen, the deep and luxurious seats and tables, the fact that we don’t show any trailers or commercials, and of course the top-notch Dolby Atmos sound system,” Hyslop said. “Interest in hotel theaters will no doubt continue.