This story has an unusual beginning. Gina Lyons, 33, and Mark Lee, 35, decided they’d tie the proverbial knot. Nothing odd there. Yet their honeymoon took an unusual twist. The couple, after a night of drinks, decided they would buy the hotel they were staying in. They’d fallen in love with the place, which they’ve since named “Lucky Beach Tangalle.”
Lyons and Lee had been drinking rum back in December of 2017. The newlyweds had been hiking around Sri Lanka when they came to the hotel. The rustic resort hotel was for sale. So the Londoners paid $39,400 and bought it.
“When we walked into the hotel we saw a group of old Sri Lankan men who were still drunk from the night before, so we started drinking with them,” Lyons said.
“The hotel looked grotty and very cheap, but it was by the beach and had the ‘wooden tree house’ feel that we like.”
“When we were on the beach drinking rum, we were told that the lease was almost up for the hotel. After finding out that it was £10,000 a year, myself and Mark thought that it would be a brilliant idea to buy it – because we were so drunk.”
“The next day we went and met an old couple who we had to speak to about renewing the lease ourselves.”
“We had to take two friends we had made with us so they could translate for us, as the couple didn’t speak English themselves.”
“Because we didn’t understand most of the conversation, Mark and I were just sat drinking more rum and slowly getting drunk again.”
“After some bartering, we finally agreed that we would pay £30,000 for the three year lease and pay £15,000 in the first year and the other half by March 2019.”
“But on top of that we had to pay about £7,000 legal fees in obtaining licenses and then £6,000 to refurbish, so it wasn’t cheap.”
“Now, almost a year on from our drunken idea, we own the hotel and have started doing the hotel up and making it ours.”
But there is more to the story.
“When we had paid £8,000 of the lease, we found out that we were expecting a baby. I felt like I was already a bad mother because I felt guilty that I’d wasted all of this money buying a business that might not work,” she said.
“Even our friends and family think we’re idiots and shouldn’t have been doing it – we owed a lot of money from the wedding and only lived in a tiny flat, and now we had a baby on the way.
“I was plagued with feeling irresponsible, but it was either sink or swim – so we decided we’d have to make it work. That’s when we decided to throw our all into it, both for ourselves and for the baby, and in July we officially became owners of the business.”
So far, the gamble has reportedly paid off. The hotel has seven rooms, and traffic has been coming in regularly.