The Thamsen family have resided and presided over the running of the Gaststatte Bongsiel for four generations. The original house was built in 1903 as a home for Lauritz Thamsen, who oversaw the comings and goings at the nearby sluice that leads to the North Sea. The homely feel that characterizes the hotel today dates from the early years of the 20th century when Lauritz took in travellers waiting for ships to the small nearby islands. Among those guests were artists who paid for food and lodging with their paintings and the most famous of them was Emil Nolde. The walls of the cosy 'Swarte Peerd' restaurant are today decorated with more then 150 works by people who stayed in these rooms in the early years, and these, as well as the tasty eel speciality dishes, are good reasons to try the restaurant.
  Bjorn Thamsen has managed to maintain the atmosphere created by his great grandfather, while making necessary changes to the hotel. In 2002, the north side of the building was renovated, opening up the ballroom thanks to the use of light colours, and adding seven new bedrooms with bathrooms. The barn-style thatched house has the feel of an overgrown cottage; it is surrounded by lush green countryside, and makes a great base for walking or cycling.