The Bunny empire to begin expanding... Again

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The Independent Travel

Iconic adult entertainment brand Playboy is to open a second club in London as it begins to rebuild its international empire, it announced October 18.

The company will open a property in the swanky Mayfair area of London in the first half of 2011, featuring a restaurant, lounge, members' club, table games and gaming rooms.

It will also feature the brand's trademark Playboy Bunny hostesses, croupiers and cocktail servers.

It will be a return to London for a reinvigorated Playboy, which operated a casino on Park Lane from 1966 that was reportedly the most profitable casino in the world, until its closure in 1981.

Now, there is only a single Playboy Club at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, a far cry from over 30 clubs that it once operated around the world - although Playboy's founder Hugh Hefner says the company is seeing a resurgence.

Playboy plans to open new properties in Cancun, Mexico, Macao and South Beach, Miami in the near future.

"When we first opened the Playboy Club in London it was one of my favorite times for the brand," Hefner said in a statement.

"With Playboy now more popular than ever, I look forward to our return to London and again sharing the notions that are celebrated in the magazine, the concept of good food and drink, pretty girls, and exciting entertainment."

Playboy is the latest in a series of luxury brands that are marking their territory in London, which is seeing a resurgence as a popular destination for wealthy visitors from the Gulf and Russia.

Although the number of visitors to the city has fallen over the past decade, the amount spent has continued to rise - attracting retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Apple and Swarovski, who have all opened flagship stores this year.