The Royal Suite: the price of comfort

The Royal Suite, located in Showplace Cinemas East on Morgan Avenue, promises dinner and a movie in a relaxed adult-only atmosphere for a slightly higher ticket price.

For $14 ($11 for matinee screenings) customers get the ability to order food and drink before and during the film.

All the cramped seating of a normal theater layout is replaced with spacious mechanical leather reclining chairs, while a new projector and screen provide a crystal-clear image. A vast improvement over the occasional scratch or smudge on some of Showplace’s other normal screens (I’m looking at you, Screen 1 in Henderson).

As a frequent moviegoer, one of the biggest improvements Showplace has brought with their Royal Suite is a simple change in protocol: the Suite dims house lights while trailers for new movies are shown.

Between the great fidelity of the Suite’s new screen and the dimmed lights, one can actually see the trailers as they are meant to be seen. Normal operating procedure at Showplace Henderson, the closest theater to me, is to simply leave the house lights on full blast, washing out any color or clarity trailers have to offer.

As far as the physical features the Suite has to offer: each chair comes equipped with two cupholders, allowing one to kick back and sip on their $4 soda or $7.50 cocktail in maximum comfort. Ordering is simple enough — press a big shiny button on your armrest and a server will swiftly appear.

The process is so fluid and simple one almost forgets that the menu is priced pretty high, even for movie concession standards.

A large bucket of popcorn with unlimited refills for $8 is not a bad deal, paying $5.50 for a “mound of fries” that looked suspiciously like the same serving of fries a friend received as a side with their $13 cheeseburger (neither of which particularly drove our tastebuds insane with glee) isn’t as exciting.

I highly suggest the Royal Suite for those special occasions when a movie demands to be seen in high definition with zero chance of loud children and teenagers ruining the experience. Something historic like the new “Star Wars” film or artistic like Alejandro Iñárritu’s “The Revenant” demand a certain amount of respect from the audience, and the Royal Suite provides the necessary peace, quiet and comfort to achieve that respect.

“Dinner and a movie” turns into a better-than-average movie, and that’s okay.

As much as I want to support concessions sales so theaters stay profitable, I’d advise against eating at the Suite. Given Showplace East’s close proximity of many good restaurants, I don’t see any logical reason to pay a premium for “meh” bar food.

Just make sure to do your part and shell out for some popcorn and soda now and then.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)