World’s Coolest Cinemas Offering More Than Just the Film


With the annual Cannes Film Festival underway, the global attention the festival continues to draw in its 71st year confirms how influential the world of film truly is. 31% of Canadian travellers are inspired by ‘on-screen’ locations, meaning they’ve been inspired to choose a holiday destination because it is the setting of a TV programme or movie they’ve watched recently, according to Booking.com, the global leader in connecting you with the widest choice of incredible places to stay. From old-fashioned, glamorous movie palaces to a screening within a charming solar-powered caravan, a visit to one of these quirky big screens will take any movie buff’s entertainment experience to the next level.

The Castro Theatre – San Francisco, US

Built in 1922, the Castro Theatre was named a landmark of San Francisco in 1976 and is one of the few remaining movie palaces still open from the 1920s in the US. Still owned by its founding family, the elegantly decorated Castro hosts events, festivals, sing-a- longs and new releases. Today, it’s also known as an LGBTQ landmark as it was one of the first venues to showcase LGBTQ films back in the 1970s and quickly became the cultural and political centre for the LGBTQ community.

Where to stay: After a trip to the Castro, film fanatics will love the Hotel Rex San Francisco in keeping with the 1920s art and décor. This boutique hotel offers charming and elegant rooms in a central location.

Orange Cinema Club – Beijing, China

Located in the Pacific Shopping Mall, the Orange Cinema Club is arguably the most exclusive cinema in China and offers cinema-goers a luxurious and unique movie experience. Designed by artist Robert Majkut, the Orange Cinema Club boasts a Piano Bar Zone, private VIP rooms, a Cigar Club and three screening rooms. This is not your average movie theatre! With 61% of Canadians reporting that they want to experience new cultures when they travel, Beijing offers a ton in the way of sightseeing, culture and history.

Where to stay: The Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel is a hidden gem in the heart of Beijing. Nestled in the historical Hutong area, guests will love this peaceful retreat away from the bustling urban scene. Traditional cultural activities can be experienced here, including shadow art painting classes,
calligraphy practising and dumpling making. For those interested in a show beyond the big screen, guests are invited to watch a free shadow art performance every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Pula Arena – Pula, Croatia

The Pula Arena in Croatia is one of the last remaining Amphitheatres in the world and will leave you mesmerised by the surrounding sunset vistas and ancient history. It’s therefore no surprise that Pula is highly endorsed for history and ancient landmarks by Booking.com travellers. Remarkably built back in
the 1st Century AD, the arena would have originally been used for gladiator fights during the Roman Empire. However, nowadays the only action you will see in the arena is from screenings at the Pula Film Festival.

Where to stay: Located within the historic centre of Pula are the charming Apartments Forum, overlooking the Temple of Augustus, the Forum and the famous Arena Pula. Travellers will love this home away from home stay with a fully equipped kitchen, furnished balcony, airy and spacious rooms and a wealth of amenities on your doorstep.

St. George Open Air Cinema – Sydney, Australia

Dubbed the world’s most beautiful cinema, moviegoers will love a trip to the St. George Open Air Cinema in Sydney. From your seats, watch the harbour-front screen rise up with the Opera House and Sydney Harbour as the backdrop and a selection of bars and restaurants either side.

Where to stay: Ideally located in central Sydney, the stylish Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Central offers modern apartments, an outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub, fitness centre, sauna and barbeque area.

Sol Cinema – Swansea, Wales

Famous for being the world’s smallest solar powered cinema, a trip to Wales is made more exciting with a visit to the Sol Cinema. Although it may not boast the usual A-list style, film lovers are treated to a red carpet, usherette service and popcorn. What’s not to love about this unique mobile cinema in a charming vintage caravan?

Where to stay: Eco-friendly moviegoers will love a stay at the Parc-Le-Breos House, surrounded by picturesque Welsh countryside and offering locally sourced ingredients and traditional farmhouse food. However, unlike the cosy Sol Cinema, you can unwind in your spacious room and ensuite and feel at home in your fluffy bathrobe and slippers.


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James Chung

Founder & Editor in Chief of Hello Vancity magazine. Email [email protected]

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