Do what you love and the money will come—this sound advice is what Andrew Dunn, founder of multi-awarded luxury travel company Scott Dunn, followed when he was in his twenties. An avid skier, Dunn started out with what he knew well, crafting ski holidays for clients primarily from the U.K. and operating ski chalets such as the stylish Chalet Shar Pei (shown above).
"A ski company’s success is often completely dependent on the snow conditions. I learned very quickly that I would have to offer something totally different to encourage guests to still want to book a luxury ski holiday when the conditions were less than perfect," says Dunn.
This led to the establishment of Scott Dunn in 1986, which focuses on tailor-made luxury travel with an emphasis on personalised service. "The level of service was so important in those early days. Little things such as offering guests a wakeup call service with a cup of tea, taking their skis down to the lift, and making the chalet a luxurious ‘home from home’ made us stand apart," says Dunn about how he carved out this niche more than 30 years ago.
Today, Scott Dunn operates worldwide—creating and curating myriad travel experiences from wellness-centric retreats to "last chance travel" itineraries like trips to Antartica and the Great Barrier Reef. Fresh from opening his new Asia office in Singapore, we caught up with Dunn to find out where his wanderlust will take him next.
We recently took over a Riad in Marrakech to celebrate my sister’s 50th birthday. We had the birthday dinner in the Medina, on a roof overlooking Marrakech, watching acrobats and listening to Berber drummers. This was followed by a horse-drawn carriage ride back to the Riad. The next day some of us went quad-biking at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, while others took part in a fantastic treasure hunt through the souks.
I'm going on holiday to Hossegor in France, which is a big surf territory. Surfing is something I’ve really got into recently.
What do you love most about travelling?
A great joy of travelling is food. I still recall being in Barbados when I was 13 years old. It was very hot, my sister was ill, but what I really remember is tasting suckling pig for the first time. It has always stuck with me.
Most memorable travel experience?
I went to Iguazu Falls in Brazil with my family when no one else was around. I’ll never forget the way all our senses were invigorated.
And the worst?
A summer in France when I got horrendous food poisoning. What made it worse was that it hit just as I boarded the ferry to go back home, which also happened to be one of the roughest crossings I’ve ever experienced.
One place you’d visit over and over again?
St. Anton is one of my favourite places—it's beautiful, a great centre for off-piste skiing and has a well-deserved reputation for fun.
Three things you always travel with:
It’s worth learning the art of packing light, although there are a few things I prioritise including high-quality headphones and, if on a beach holiday, a really good snorkel and mask.
Favourite travel companion?
That would have to be my wife, Jane.
Aisle or window seat?
At 6 foot 4 inches, it’s got to be an aisle seat for me.
Your best travel tip...
It’s important to get the balance right between relaxation and adventure, and you need to be honest about what’s the right mix for you. I tend to go for three parts activity to one part beach.
Any tips on overcoming jet lag?
I always try to have a massage after I land. It’s a great thing to do after all that tiring travelling and instantly puts you in a holiday mood.
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