The Coolest Hotel Creative Director on Supportive Moms and Work-Life Balance

Gabriella Khalil may have one of the most coveted jobs in the hospitality industry. She is the creative director of the Palm Heights Hotel and Garden Spa in the Cayman Islands, a 52-suite hotel inspired by ’70s-era Caribbean luxury with antique pieces sourced from Paris, furniture by Marcel Breuer, and North African textiles. Khalil, who studied in London at Sotheby’s Institute and graduated with a master’s in contemporary art, has managed to make the highly stylized oasis a destination for the fashion industry, including familiar names like Raul Lopez of the LVMH Prize–nominated Luar, Emily Ratajkowski, and Vogue cover star Paloma Elsesser.

On top of juggling a profession that takes her from Grand Cayman to New York and London, Khalil is also a mother of a five-year-old, Grace. Like many mothers, she’s received a crash course in time management since having kids. “As my daughter has gotten a bit older, I have realized the importance of separation between [my work and personal life]. So now when I am working, I am very aware of those hours and aim to get as much done within that time as possible, rather than in the past where I would work the whole weekend and not think twice,” says Khalil. 

Motherhood has also led to Khalil refining her personal style, which includes a more streamlined approach to shopping and getting dressed. Khalil finds herself buying more wardrobe staples. “Motherhood has also made me buy better classic pieces rather than trends because in general I have less time,” she says. Some favorite labels include The Row, Toteme, and, of course, her Palm Heights Athletics sweats.  Below, see what Khalil has to say about her growth as a woman, her personal style, and more.