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Suitcase Series

Suitcase Series: Nada Ghazal

Beirut-based jewellery designer Nada Ghazal aspires to emotionally connect with women around the world with her collection of soulful jewels.

Handcrafted in 18k gold and adorned with precious and semi-precious gems, Nada’s pieces are designed to echo different emotions but all celebrate what it means to be a woman.

Here, Nada shares her love for Lebanon, her ideal getaway and the packing essentials she relies on.


What is the first trip you remember taking?

My parents took us to New York and Florida when we were children, and although Florida (Disney!) was so much fun, The Big Apple had a great impact on me, and on who I am today. I was only eight and was so infatuated with how grand it felt. I still remember seeing the reflection of my astonished face on the beautiful window displays. Back then, I clearly remember telling my father that one day I would have my own window display with my designs inside for everyone to admire.

What’s been your most memorable trip and why?

It is definitely my honeymoon trip to India in 2007. I had been to Mumbai a couple of times before that, but it was for quick modelling side jobs in my early twenties, so I never got to experience the richness of India. During my honeymoon, besides the wonderful experience of busy Mumbai and New Delhi, I visited Udaipur, Jaipur, and Agra. I got to meet the wonderful people of India, learnt more about their culture, indulged in their delicious food, visited their palaces, temples and lakes, walked in their colourful bazaars, and fed my soul with India’s beauty. Another trip that had an impact on me is a trip to Tokyo. I love the Japanese behaviour, it’s so respectful and considerate of other people.

Where or what is your escape?

With a business to run, a husband, and three young children, it’s impossible to find ‘me time’, but my favourite escape would be a relaxing massage in a seaside resort.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your travels?

I think travel has proven how important meeting with people from new places, and experiencing different cultures is for my growth. No matter how different we may seem, it never fails to amaze me how connected we all are.

If I could go anywhere tomorrow I’d go to:

The past few years have been very challenging for me, specifically with the trouble in Lebanon which is where I am based. I think therefore that the Maldives or Mauritius would be the most relaxing trip. I would spend it indulging in long massages, paddling, snorkelling, and water skiing. Another option I’d love would be a boutique, family-owned hotel nestled in an olive grove in Italy.

 

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How do you spend your ideal afternoon in your home city?

I live in my favourite neighbourhood, it’s called Achrafieh and is a five-minute walk from downtown Beirut. I cherish my early evening walks here. I don’t ever remember going for a walk without discovering a new pattern on a wall, an interesting building that I’ve never seen before, or even experiencing the smell of a new flower. I often end my walk with the best pizza or chocolate fondant at Bread Republic, a bakery, pizzeria and wine bar. It’s one of my favourite neighbourhood restaurants.

What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?

Like anyone, I enjoy going to a beautiful destination, but nothing feeds the soul like beautiful, warm people. So for me luxury is associated with warm service.

Where do you get your holiday inspiration?

I follow a few great travellers on Instagram, and I recently started following Citizen Femme which I find interesting for ‘me time’. I mainly travel with my family, so I also search for destinations that have experiences and activities that we can all enjoy.

If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – who would it be?

There are so many, but I would love to sit next to my father as he passed away unexpectedly when I was very young and I didn’t get to say goodbye. I would have loved to have tea with Queen Elizabeth II. I would also love to meet Daniel Roseberry – Creative Director of Schiaparelli.

How do you recover from jet lag?

I hardly ever get jet lag. I’m one of the lucky ones who can sleep on planes. On arrival, I usually have lots of liquids, a light meal, and an early night to carry on normally the following day.

Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time?

I spend it putting pen to paper, writing about my feelings and thoughts which is something I love to do. A delayed flight is an ideal situation for this.

Favourite Hotel?

The Oberoi Udaivilas in Udaipur is like a fairy tale. It’s so pretty, the service was fabulous and the food was great. More recently, I really enjoyed Chapung Sebali in Bali. Our suite was like a typical Bali home with the living and kitchen outside. Besides our private pool, I also loved having our own long goldfish pond. All of this was in the middle of a jungle, with occasional monkey visits.

 

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Favourite airline?

It depends on the destination, but the best flights I’ve had were on Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines. Their service is second to none and always come with a red-painted smile first and foremost.

What are your must-have travel picks?

Six must-haves are not enough as I need to have six pairs of shoes and six pieces of jewellery! I would choose a Salim Azam multipurpose dress that could be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion and the accessories I add to it. It’s also a taste of home. A Rabih Kayrouz multi-season coloured coat, which layered on top of any outfit is enough to give a total look. A pair of Amina Abdul Jalil Bow flat sandals; wonderful to walk in, but have an edge. My Mac Ruby Woo red lipstick, Nada Ghazal Baby Malak pinky ring which I never travel without. and my Urban cuffs which add glamour to any look.

Where next?

Kenya and Tanzania. I would love to experience a safari trip with the children and culminate it with a few relaxing days on a beach in Zanzibar.

FIRST THING THAT COMES TO YOUR MIND…

Hand-luggage essential?

My vanity pouch, a notebook, and a pencil.

Packing: roll or fold?

Fold.

Inflight book or inflight film?

I used to read a lot, but lately film.

Music or podcasts?

Music.

Time killer on a long-haul flight?

Writing, and watching romantic movies.

Holiday tipple of choice?

I’m a sake drinker.

Bucket list top destination(s)?

Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Korea, Brazil, China, and Iceland.

Best shopping gem found abroad?

A local kimono shop in Tokyo.

Beach or City?

I need a mix of both for a good balance.

Ultimate holiday treat?

A mix of adventure, beauty, and relaxation.

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