In this article, you find the complete story of building our hotel in Sri Lanka 🌈 Building a Dream!
The story of “At Ease Beach Hotel” started in 2014. We (Dinesh and Merete) found a beach land for sale just 200 metres from our home in Hikkaduwa. A fisherman and his family lived on this land. He had his catamaran boat on the beach outside the house, and fishing tools where hanging in the coconut trees in the garden.
The place did not look anything like where a tourist would like to stay, but we could immediately see the potential. The beach was the most beautiful and peaceful place, 🌴🏖️☀️unlike everything else in the area!
Then came a long periode of planning and preparing. The bureaucratic challenge of building approvals and all the formal and legal work took a lot of time and energy.
Then, finally in 2016 we were ready to start the actual work on the land. Step one was to take down the house that was there, and clear the land.
A blessing before starting building our hotel:
💫22.07.2016 is a day we will never forget.
In Sri Lanka, astrology is a important part of everyday life. To get a “good time” for everything from weddings, moving in to a new house, and to start a building process, is believed to be of significant importance. We wanted to follow the traditions here, and arranged a blessing ceremony at the time we were given as a lucky time. Hopefully this will bring luck to our hotel!
Munks, family, friends and workers were invited to the ceremony. Coconut milk was boiled, milk rice were served and the holy munks blessed the land, and the works ahead. Dinesh got the honour to put the very first brick stone in the ground. We were ready to start build our hotel!
From that day things started happening fast. In the initial phase most of the work happened under ground. When putting up a large building close to the sea, it is important to have a solid and steady foundation. Of course, this process was supervised by architects and engineers to get everything correct. The work was done by local craftsmen.
The work started progressing in the Autumn and Winter of 2016. Thousands bags of sand and cement were mixed on the ground here. And thousands of bricks were placed on the land. Hard work, mostly by hand and in the warm climate of Hikkaduwa.
In 2017 we could start to actually see that this would be a hotel. Our beach hotel!
Some weeks were filled with progress. The second slab up, roof ready and the base of the swimming pool ready. Some weeks were setbacks, bad weather and frustrations. The amount of work hours, including planning and organisation felt like a 200% job for most uf us involved.
But again, we could see that this hotel would be ready this year. Our beach hotel!
We originally planned to open in June 2017. But nothing goes as planned here in Sri Lanka, and we had to postpone the opening.
Some bad weather had affected the final stage of the building process, and more time was needed to complete. The summer was spent on finishes, painting and furnitures. In this stage we also focused on using local craftsmen and material from the area whenever possible.
In September we were doing the final touches, with the deadline getting closer and closer.
An Araliya tree was brought from Galle, to decorate the front entrance of the hotel (picture below).
We opened our hotel 🎉🥂 October 1st 2017
The day was finally here, opening day!
In the early morning we cleaned out the last cement bags and paint buckets. Then we arranged a blessing ceremony, boiling coconut milk on the floor.
After cleaning the rooms and floors our first four guest checked in!
Four happy Norwegian boys, got the honour of trying out the hotel beds, the swimming pool and the bar for the very first time!