#50 Siam View Hotel or: -SVH- should exist somewhere between #49 Pereras and #51 HangLoose.
However no record of this place can be found anywhere, at least locally.
Neither Mercy Corps or their sponsored Tourist Association Web sites, or indeed any Governmental Departments seem to list this establishment.
Does #50 SVH actually exist?
Have you been at #50?
Does anyone know this little place?
If so, please give details or write an introduction!
Hotel Lanka lists the #50 SVH on their own web site:
Additional Information taken from a Travel Guide Book:
This is a translation by Alf Docherty, Rheindahlen of an entry in the leading German Travel Guide, The Loose Du Mont Sri Lanka Reisefuehrer:
The Siam View Hotel
The facade appears rather ramshackle and unattractive, but this hotel has the honour of being the oldest wooden construction on the east coast of Sri Lanka and as such is on the National Heritage list of protected buildings. Go behind the facade and you will make a few interesting discoveries, not least of which has to be the excellent food served on the terrace and a wide selection of draft beers brewed in accordance with an old German tradition which allows only the use of the purist ingredients. You will also discover a special breed of people, an important piece of local history and a vast number of brilliant innovations. Without the Siam View Hotel, which opened in 1979, Arugam Bay would not be what it is today. Dr. Fred Netzband-Miller, an engineer of Dutch/German â€“ English extraction and a handful of friends built this unpretentious landmark on what was, in the late 1970â€™s, a deserted stretch of beach. Since then, it has served its visitors in many ways: during the worst phases of the civil war it was declared a weapon free zone respected by all parties. It has always been and still is: a haven for homesick ex-patriots and for adventurers of all nationalities, a meeting point for surfers and a place where NGO workers can come to discuss their ideas, exchange information and work on plans for future projects to benefit the local population.
â€œWeâ€™re not here because we want to get rich, weâ€™re here because we enjoy itâ€, emphasises Fred, who does not, even these days, have a brochure or visiting card for his hotel.
â€œThe name Siam View is intended to suggest that theoretically it would be possible (if the earth were flat) to see Thailandâ€, explains the 56 year old, who lived there for many years and as the son of a diplomat grew up in Africa and feels that the whole world is home. It is one of his dreams to cross the 2000 km stretch of ocean on a jetski. That is not necessarily as unrealistic as it may sound: in 1977 Fred left the Isle of Man on a motorbike and succeeded in travelling the entire distance to India by land, then finally crossing to Sri Lanka by ferry. There is probably no one with a better knowledge of this corner of the world. Fred has counted 63 bays on the way to Hambantota. At one time, Fred served as a Liaison Officer for the British Army and was stationed in Potsdam. He has already twice negotiated the dense jungle and crossed the rivers of the Yala East National Park on a Unimog with a specially adapted and waterproof motor. His intention was to reach Colombo and as he says: â€œThat was the shortest wayâ€.
It is therefore not surprising that, at least until the Tsunami struck, the Siam View Hotel offered its guests the use of six ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) and during the specially conceived â€œFull Moonâ€ parties massive 1800 watt loudspeakers created an unforgettable atmosphere as the disco played music from the hotelâ€™s 8000 CD library.
Now 4 satellite dishes feed in television channels from around the world and provide an international telephone connection. In January 2004 a permanent high speed internet connection was installed and is still the only one on the entire east coast.
Although this costs nearly $1000 a month to run, locals are able to surf the net without charge. Everyone in the immediate vicinity also benefits from the 180 hp Mitsubishi Generator, which provides a standby source of electricity in the event of power cuts and there are very good reasons to believe that it once stood in Saddam Husseinâ€™s Republican Gardens.
This generator, which uses between 7 â€“ 9 litres of fuel per hour, initially saw service in Siam View in 1990 to provide a power source for the first air conditioning units. The hotel is particularly proud of a number of environmentally friendly innovations. One of these is the hotels own very efficient and clean sewage treatment system. Plastic bottles are collected and re-cycled to be used roof insulation.
The Tsunami left only the shell of the main building standing and of the original 26 rooms only 4 now remain. But, the disaster served to further enhance the hotelâ€™s legend. At about 08:45 on the morning of 26 December, the gardener persisted in waking up all the guests; not an easy task as most people had only just gone to bed after the previous nightâ€™s lively Christmas party. The old man had noticed that the ocean was behaving strangely and he was convinced that a terrible catastrophe was about to happen. The disaster was not long in coming and within a few minutes, a gigantic 15 metre wave struck the small town. Thanks to the timely warning, all 165 guests survived, but everywhere else the retreating flood left behind horrific scenes of death and devastation. In this apocalyptic world, the Siam View became a symbol of survival, hope and regeneration. From the recovered food stores over 500 free meals were distributed to survivors in the first few days. â€œMore importantly, were the stocks of alcohol and cigarettesâ€, remembers Fred and adds that in the middle of this chaos, his hotel managed to put on a modest New Yearâ€™s party.
Fred is convinced that the terrible Tsunami disaster taught him more about physics than all the years he spent at university. And it is this knowledge, which he has put to practical use in rebuilding the hotel. The new supporting concrete pillars are triangular in shape in order to deflect boats and other debris which would be swept against the structure should another tidal wave occur. The water tower has been fitted with three large sirens with a range of 700m. Other features of the Tsunami Early Warning System are three computers permanently connected to seismological monitoring stations in Alaska, Hawaii and Bangkok. Even the matter of emancipation is one which has been given consideration at the Siam View Hotel. The new beach bar, which has been constructed entirely from natural materials, has a second floor which bears the name â€œLadies Loungeâ€. It is available to female guests only, but men may be allowed to enter on rare occasions, if specially invited.
No introduction, but recent photos (copyright SiRo, Switzerland):