LUANG PRABANG, Laos —Luang Prabang's Villa Maly and its upstream sister property, Kamu Lodge Experience, welcomed a new general manager last week as parent company Apple Tree Group put Axel de Boynes in charge of the group’s Laotian hospitality properties from Feb. 14.
Since 2009, the group has also operated a lunch and dinner cruise on the Mekong River, the Nava Mekong.
Boynes has more than 16 years of hospitality experience with luxury properties in Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
A graduate of the Francois-Rabelais University of Tours in his native France, Boynes began his career as Deputy Director of Guest Services at Le Meridien Etoile in Paris, before moving on to an Executive Housekeeper position at Le Meridien Beach Plaza in Monte Carlo.
After stints at five-star properties Le Touessrok in Mauritius and the Sheraton Doha in Qatar, Boynes relocated to Thailand to take on the role of resident manager at the akyra Chura Samui, where he oversaw the resort’s development and launch in June 2011.
Since arriving early in 2012 as operations manager for Apple Tree Group in Laos, Boynes has leveraged his considerable expertise toward raising the profile of the group's Laotian properties among travellers and within the industry.
The anchoring villa at Villa Maly was built in 1938 by His Royal Highness Khamtan Ounkham, a grandson of King Kham Souk Zakarine, and the first of his seven wives, Queen Pheng. The property was restored and re-opened as a 33-room heritage hotel by Apple Tree Group in 2007.
Kamu Lodge Experience is a 20-room eco-resort located 35 kilometers upstream from Luang Prabang. Each lodge is a hybrid affair, part-safari tent and part-thatched sala. Solar panels power lights and fans, and heat water for hot showers. The lodge celebrates an earthy, authentic experience reminiscent of the Laos that greeted famed explorer Henri Mouhot when he traveled through the region in the 1860s.