Ster-Kinekor launched two new Cine Prestige cinemas at Cavendish this Friday. Was it worth the higher price of admission? Keep reading to find out.
My experience at Cine Prestige
A brief summary of my experience is near the bottom of this post, and apologies for the lack of photos. I took some on my new Nokia but I was in a rush and almost all the photos I took ended up in the scrapheap. Hopefully SK’s marketing team will get back to me regarding a press kit, but if they don’t I will try to get to Cavendish to get some of my own photos. For now you can check out photos from the Cavendish Cine Prestige launch here.
I noticed a few weeks ago that two of the screens at Cavendish were closed and were undergoing a major revamp. It turns out that that they were giving them the Cine Prestige makeover. What is Cine Prestige? Basically Cine Prestige sets itself apart from the regular cinema experience by offering:
- Fancy seats
- Fancy food
- Fancy waiting area
- Much more leg room
Naturally, this all comes at a higher price tag. A normal 2D screening at Cavendish will set you back R64.50, while a 2D movie in their Prestige cinemas will set you back R110. Thankfully you can still use your Discovery and Edgars Movie Club discount cards at Cine Prestige. This brings the price down to roughly R70 (I’m pretty sure it’s R67.50 for Edgars and R65 for Discovery), which is much more reasonable. The Cine Prestige screens were opening on Friday the 28th November, and since I didn’t have any plans I figured I’d go check it out.
A friend and I got to the cinema early and took advantage of the very comfortable seating that Cine Prestige offers. An usher welcomed us in and once we were seated, waiters passing by would usually ask if we wanted to order anything. We politely declined since we were waiting for the rest of our friends.
Once the rest of the group had arrived we each ordered something different to test out the quality of the food. Prices are, as expected, a bit higher than average (I will be creating a separate post for their prices, since SK doesn’t have the prices on their online menu). Our waiter tried to take our order using his tablet, but the app he was using kept on bugging out so he ended up using a trustworthy pen and piece of paper. Unfortunately there must have been some kind of mix-up because one of my friends didn’t get any of the food he ordered. Still, kudos to SK (Ster-Kinekor) for trying to implement a mobile digital ordering system. Give them some time and I’m sure all the bugs will be worked out.
While we’re on the subject of food, if you order any you’re going to need to sort out seating with your friends before you go into the cinema. If you’re food isn’t ready by the time the movie starts, the waiter brings the food to you, and due to the arrangement of the seats, it’s not like you can just lean over and pass food to someone else if the orders get mixed up.
I have to say that once we got into the cinema, the experience definitely wasn’t what you would normally expect. The cinema we were in only has 41 seats so the first thing to strike you is how spacious it is compared to the regular cinemas. After finding my seat, my inner child was amazed to find my chair had buttons! There are buttons for the light in the drink holder, to turn on a cooler so that your drink stays nice and frosty, and to raise/lower the leg rest. Being brand new, the chairs make a slightly awkward groan as you raise or lower the leg rest. I’m sure this will work itself out with time but I really couldn’t help chuckling every time I adjusted my seat. I will say that I really enjoyed the wide spacious seating that allowed me to lay back and stretch my legs.
After I’d settled in the first thing that slightly bothered me was all the waiters trying their best to be ninjas and not disturb people. The waiter would arrive, food in hand, spend a moment locating their target, and then duck down and dash past you to get the food where it needed to be. This isn’t really an issue during the trailers, but it’s mildly annoying that it kept on happening after the movie started. Having said that, I have to admit that there isn’t really a solution for this, so expect this to be part of the Cine Prestige experience (this is probably the only time getting seats at the far end of each row might be a good thing).
In regards to the screen and audio, there’s nothing to complain about. SK are using the same tech in their other high end cinemas (2K digital projectors, 7.1 surround sound), so the picture and audio are both great. Just so people know, these screens aren’t huge, so don’t go in expecting a gigantic IMAX screen. The Prestige screens are not as big as Cavendish’s largest screens, but they’re definitely big enough considering the size of the cinema.
The next thing that I found slightly annoying was the lights in the buttons on the arm of the chair. You can’t turn them off, so they’re a distraction until you get used to them and your brain phases them out/gets distracted by the movie on screen. Hopefully someone from SK will read this and get someone to add a button to turn off the seat lighting.
So onto the food. I ordered a nachos combo, which set me back R49.90 for a small plate of nachos and a drink. The nachos seemed to be the kind you get out of a bag from the supermarket, and all it came with was a side order of salsa, so I was pretty disappointed. I wasn’t expecting my nachos to be freshly made, but the least SK can do is include some cheese and a tiny bit of guacamole. My sister ordered a platter and she was also a bit disappointed by the overall quality of the food. On the flip side, my friends who ordered cake, muffins and coffees were perfectly happy with their food. So it seems that if it’s food that comes prepared, it’ll be fine, but if there’s a lot of work involved in putting it together, it’s probably not going to be so great.
- Super friendly and helpful staff (seriously, I’m not used to this level of service in South Africa)
- Comfortable waiting area with plenty of seating
- Awesome lazyboy seats with plenty of legroom!
- Screens and sound are as good as you’d expect
- Some of the food is good…
- Waiters dashing in and out during the trailers and the first part of the movie
- The lights on the chairs are initially a wee bit distracting
- The digital ordering system has some bugs
- My buddy never got the platter he ordered (they did comp us the food to make up for the mistake)
- … and some of the food is a bit disappointing
So will I be going back? Yes, but only for the seating. I loved being able to lie back and watch a movie on the big screens, and would be willing to pay for the privilege. Unfortunately, as much as I was hoping that SK would surprise us and really go all out on the food, it seems that’s not the case. For now, you’re better off sticking to the standard cinema snacks (which thankfully come at standard cinema prices) and the easy to prepare food items. Hopefully SK will improve the standard of the cuisine as they work out all the kinks.