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Banyan Tree opens second resort in Laos

Singaporean hotelier is branching out into more exotic places to boost growth

A room at Banyan Tree's new resort in Laos.

SINGAPORE -- Banyan Tree Holdings has opened its second resort in Laos, as the Singaporean hotel and resort operator continues to look for ways to boost its profit with a mix of tried-and-true tourist destinations and exotic new locations.

Called Grand Luang Prabang, the resort was known as The Grand Luang Prabang Hotel & Resort under its previous owner. The company's existing Laotian resort, the Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel, was opened in 2005 as part of its Angsana brand.

Banyan Tree's latest addition has a total of 75 rooms and suites, and is the former royal residence of Prime Minister Prince Phetsarath Ratanavongsa. It features French colonial architecture with Laotian motifs. It is located along the banks of the Mekong River and is just a 15-minute drive from Luang Pabang International Airport. The resort is currently offering rooms from $140 a night.

Banyan Tree's latest move in the Southeast Asian country comes after Singapore and Laos signed a treaty -- which went into effect early this year -- aimed at averting the problem of double taxation. The agreement makes it easier for companies to do business in both countries.

Though the Laotian economy is still in the early stages of development, the country is attracting a growing number of companies hoping to tap its growth potential. InterContinental Hotels Group, for example, recently opened the 197-room Crowne Plaza Vientiane hotel there.

Banyan Tree has been working hard to grow its brand and offset lower occupancy rates in Asia, its main market. It has been looking beyond Asia, opening hotels in such locations as Cuba, Turkey and Morocco. Earlier this year, it announced the opening of its first resort hotel in Cuba under its new Dhawa brand.

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