Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Ben Pundole, vice president of brand experience at EDITION Hotels, always knew he wanted to work in hospitality. His father owned a hotel in the countryside, and he got his start at the Groucho Club during what was to be his “gap year,” which turned into four because he enjoyed it so much. Since then, for the past 19 years, Pundole has been working on strategies with Ian Schrager to exude a cohesive sophisticated-meets-cheeky attitude through all EDITION hotels.
Whitewaller spoke with Pundole about what makes The London EDITION an international destination, and where he likes to go when he’s in town.
WHITEWALLER: How do you feel art influences the brand experience?
BEN PUNDOLE: You cannot have a brand experience without art. Art to me is anything that appeals to the senses, and that can be through music, scent, through something visually appealing—whether it be design or art—as well as in a conventional sense like the taste of food and cocktails. It’s all art in some sense.
WW: How do you feel EDITION is changing the world of hospitality?
BP: EDITION is offering luxury in the true sense that it offers incredible service, comfort, and convenience but at the same time is exciting and always has a sense of place. Even though each EDITION is similar in attitude, it is very different in its execution, which depends on its location, therefore creating the EDITION magic.
WW: Tell us a bit about the brand’s dedication to being plastic-free.
BP: The hotel and travel industry are big plastic polluters. EDITION took the initiative to go as plastic-free as possible, with the aim to become an industry leader and, hopefully, inspire and influence other brands to do the same.
WW: The award-winning Punch Room at The London EDITION is quite a special place. Last time we spoke, you mentioned that it has become a successful sub-brand and is opening in the upcoming EDITION hotels in Shanghai, Barcelona, Reykjavik, and Tokyo. Tell us a bit about its creation, and why it adds to the brand’s experience in London.
BP: Punch was originally drunk by sailors at sea traversing the world’s oceans. It incorporates tea from one region, spices from another, and spirits from other regions, so it is a real global melting pot of a cocktail and a fun way to share. Punch is also extremely British, so we thought it would be very appropriate for The London EDITION. Thankfully, Punch Room has been very successful and well received in London, so we decided to roll it out to other hotels including Shanghai, Barcelona, and Tokyo.
WW: The hotel also offers Berners Tavern and the Lobby Bar—both big hits in London as well. But what makes The London EDITION unique?
BP: The London EDITION is a landmark building dating back to 1909 with a lot of history, beautiful architecture, and incredibly high ceilings and moldings. To add to that, the genius of Ian Schrager’s design eye and Jason Atherton’s food creates something very special, and that’s what we like to call the EDITION magic!
WW: What are some of your favorite places to go to see art, and eat and drink, while in London?
BP: Blain Southern gallery is one of my favorites, and I always love to see what’s going on at the Tate Modern. My favorite bar, other than Punch Room, is Satan’s Whiskers. And you can’t beat Indian food in London, so Gymkhana is probably my favorite.