How I Travel: CEO of Functional Creative Design, Sarah A. Abdallah

WT Writer
Jan 3, 2021

As founder and CEO of Functional Creative Design, Sarah A. Abdallah has overseen the design of some of the world’s most iconic hotels. From her post-pandemic travel list to the trip that changed her life, here’s how she sees the world.

By nature, Sarah A Abdallah travels – a lot. Since starting her own company in 2014, Functional Creative Design has taken her around the world to bring design flair to the hospitality sector. Her studio is a collaborative multi-disciplinary studio based on design made up of form and function. But she brings warmth to modern designs by integrating sustainable concepts and local talent wherever she goes.

But what’s about when she’s not travelling for work? Sarah opens up on her favourite locations, go-to travel products and how she keeps herself busy on the road.

The first place on my post-pandemic travel list is…

Tulum in Mexico or Hurghada in Egypt. Although culturally different, both are on the beach and I find the ocean to be healing.

The future of travel will look like…

Forming pods with key friends or family that you can fly with. This will allow loved ones to share adventures while reducing the risks that come with socialising with others.

Design-wise, my favourite city is…

Tokyo, Japan. It’s extremely beautiful and inspiring in terms of style. Both it’s exterior and interior designs are really a designer’s dream come true.

ancient Mayan ruins temple of Tulum in Caribbean turquoise sea shore
Ancient Mayan ruins temple of Tulum in Caribbean turquoise sea shore. Credit | Istock

The thing I love most about travelling is…

Finding the less travelled road. I love looking and finding the best spots in town. I want to experience the country as a local, not as a tourist.

If you’re looking for a holiday with design flair, visit…

Egypt, Mexico, or Morocco. Each has beautiful architecture and amazing textiles.

The stamp in my passport I’m most proud of is…

Cairo, Egypt. It’s my home and it makes me smile to see the stamp in the passport.

I keep myself entertained when travelling by…

Exploring the local markets for textiles; searching for local artists that I can work with for future projects; and eating in well-regarded local restaurants.

How i travel shopping Sarah A. Abdallah
The products Sarah A. Abdallah always takes on the road.

To travel safely in style, you need…

A handful of cotton masks that match your wardrobe; a pair of Warby Parker sunglasses; and an all-natural hand sanitiser: Bergamot Pocket Hand Sanitizer is my favourite.

My top three well-designed hotels are…

Hotel Sanara Tulum has been designed with wellness in mind. The infinity rooftop pool at the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour in Australia has great views over the city. And for a more boutique-style, I love Casa Cook El Gouna, Egypt, which is right on The Red Sea.

It’s good to have a bucket list as…

It keeps your spirits high during these uncertain times and gets you excited about your next adventure.

Sanara breakfast coconut medium Sanara Hotel
Sanara breakfast coconut medium Sanara Hotel. Image | Supplied

When I travel, I pack…

Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum for my skin; Oribe Foundation Mist for my hair and a Moleskine notepad for journaling ideas.

The trip that changed my life was…

As part of my MA at NYU, I studied abroad, heading to Bethlehem, Palestine, to work with children affected by living in a war-torn environment. That trip changed my perspective on humanity.

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