This is the real life fairy story behind the creators of Diaz Square, a fairyland home away from home to those seeking a haven where the host pampers guests with safety, care and delightful, mouth watering dishes to whet their palates, and guests feel they are staying at their own home at this homestay of their dreams. The heroes in our story are, Jude and Judy.
Judy is the second daughter of the late Mr. Douglas Diaz, who worked as a press photographer at Lake House and the late Mrs. Stephanie Diaz.
When Judy is just a little girl, she gets an unexpected windfall from her paternal grandfather, the late Mr. Robert Diaz, and grandmother, the late Mrs. Ruth Diaz. It is a generous gift of a land of 84 perches. The imposing building of Diaz Square by Jude Ranatunga, stands proudly on this blessed land. Diaz Square is an invitingly homely nest for rest for the weary traveller, seeking total relaxation for body and mind, in a serene environment.
It has three cosy rooms for guests, and one for the host. A well equipped restaurant, spacious kitchen and dining hall cater to the needs of discerning guests. Behind every successful man is a woman. And, right behind Jude, becoming a tower of strength to him, is Judy! Jude had his schooling at St. Anthony’s Central College, Wattala, where he offered Commerce subjects for his Advanced Level Examination. After leaving school, he followed a three year Catering and Hotel Management Course at Claremont Hotel School, Colombo. He embarked on his professional career as a Receptionist, at Hibiscus Beach Hotel, Wadduwa.
In 1988, at the very young age of twenty three years, he left for Italy, seeking greener pastures and more exposure to the world. In 1994, the Jude and Judy beautiful romance culminates in theirl marriage after a seven year relationship.
The premature passing away of his father, at fifty two years, makes Jude to return to Sri Lanka. Being the eldest in the family, he has the responsibility to care for it. Jude enters the tourism field, as a driver and advances as a Chauffeur Guide and next as a National Guide. Lady luck smiled on him, when he met the tourist couple, Jock and Christine Boehm, whom Jude guided on their visits to Sri Lanka. Jock is a German and Christine is of French nationalty.
They were working in Dubai at that time, and were frequent clients of Jude in Sri Lanka. Jude was a tourist driver at the time he met the Boehm couple. They encouraged and motivated Jude tob climb the ladder in his profession. After the first tour in Sri Lanka, Jock asked Jude for his business card at the Departure lounge.
Jude didn’t have one! He wrote his name and address on a piece of paper And gave it to Jock. Next, Jock asked for his email address.
Jude said he didn’t have one! Imagine! Until 2002, Jude didn’t have an email address. Such were his humble beginnings!
Jock sent Jude a visiting card, with an email address, within one week, by DHL from Dubai.
The turning point in Jude’s life came when Jock bought him a laptop.
At that point of time, Jude arrived at the firm resolution to start going ahead on his own feet, harnessing the wealth of extensive knowledge and experience he had garnered in the hospitality industry over a long and eventful period of twenty five years. His new dream was not only to reach a personal pinnacle of success, but also to be a vibrantambassador to promote Sri Lanka in the global market.
Jude was a tourist driver, at the time he met the Boehm couple. Jock and Christine inspired Jude to rise from the bottom rung of the ladder, as a tourist driver to his present position in his career. The precious gift of the laptop from the benevolent benefactor couple, was to give a kick start to Jude’s rapid rise to success. Next, Jude launched his own travel agency, “ Ayubowan Travels International (Pvt.) Ltd., in all 2009, with a colleague, Mr. Kapila Kodituwakku, who is a National Guide, in the Japanese market. In the year 2014, he made his plan to retire at the age of fifty, to keep his promise to Judy.
Finally, he laid the foundation for his post retirement life, by laying the foundation stone for the building which stands today as, “ Diaz Square by Jude Ranatunga”. It took him four years to complete the building, with financial challenges he encountered. His determination and dedication was such that, in order to make the project viable, and to develop the “Re-use” concept, he used building materials from demolished buildings, bought from time to time, to feed the construction of the building.
Jude and Judy’s gratitude to his benefactor couple was shown when he invited them to be the first guests to Diaz Square. Always ready to adapt to changing scenarios, Jude has now embarked on home gardening. He plans to offer environmentally organic fruits and vegetables, to his customers in the very near future.
At the same time, Jude is reaping the fruits of his sweat and toil in his career. The entrancing fairy story of Jude and Judy continues, with fascinating new episodes to come!