This city is no stranger to flash film-going experiences, with Reel Cinemas’ Platinum Suites and latterly Vox Cinemas’ ThEATre by Rhodes, so how does the new kid on the block measure up? Not to be left out of Dubai’s string of movie theatre facelifts, Novo Cinemas in Ibn Battuta Mall has undergone a major refit. Its main foyer and ticketing areas have been rejigged and a seven-star experience has been introduced, tucked neatly behind a velvet rope.
A VIP lobby is decked out in dark wood and dim lights – it’s theatre-esque lending a sense of occasion before lights out. Inside the theatre sit rows of bold, deep set La-Z-Boy-style chairs with button controls, headrests and the option of additional pillows and blankets.
An iPad mini sits embedded between a pair of seats, using which you can order food throughout the show – handy, but we can’t help wondering if all those glowing tablets might become a nuisance.
Nevertheless, there’s a vast choice of food. Beyond the popcorn, chocolate, ice-cream and nachos lie the likes of southwest chicken breast and quinoa salads, and Middle Eastern mezze. Scrolling through the sheer volume of options takes a while, but Novo’s effort to offer something for all, even healthy eaters, deserves praise.
Considering the investment in technology, Novo should really be able to update what is shown on the menu in line with what is actually available – two of the six items we ordered were not, which led to a three-way whispered conversation mid-film. And however hard you try, that’s always going to unsettle your fellow cinema-goers.
Delivery of food also needs some refining. Our warm chocolate crêpe came first, followed some five minutes later by a Mediterranean salad. While both were very good, the order of service was perplexing.
On the plus side, the menu prices are reasonable – a good job, too, considering the ticket cost. At Dhs150 just for the seat, it compares favourably to Vox’s ThEATre by Rhodes at Mall of the Emirates (Dhs160) but less so to Reel Cinema’s Platinum Suites (Dhs130), and Vox Outdoor (Dhs150), where confectionery is thrown in free.
While seven-star might be a bit of a stretch, there’s no doubt it’s a welcome addition to New Dubai’s VIP screening scene.
Ibn Battuta Mall, The Gardens, www.novocinemas.com (04 232 8523).