Slightly different kind of post today! I recently received an email inviting me and my family to experience the new VIP bowling lanes at my local Hollywood Bowl. My boys love bowling so of course I took the opportunity!!
My local one is in Basingstoke and I have been there many times in the past, had my boys birthday parties there a few years running and so on. I was interested in reviewing their new set up as I was curious to also see if as a whole, the place had improved since being taken over by Hollywood Bowl.
When walking into the building, the first thing I noticed was the addition of the new VIP lanes. This is a brand new experience that had just opened so I was keen to try it out!
The VIP areas are sectioned off by red rope, opened by staff to welcome you into your bowling area. The plush seating is definitely a big step up from the old benches and the red velvet, tied back curtains finish the look off nicely giving the VIP feel to the lane.
We were taken to our lane by Justine who was also looking after us for our time there. After explaining how the VIP experience works, she also gave us a tip to aim for the arrows on the lane instead of the pins….this turned out to be the best advice!! Haha!
The decor is all in the Hollywood theme with classic pins, movie props and murals of Hollywood legends such as Elvis and Audrey Hepburn watching over you as you bowl!
The lane set up was super easy, completed on tablets, names and being able to select to have the bumpers on for the kids, all done from the screen.
The screen was also useful further into the session as it shows your rolling score and who is bowling next. Every so often a message also pops up to ask ‘Feeling hungry or thirsty?’ and giving you an option to call a team member over. There was no need to wait for this reminder to pop up as there was also a call button on the screen to use at any time.
Part way through the game we decided to order our meal…this was one part I was keen to see if there were any changes as I had found in the past, the food to not be so great. Being a VIP meant that we did not need to leave the lane at all for drinks, food or any other help, everything was done from the lane and staff were attentive and so helpful. When our food arrived, we were quite impressed as it didn’t take long to get to us and we were welcome to sit and eat where we were and had plenty of room to do so.
I’m pleased to report, the food was much improved from the last time I ate at the bowling ally (under previous management). The milkshakes were amazing too….highly recommend trying one of these!!
In the VIP area next to us, staff were preparing for a children’s party, which again looked so much better than when I had my Son’s parties there. They were set up to be even more fun with balloons and also seemed to have a dedicated staff member overseeing the party which I thought was great.
The VIP experience is set to give the guest that something extra as they bowl. The set up, the furnishing, the lighting all give the experience a special feel to it. We actually ended up staying and paying for another game as it really was fun!
Staff were friendly, welcoming, attentive and happy to help. We were made to feel looked after from the moment we arrived.
Food was great and exactly what we had ordered….my 11 year old loves nachos but hates all of the usual additions but he was given what he ordered and this was no trouble 🙂
Who is it for?
Anyone! We went as a family of four and we could also see the next booth had a children’s party going on and I would imagine the kids would have loved it! It really is something different! You’re in the same bowling ally as everyone else yet it doesn’t actually feel like it!! haha! I think the VIP lanes would also be great for a grown-ups night out or even a work’s get together!
Would I pay the extra for the VIP experience?
I would! According to the website, the VIP lane is available from and additional £1 per person per game or £3 per person when upgrading to their unlimited bowling package. I’m pretty sure we will be making ourselves VIPs next time we bowl!
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Disclaimer: The VIP experience was in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my own and it was my choice to add links to any websites throughout this post.