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Checking In: Ben Pundole’s Keeping the Hospitality Industry Connected

Ben Pundole, the Vice President of brand experience at EDITION Hotels, is regularly inspired by travel. Those that follow him on Instagram know his dynamic love for the hospitality industry—from the spaces that you sleep in to the restaurants you dine in; from the cities to the people.

But right now, amid the pandemic lockdown, we’re unable to explore much outside our own spaces. Pundole isn’t letting that stop him, though. On his travel company’s Instagram, A Hotel Life, he’s escaping that idea and welcoming others in the culture and lifestyle sector to join him in conversation.

Harry's Bar

Courtesy of Harry’s Bar.

So far, he’s hosted Instagram Live discussions with people like Eduardo Castillo, Founder of Habitas; Josh Wyatt, CEO of Neuehouse; and the legendary pioneer of the boutique hotels (and his mentor-meets-boss), Ian Schrager. The discussions have encompassed topics on the mind of many right now, such as how these individuals are dealing with the current health crisis, and the future of hospitality and travel.

Whitewall spoke with Pundole to hear more about this, and what’s keeping him inspired.

Miami Beach EDITION

Courtesy of the Miami Beach EDITION.

WHITEWALL: How are you doing?

BEN PUNDOLE: That’s a huge question. I switch between, “I’m healthy and positive and grateful” to “What the hell is going on? I’m devastated!” and “How can I help?” A rollercoaster of emotions, but also time to re-think and re-set.

Courtesy of the Shanghai EDITION.

WW: What are you listening to, reading, watch?

BP: Currently listening to a Soundcloud mix by Wai, “Peaceful Guitars”—very calming. Not something I’d usually listen to, but wow.

The Residences at the West Hollywood EDITION

The Residences at The West Hollywood EDITION.

WW: What are you cooking?  

BP: Everything. First time in my life I’ve cooked three meals a day at home. My fiancée, Tansy, is a better cook than me, but my veggie lentil curry has made a few appearances.

The London EDITION

Photo by Nikolas Koenig
Courtesy of EDITION Hotels

WW: How are you staying connected?

BP: BBC and The Guardian for news. Various WhatsApp groups for staying in touch with friends and Tiger King conspiracy theories. Oh, and memes. Levity is important at times like this. I’ve been FaceTiming friends a lot around the world and with my family. It’s been really nice to have the time to connect.

Ben Pundole

The New York EDITION
Photo by Nikolas Koenig
Courtesy of EDITION Hotels

WW: How are you staying creative? Are you able to work on projects at this time?

BP: I’m still working on future projects with EDITION. We’re launching in Tokyo later this year, which is very exciting. I’ve started an Instagram Live series on A Hotel Life, conversations with friends in the hotel/hospitality worlds. Been brainstorming creative ideas with friends and journaling for the first time. And don’t laugh…dancing. I put my headphones on and dance for 15 to 20 minutes once a day.

Ben Pundole

Courtesy of EDITION Hotels.

WW: Where are you finding hope or inspiration?

BP: I’m blown away by the cultural, digital offerings from people. From yoga and workout classes; from cooking and cocktails expos to live discussions with fascinating people. Fashion designers teaching people how to make face masks… Even my friends’ kids going live on Instagram teaching us how to be more mindful humans.

I’m inspired by the hospitality industry that’s been ruined. How restaurants, bars, and nightclubs are innovating to raise money for staff. Look out for House of YES TV. It’s a very strange and scary time, but from it comes generosity and creativity that I’ve never seen before.



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