These Honeymooners Got Drunk On Rum & Bought A Hotel

The inhibition-lowering powers of alcohol don't always lead to terrible decisions... or do they? British couple Gina Lyons and Mark Lee are still trying to figure out which category a life-altering choice they made last year — after downing a whole lot of rum on their honeymoon — falls into. Lyons, a TV producer, and Lee, a sales director, bought the hotel where they were staying while the pair were on a three-week backpacking trip through Sri Lanka last December.
"The hotel looked grotty and very cheap, but it was by the beach and had the ‘wooden tree house’ feel that we like," Lee told the Sunday Times.
On their first night in the beach town of Tangalle, they downed about 12 glasses of rum with some of the hotel staff, who told them that the lease would soon be up for the place. The couple then came up with the idea to buy it right then and there. Okay, so not exactly relatable, but even without alcohol, who hasn't been on vacation in paradise and fantasized about ways to come back? They didn't even change their minds the next day, though they admitted to being a little under the influence as they negotiated with the owners for a three-year lease.
"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," Lyons told the Times.
The couple's Instagrams from their time in Tangelle don't announce their purchase right off the bat, but they did seem to be having the time of their lives. Now, almost a year later, they don't seem to be regretting this wild adventure, even with the added complication of Lyons being pregnant with their first child.
"Even our friends and family think we’re idiots and shouldn’t have been doing it," Lyons said. "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."
But so far, so good. In July, they renovated the hotel, now called Lucky Beach Tangelle, and reopened it for business on August 1. It's a "flashpacking" hotel, which means it's perfect for travelers on a tight budget, but who would rather have their own rooms, which currently go for $18 a night. Their user reviews are all positive, and the press they're getting about this whimsical story can't hurt, either.
"My boyfriend and I travelled around Sri Lanka for a total of six weeks, this pace was easiest the best place that we stayed," wrote Laura B on TripAdvisor. "It had just been subject to a huge refurbishment / facelift. You could tell that this has been done with thought and love. It's in every little detail. ...You're smack bang on the beach with great food and cocktails. The staff are incredible, nothing is too much they make you feel so welcome and comfortable."
Worse case scenario, if things change and they decide to get out of the hotel business, they can always snag another drunk honeymooning couple!

More from Travel

R29 Original Series