The world is a playground for Ben Pundole. As the founding editor of insider travel site A Hotel Life and a stalwart of the hospitality industry, the Londoner – who now calls New York home – knows a thing of two about travel. Having teamed up with hotelier and entrepreneur Ian Schrager early in his career, thanks to an introduction from Madonna, when he was running the infamous Met Bar at the Metropolitan Hotel in the ’90s, the pair have been disrupting the hotel game since – namely via all that EDITION Hotels have to offer. He’s also the brain behind Stay Plastic Free, an initiative aimed at reducing the amount of plastic pollution within the hotel industry.
As an Art Basel regular and someone who’s as much a fan of “wild hedonism” as he is keeping fit and eating healthy (who isn’t), Pundole is a man who’s well equipped to share his Miami tips. According to Pundole, the city can be “can be whatever you make it”. Here’s how you do exactly that.
What’s your favourite restaurant in Miami?
You’re spoiled for choice in this city, especially with Cuban food. Matador at the Miami Beach EDITION ticks a lot of boxes, Latin Caribbean sharing dishes by Jean Georges for a quick bite or a relaxed meal works every time.
What’s their best dish?
Avocado pizza with the special/secret recipe JG hot sauce that he never shares!
Where do you go when you’re feeling a bit fancy?
The Surf Club has such a wonderful art deco aura; it’s a great place to relax and take in the glamour of Miami.
Where would you take The Face for a Miami sunset tipple??
The Broken Shaker – incredible cocktails and great relaxed vibes.
And after sundown?
Basement at the Miami Beach EDITION, best DJ programming each year for Miami Art Week. This year Diplo, Idris Elba, Bedouin and Dimitri from Paris are all playing.
And when things go way past midnight?
Do Not Sit on the Furniture, it’s my favourite little club in Miami which also has a great DJ line up.
It’s day three of Basel, the hangover has well and truly hit. What’s your advice?
Escape to the Miami Beach Botanical Garden for a little peace and Basel reflection in nature.
What’s your favourite breakfast spot?
Juice and Java for healthy organic smoothies and breakfasts on Washington. Ssshhh!
Where do you go shopping?
During Miami Art Week, The Patricia Fields pop up always has amazing/cool designers, I love it … bonus, you’ll bump into party friends from all over the world spanning various decades.
Do you have a go-to gallery?
The Rubell Collection is always my favourite and the Perez Museum of Art is a must. This year Perez has an exhibition with Teresita Fernandez which I’ll be sure to stop by.
Where would you take someone on a first date in Miami during Basel (asking for a friend)?
Lonely Whale is setting up The Museum of Plastic for a sustainably consciously pop up for those wanting to learn more about ocean conservation. If he/she isn’t into being an environmentally conscious human then … it’s over.
What’s your best Miami advice?
Have an open mind … seriously. Miami is amazing … it’s “foreign” to a lot of tastes. It’s what makes it so weird and wonderful, the characters, the fashion, the wild history of the city … embrace it.
What is it about the city that keeps you coming back for more?
The melting pot of South/Central American, US and Euro art loving ravers. And the fact that Miami can be whatever you make it … the absolute pinnacle of wild hedonism or the healthiest, fittest few days of the year. Or, if you’re like me, a mix of both.