NEW YORK—A new year brings the start of healthy habits and ideas, with many hotel brands launching new programming and offerings to care for and cater to guests. One brand in particular, Edition Hotels—a brand collaboration with Marriott—is introducing its own vision for wellness and environmental stewardship to properties in London, Miami, New York and Sanya, China, through a number of partnerships and initiatives.
Serving as the catalyst for change at the property level, Ben Pundole, Edition’s VP of brand experience, was influenced by his own path—he adopted a vegan diet, devoted time to meditating and practicing yoga—and saw a prime opportunity to bring his interest in wellness and compassion for the environment to his role at Edition Hotels.
“In keeping with the global trend of wellness, my own personal journey has taken me to a mixture of interests and some of those translate well into our programs with the hotels. We have a wonderful, sophisticated community of people who like staying at Edition and eating in the restaurants and bars. I noticed those people are also open to wellness, fitness and nutrition in one way or another,” said Pundole. “It was something we weren’t providing to the extent we could.”
With a spark of an idea and a foundation already set by its current offerings, Pundhole set about forging new partnerships that would align with the brand’s expanding core philosophy around whole living. The result is a series of fitness amenities for guests led by Yoga for Bad People, which includes on-demand yoga videos and yoga retreats with sound healing; healthy elixirs by Los Angeles-based Moon Juice for minibars and room service items; and work with Parley for the Oceans to target specific environmental issues, such as removing the use of plastics from all of the hotels; and beach cleanups. Pundole noted that, eventually, they’d also like to discontinue the use of plastics in bath amenities and in the bars and kitchens.
“We are working on taking the plastic straws out of all of the bars and restaurants, and we recently found a bamboo solution at an affordable price so we’re working on that right now. It all just seems to make sense. We have a responsibility to ourselves and the environment,” he said. “At some point, you have to be part of the solution and not the problem. If we can take plastics out, why wouldn’t we? It’s a better solution that is sustainable and nonthreatening to the environment, and similarly, our bodies. I didn’t become vegan for health, but for the cattle and diary impact on the environment. Edition is a luxury lifestyle hotel brand and there’s that level of sophistication; they want to know they’re doing good for themselves and their environment.”
In an industry where there is a strong desire to install a sense of place, Pundole sees these new brand partnerships as a way to help guests establish a sense of self and a place in the world.
“When it comes to lifestyle hotels, people used to want design. It was all about design. And then very quickly it was about food and beverage, then it was nightlife. I’ve been working with Ian Schrager for 17 years and we led the way with boutique hotels. People wanted the experiential part of the lifestyle hotel stay. They expected great food and this whole idea of your stay being experiential—now the next wave is transformative hospitality. They want great F&B, a great party and something good for themselves and the environment. It’s very socially leveling. It’s not about money, it’s about mindset.”