Ian Pullan, InterContinental Boston
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We spoke recently with Ian Pullan, the General Manager for the InterContinental Boston Hotel, a four-Diamond luxury hotel in the heart of the city. We talked with Ian about his career, Irish background, marathon dreams and thoughts about Boston.
You’ve had a distinguished career managing some of the leading hotel brands in the world. What does it mean to come to Boston and preside over one of the region’s finest hotels?
It is a dream come true both personally and professionally. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is a leading international luxury brand with a significant emphasis on Responsible Business, a subject also very close to my heart. The InterContinental Boston is one of the flagships for our company. We have a world class team constantly pushing the envelope on unique and innovative ways of taking care of our guests and personalizing their stays. Every day is different given the diversity and caliber of our clientele and I have already met many wonderful people. For me, personally, it is nice to be so much closer to Ireland. My wife is from Southern California, so it a perfect half way point. Schooling is excellent here. I have three children, two of whom will go into High School shortly. It is a perfect place to finally settle down.
You graduated from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology with a degree in hotel management. Can you share the key lesson about hospitality you learned at school?
Definitely, it was getting a base knowledge of the practical and business elements of hotels. I dig into this ‘tool box’ on a regular basis. Having a pragmatic, common sense approach has helped me a lot adjusting to different jurisdictions and cultures. While studying Hotel Management, I worked in England, France and the U.S….this really tweaked my love of travel and I have not stopped since!
The Irish excel in the hospitality industry, where some of the best Irish characteristics – friendliness, wit, discretion and diligence – come in to play.
It is the reason why Ireland’s tourism industry has flourished for so many years. Hospitality is a dominant part of our DNA. I would also add sincerity and humility to this list. Since my first job at Fitzpatrick’s Shannon Shamrock at the age of sixteen, I would not consider doing anything else. I consider myself very fortunate that I get to live and work in some of the most beautiful parts of the world, meet tremendous people, experience different cultures and learn something new every day.
You’re a marathon runner, and now you’re in Boston, home of the nation’s oldest marathon, held in 1897. Any plans to run Boston at some point?
I have run marathons in Hawaii, Los Angeles and Vancouver (twice). Running the Boston Marathon is definitely on my list, hopefully 2015. In the meantime, I live very close to Walden Pond where the famous writer Henry David Thoreau spent time. It is a very inspiring place to run every weekend.
Growing up in Ennis, County Clare, must have given you a true appreciation of Irish culture, which flourishes around these parts. Have you had a chance to check out any Irish activities in the Boston area?
Between Celtic music and hurling, it was certainly a passionate and driven place to grow up. The first six months have been fairly hectic with the new job and getting my family settled. Exploring what Boston has to offer is definitely in the cards this summer.
The InterContinental is at the entry to Boston’s Seaport District, which has a robust innovation economy and a bustling restaurant, cultural and social scene. How do you envision the hotel being part of this emerging scene in the coming months and years?
Our hotel is one of the jewels in the crown of the ‘Innovation District’ and along the burgeoning Fort Point Channel. It is exciting to see how this area has recently blossomed with so much more already under development or planned for the next few years. Our location has quickly become the most desirable in Boston and the hotel has evolved into an urban resort during the summer, offering a host of activities such as complimentary yoga on the waterfront. We have wonderful outdoor waterfront restaurants, bars and spaces - Miel, Rumba and Sushi Teq - all within walking distance of everything in the city. We are situated on the site where the historic Boston Tea Party took place with state-of-the-art technology and stunning modern architecture and design. This allows us to offer a unique ‘bridge’ for visitors to experience Boston’s past, present and future.
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