Go Away With … Kolo’s Peter Dunn

Photo courtesy Kolo

By Jae-Ha Kim
October 12, 2010

As the co-founder and CEO of Kolo — a line of colorful photo albums designed to maintain archival-quality photos without breaking the bank — Peter Dunn loves to travel, even though one-third of his year is spent on the road for business. A resident of Connecticut, Dunn uses websites to hunt down good travel bargains when he goes away to places like Italy and Hong Kong.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; I love skiing and being outdoors. The entire experience of skiing in the Italian Alps is perfect to me. The mountains there are beautiful and the food — as in all of Italy — is wonderful. Small slope-side restaurants allow you to enjoy the outdoors and the unique Italian Alps atmosphere.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Berlin is probably my favorite city to visit. It has a rich art community and a great energy to it. Since it is still relatively cheap to live there, there are lots of independent shop owners, galleries, bars and cafes. I also love Tokyo, Rome, New York and Shanghai.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Cape Cod. I have been going to the Cape since I was a small boy. The National Seashore is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s a national treasure. Close enough to home to make it accessible while being a total escape at the same time.

Q. What are your favorite hotels and restaurants?

A. I’m pretty frugal and I use Hotwire to stay at good hotels for a value. I’m rarely disappointed since the reviews from other customers are pretty accurate. All employees at Kolo stay at the same level hotel, so we compete with each other to find great values.

One of my favorite restaurants is in Hong Kong that local friends introduced to me while I was living there. It is a very casual place called Fat Kee Seafood Restaurant in Sai Kung in the New Territories. It’s about a half-hour drive from Kowloon and Hong Kong. Like most places in Hong Kong, you choose your own fish while they’re still swimming in the tanks. It doesn’t get any fresher than that. There’s a great place for Chinese desserts in Sai Kung, too, called Honeymoon Desserts. They serve amazing exotic fresh fruit desserts like mint green banana pancakes and a vanilla sauce with fresh mango and dragon fruit.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. An iPod, a Canon camera, my MacBook and my Patagonia Black Hole Bag. The bag is indestructible. I also bring my Kolo Essex Travel Book.

Q. What is your best or worst vacation memory?

A. Best memory was a 10-day vacation in Paris with my wife on our first wedding anniversary. That is the way to visit Paris. Stay there for about a week. The worst memory was on a ferryboat ride while backpacking in Europe when I was right out of college. While going from Crete to Santorini, the entire boat of a 100 people got seasick. It was four hours of pure torture. I thought I was going to die. I’ll never forget it.

Q. How do you try to fit in when you’re a tourist?

A. In Europe it’s pretty easy. In Asia it’s a lot tougher. In Tokyo, for example, I wear a suit and tie. I feel like a slob if I don’t. I go with the business attire most of the time. But I’m of Irish descent and 6-foot-2, so I still stand out.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?

A. I try to fit a lot into trips. I mostly travel for business, about 100 days a year. On those rare occasions that I have time for R&R while traveling, I use websites like Virtual Tourist. It is a good standby with lots of tips from other travelers for good hotels, restaurants and the most fun neighborhoods to stay in.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. Brazil. I love Brazilian music. I plan to open up the South American market for Kolo over the next year or so. I also want to visit Istanbul. Those are the next two on the list.

© 2010 JAE-HA KIM


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