The violent May 5 riots, which involved 100,000 marchers and ended with 3 deaths, got endless play via international cable outlets and wires. The coverage was dramatic, but it was also misleading. Athens isn't actually in a state of rebellion, and besides those rioters only have so much energy and interest (in contrast to a place like Bangkok, which is actually dangerous right now).
Nonetheless, Athens has seen 20,000 hotel cancellations in just the last few weeks, and that figure comes from just 68 out of the area's 450 hotels. With the bottom falling out like that, you'd expect to see panicked price slashing from top hotels. Which is exactly what's going on.
Writing this story, we watched as prices kept dropping. That's how fast things are changing. For next weekend, Orbitz is showing 5-star hotels inside the city at $118/night. You can book a 5-star Marriott overlooking the Acropolis for $148/night. Switch over to Priceline and you find the top-ranked Athens hotel, the Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens, listed for $150/night. That's a 34 percent discount before you even use Name Your Own Price. And don't forget that the Euro has recently fallen against the dollar, so you'll get better deals on souvenirs, too.
Going next weekend might actually not be the best idea, since another general strike is scheduled for May 20. And again, you're certainly taking on some risk even if you book now for June or July. But if you're feeling lucky, now's your chance to lock in some absurd deals.
[Photo: Chris Fleming / Wiki Commons]