By Elis Kiss
Special offers and promos are turning into primetime material this season as the local market’s survival instincts kick in and come up with more affordable ways for residents and visitors to enjoy city life.
In an effort to boost downtown summertime business, the Athens Traders Association is taking a proactive stance and is behind the Athens World Music Festival. The event takes place July 16 to 20 and coincides with the launch of the summer sales season (July 16). The project is being carried out in collaboration with the City of Athens and the capital’s Technopolis cultural complex in Gazi, where a five-day world music festival will take place with the support of various local trade associations.
Local apparel brand Raxevsky has been offering summer discounts since July 3. The garment and accessories label has marked down all of its clothes collections by 50 percent. The discount is valid for all Benefit loyalty card-holders -- the cards can be picked up at Raxevsky outlets free of charge.
E-commerce has also caught on to the benefits of special offers, with a number of local-based websites readjusting to the harsh current climate. Starbags.gr, credited with bringing the rent-a-luxury-bag concept to Greece, is taking a fresh look at luxury and premium brands. Having broadened its commercial scope to include the sale of garments and accessories, the website is now offering a New Price category where dresses by Paul & Joe, for instance, sell for under 100 euros, while beachwear begins at 45 euros.
On Kerdopolis.gr, visitors can browse a variety of special offers and discounts offered by companies on a daily basis. The deals, which range from clothes and footwear to driving lessons and rental rooms on Greek islands, are available immediately, with no quotas regarding the number of participants or prepayment.
Meanwhile, the Regional Authority of Attica recently put together a mini-festival featuring free-of-charge screenings as a means of relaunching a newly renamed cinema. Situated in the Attiko Alsos woods in Galatsi, Cine Attiko has now been renamed Cine Attiko-Theodoros Angelopoulos, a tribute to the award-winning director who died in January this year. The festival runs to Sunday and the remaining screenings include Robert Mulligan’s 1962 “To Kill A Mockingbird” starring Gregory Peck on Saturday and Jose Padilha’s 2007 “Tropa de Elite” (Elite Squad) on Sunday. Priority coupons are distributed prior to the screenings, which start at 9 p.m. (For more information, call 210.699.7755.)
Cultural institutions are also coming up with novel ways to attract visitors. At the Herakleidon Museum-Experience in Visual Arts venue in Thiseio, for instance, ticket prices are lower for cyclists (2.50 euros instead of the 4-euro general admission), who qualify for special offers at the gift shop, a 20 percent discount at the Tholos Cafe (located in front of the museum) and a spot to park their bikes. The offer is available to July 29.
While luxury is not a term widely used during this period of recession, small luxuries at premium prices could prove uplifting during these particularly tough times. The landmark Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens’s central Syntagma Square offers the opportunity of a break from the city’s high temperatures in the establishment’s Winter Garden atrium, where, comfortably seated in the the grand hotel’s gilded furniture, you can savor a bowl of frosty yogurt for 5 euros. Flavors include Turkish delight and halva, among others, accompanied by nuts, brownies and cookies.
For those in search of a fine dining experience at reasonable, crisis-friendly prices, the Milos restaurant has four-course meals for 25 euros (excluding drinks). At the Hilton Hotel in Athens, the establishment is known for combining quality service with quality ingredients. The 25-euro menu, which changes regularly, may look something like this: Raw sea bass with squid ink and “ladorigani” (olive oil and oregano), followed by stuffed tomatoes, a poached/grilled chicken leg from Naxos with a spiced bulgur wheat salad, ending with “mouchalebi” -- a chilled cream pudding with icing sugar and cinnamon. (For reservations, call 210.724.4400.)
At the hotel’s Galaxy Bar, a spectacular view of the city may be accompanied by a Martini cocktail -- Bianco Royale, Bellini or Rosato Royale among others -- currently priced at 13 euros and including finger food. The offer is valid until August 31, but not on party nights.