BY BEN BILUA
LOCATED a few minutes’ walk from the Taro Jetty is Sea View Lodge – a semi-permanent building sitting above the sea with rooms for guests and also a bar to cool down while watching the sun set.
The two storey building is owned by 54 year old Joby Galo. It has 13 rooms upstairs, three rooms’ downstairs, a bottle shop and a bar.
A room costs around SBD$350.00 per night but the price is negotiable depending on circumstance.
The setting is fitting for guests to enjoy the view overlooking the white sandy beach of Supizae Island on the left and the lagoon leading to Choiseul Bay Provincial Secondary School on the right.
Add to the bonus is the newly built bar, where guests can see the coral reefs decorated with colorful fish playing below, or guests can take a five minutes boat ride provided by Sea View to a water fall.
Overall, the fresh lagoon breeze can carry your mind away.
I met up with the owner of Sea View Lodge during my trip to cover the South Choiseul by-election last week and during our conversations he asked if I could helped promote his local business.
From our conversation, I sensed that Galo has big plans and ambitions to improve his services to meet the market.
“I’m planning to establish a proper setting to my lodge. Currently I’m working on self-contained rooms. I plan to install shower and toilet rooms on every self-contained room. I ‘am also looking at renovating part of this building for a conference room, restaurant and also a bar.
“It’s quite challenging for me to achieve my goals but I’m confident that I will get there in the future,” he said.
According to Galo, finance is his weakness to accomplish his dream of owning a well-established lodge with sufficient services for guests to enjoy when visiting Taro or Choiseul province.
“My liquor shop is the only income that helped me purchase materials to improve my lodge. Last year, I was fortunate to receive assistance from the government through the stimulus package. But the fund is not enough. I’ve used the fund to build the bar which is yet to be completed,” he said.
Galo was busy during the by-election period as guests flood in looking for rooms to stay. From observation, Sea View was a preferred place to rent as rules are flexible for guests compared to other motels.
“This is a busy week for me and I’m glad that I have lots of guests though there is no one to help me promote my business.
“I’ve never dreamt of having this much guests because I never market my business. I believe people to people conversation helped market Sea View Lodge which is a good thing for me,” he said.
When asked about security, Galo stressed that the welfare of his guests is paramount and that there are sets of rules for non-guests.
“I want my guests to enjoy their stay while at Sea View Lodge. My guest’s privacy is my concern and I always make sure there is no disturbance to my guests.
“Furthermore, my guests can enjoy beers at the bar till late but respect my property. This rule is only for guests,” he said.
Galo’s business journey started 18 years ago when he was 37 years old. A builder himself, he started constructing the motel in 2004.
The year that followed he sent his daughter to study Tourism and Hospitality at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU).
“This is a family business and I want my sons and daughters to be part of this business. My kids have to work to earn income. My daughter is now looking after catering and my son is looking after the liquor shop.
“I’m partly satisfied with the achievement and the benefits of this small business to my family so far,” Galo said
A glimpse of Sea View hospitality is perfect beginning with the owner himself, Galo a cool guy, easy going and well-respected person. His staff are also friendly – meaning security is guaranteed.
I can imagine, the new face of Sea View Lodge will be much better compared to the existing setting after the renovation.
The proposed bar which sits above the sea, the beautiful view and friendly staff makes Sea View Lodge a must visit lodge in Taro.