For our third “Further Thoughts” installment, we heard from Ben Pundole, who, as the editor in chief of the online travel magazine A Hotel Life and vice president of brand experience at Edition Hotels by Ian Schrager and Marriott, is an influential figure in the contemporary travel industry. In the 2018 Transformation Issue of Directions, he spoke about his own recent personal evolution and how his rising sense of awareness has led him to make important changes across his working life.
“I know it’s quite a cliché, but just before I turned 40, I decided to change a few things in my life. I started seeing this amazing life coach Gestalt therapist, and this led me to dive into spirituality and literature, sound healing, meditation, as well as all the fun stuff, Burning Man and ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru and so on, and I started to become a lot more conscious of what was happening around me and in the world.
“I’ve just reached a point where the lights were switched on, and I’ve realized I have a responsibility.” Ben Pundole
“And this four-year journey of inner adventure and exploration led to me changing the way I work. With Edition Hotels, we’ve made a commitment to take single-use plastics out of all of our hotels, and with A Hotel Life, we’re about to relaunch to include one charitable or philanthropic cause every week. Because I’ve just reached a point where the lights were switched on, and I’ve realized I have a responsibility. I started out one way, and now I’m a vegan animal rights activist and environmentalist.
“More broadly, I think there’s an evolution happening, and a lot of it’s in contrast to the crazy political state of the world right now, but this idea of transformative hospitality is the future of the hotel industry. Because I think we’re going to see a generation emerge very quickly who make their choices based on the impact it has on the environment, on themselves, and on the world around them.”
The preceding is excerpted from an article in the 2018 edition of Directions, the magazine by Design Hotels—more than 200 pages of vividly illustrated travel content by leading writers, photographers, illustrators, and designers. Buy it here for €10 or get a complimentary copy when you order the 2018 Design Hotels Book.