A newly wedded couple from London set off on a three-week backpacking adventure around Sri Lanka last December following their wedding in June 2017.
They fell in love with the hotel they have now named ‘Lucky Beach Tangalle’ – a rustic resort with a lease that was coming up for renewal.
Over several glasses of rum (12 in total) with bartenders, the couple decided that they would just take over the hotel for a measly £30,000 ($39,400).
Now, as of July 1 this year, producer Gina and Mark, a sales director, officially own the hotel they drunkenly agreed to buy.
Gina said: “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.
“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.
“Now, almost a year on from our drunken idea, we own the hotel and have started doing the hotel up and making it ours.”
Despite having had the initial conversation about purchasing the hotel while they were drunk, Gina explains that the couple were also tipsy during the more serious chats.
It sounds to us like these two need to just lay off the rum…
Gina added: “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.”
Despite struggling financially, the couple managed to pay the first half of the lease – however, they stumbled into an unexpected debt three months after agreeing on the purchase in March this year, when Gina discovered she was pregnant. Probably down to the rum, again.
Gina said: “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.
“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.”
Despite initially doubting their decision, the couple opened their seven-bedroom B&B at the end of July and have since had an inflow of regular customers.
And although the business venture has paid off for them, the couple insist that their decisions to expand will be made sober. Thank heavens for that – good you, guys.