According to Ben Pundole, inclusivity is the hot new thing.
The hospitality entrepreneur grew up watching his father—the owner and chef of a small English hotel—thoughtfully arrange his guests’ stays. That ignited Pundole’s own passion for travel, hotels and food.
Following an auspicious start at London's famed Groucho Club, he spent twenty years working in luxury hospitality with notable stints as manager of Met Bar and Lot 61 and, for over a decade, as vice president of entertainment for Morgans Hotel Group. He opened hipster haven Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk in 2010 and then accepted his current role as vice president of brand experience for Ian Schrager’s Marriott's Edition hotels. In 2013, Pundole also launched AHotelLife.com, an editorial website that acts as the trusted source for the creative traveler.
Despite professional commitments at all hours, Pundole is dedicated to his health. Here, he shares his new mantra for personal wellbeing:
Live The Process: What first drew to you hospitality and what keeps your passion alive?
Ben Pundole: When I was a child, my dad owned a small hotel in Norfolk, England. He was also the chef. I was immediately fascinated with how he would help curate guest weekends. I think a great hotel should be a transformative experience, helping the guests to become an enhanced, more exciting versions of themselves.
LTP: Since moving to Brooklyn and leaving the corporate business world behind, how has your approach to wellness shifted?
BP: Whether it's Brooklyn or elsewhere, corporate world or freelance, I think anyone can change his or her attitude towards wellness by simply making better choices. It's become my mantra; I apply it to everything and prioritize health, fitness and wellness over partying or gorging myself. It is important to distance yourself as much as possible from negative energy.
LTP: You finely curate your hotel spaces and still manage to cultivate, as you have called it, “an accessible and approachable nature.” How do you achieve that balance?
BP: In my opinion, inclusivity is the new exclusivity. I love to create environments that are welcoming to everyone. I think there should always be an interesting “hook”—whether it's a bar, lobby or website. There should always be a voice and a point of view.
LTP: What tips would you offer people who, like you, have careers with many social commitments and find it difficult to maintain their wellness focus?
BP: [Laughs.] It's not easy, but cut the booze and the hors d'oeuvres from cocktail parties! Try to sleep properly and for long enough, and juice—green juice—every day. I swear it's the answer.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
BP: It looks like balance; a holistic approach to physical, mental and spiritual health. It’s positive energy and gratitude, but all encompassed within New York’s reality, so mixed with ambition, cultural curiosity and a bit of party!
LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how do you do that every day?
BP: Firstly, I've become obsessed with knowing where my food comes from and insist on only putting good things in my body. Juicing is my jam, as well as yoga—I don’t practice fanatically, but I need it a few times a month to stay grounded and flexible. Above all, running is important to me, as it is not only great exercise, but is also incredibly meditative.