Nadia Issadeen

In conversation with Ashwini Vethakan


Born in


Alma mater

Methodist College

Family members

My mom (Aneesa), husband (Thisara) and our fur babies (Cairo and Whiskey)

Wanted to be

A politician – I grew up in a family involved in politics and thought it was very exciting


A hotelier – I love meeting people, travelling and writing

Started as a hotelier

In 2012 – and it has been one of my best decisions by far


A Baleno

Would like to drive

It doesn’t matter as long as it has four wheels, a loud horn and gets me from point A to point B

Moments you would like to go back to

The evenings – I played the piano and my dad would sit down to listen, request a few songs and then listen to vinyl records. I’d do anything to relive those moments… I miss him terribly

Best advice received

“Be independent. Learn to stand on your own (two) feet and never be afraid to speak the truth” (my dad)


Likes to play

The piano, Scrabble and chess

Likes to watch

Friends, Chuck and House Hunters

Most unforgettable event

When my husband proposed – he adorned an entire suite with lilies (my favourite flower) and curated a menu with my favourite food

Most forgettable event

It’s forgotten

Purpose in life

A chance to be the best version of yourself


Mantra to unwind

Playing the piano

Most hated chore

Changing the duvet cover – I hate it with a passion

Impressed by


Favourite place

Derby in England – where I lived for nearly 10 years for my studies and work


Listening to music – mostly vinyl records (my dad was a collector and I have around 4,000 in all) 

Pet peeves


What you think about when you’re in the car

Food (I love food!) and coffee

Items on your bucket list for the next six months

Learn Spanish (I’m trying!) and travel within Sri Lanka because there are so many magnificent places to see 

Items on the bucket list following retirement

Build a small villa in Kegalle and spend a couple of months in Italy

Three must-haves

My mobile phone, pets and passport

What you would like to have

The freedom to travel again – other than that, I’m quite content with what I have

The most romantic thing anyone has done for you

My boyfriend patiently waited outside my house for an entire day to make sure he was around if I needed to talk or a hug… I think he slept in his car that day

What led to this?

I lost my dad on New Year’s Eve four years ago. The days leading up to it were the worst and I shut everyone out especially since it’s a day of celebration and fireworks for the rest

Your reaction

I had no idea until much later but it beat all other romantic gestures… and he’s my husband now

A little-known fact about you

I can play six or seven instruments


Days of the week

Monday, Friday and Sunday 



Work wear

Business suit

Leisure wear

Mostly casual dresses


Coach and Buddhi Batiks


Coffee, red wine and whiskey

Local holiday destinations

Santani Resort and Spa in Kandy, Anantara Kalutara Resort and my grandparents’ home in Kegalle

Overseas holiday destinations

Poland, Spain and Turkey

Chill out spots

The Bayleaf, Capital Bar & Grill and London House of Coffee 

Restaurants to dine in

The Bayleaf, The Gallery Café and Golden Dragon


Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant


You’ve Got Mail, Pride & Prejudice and Bridget Jones’s Diary


Paulo Coelho, Haruki Murakami and Jane Austen

Favourite quote from a movie

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces” (Bridget Jones’s Diary)


It reminds me that life is never a bed of roses – Somewhere, the good and bad tend to balance out

Favourite international civil servant

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – the first elected female head of state in Africa

Sirleaf’s legacy

Her non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women’s rights, and political journey – her story is quite inspiring and interesting (nepotism excluded!)

Obsessed with

Travelling – I love travelling and exploring different parts of the world

The reason you enjoy travelling

Learning about cultures, cuisines and meeting different people – it’s all such a wonderful experience

Likely retirement destination

Sri Lanka – there’s no place like home 


When you dance, you look like…

Somewhat like an idiot

The first thing you notice when meeting someone

Eye contact

You know it’s going to be a bad day when…

Your general manager says: “Let’s discuss this first thing tomorrow.”

You’re challenged by

A pre-opening hotel or property – it’s such a massive task and an adrenaline rush 

Children are…

Not my cup of tea

The best thing about working in communications is…

Meeting new people and writing – I love writing about the brand, products and services 

Colombo in a few words

Busy, dusty and vibrant

Sri Lanka in a few words

Island home

The world is…

A complicated place


Memory skills on a scale of 0 to 10


Computer ability in one word


Most productive in the morning, noon or night


A leader or follower by nature


Cook or foodie


Quality or quantity


The glass is half full or half empty  

Half full 

Work or play after retirement


The most delightful term you can think of

‘Thank you’ 

Do you consider yourself to be a student or teacher?

A student – I love learning anything new

A technology that you think will transform the future

People reincarnated through AI 

Your most used word or phrase

‘A pigeon learns faster’ 

Work out preferences

A glass of wine in each hand (that counts, doesn’t it?) 

Role model

My dad – he was direct, loyal and always grateful for everything he had. He taught me to be independent and always speak up, never hold back and appreciate what you have 

Yourself in a few words

Straightforward and fun

Motto in life

Dance like there’s nobody watching

Nadia is the Marketing Communications Manager at Mövenpick Hotel Colombo