Up and Close with the Pitons at Ladera

Ladera had been on my bucket list for a while. I had seen enough images on Pinterest, and read enough descriptions on cntraveler to realize that this would be one of those hotel splurges when we would finally plan our trip to St. Lucia.

Well THAT day was finally here… our trip was scheduled for late March, right before the tourist rush of the Caribbean (April – June). This also seemed the perfect time to escape the brutal NYC winter that (seemingly) drags on forever…getting pummeled with a series of snow stormsย  is no fun. But once we stepped afoot the tropical paradise of St. Lucia, winter seemed like a distant reality ๐Ÿ˜‰

A sight for sore eyes – landing in St Lucia

We flew from NYC into the main airport for St. Lucia – Vieux Fort (UVF-Hewanorra Intl.)ย St. Lucia has two airports, but UVF has the most international flights from USA, Europe and other islands in the area. All major US carriers fly in to UVF with 1 stop (mostly Miami, FL or Charlotte, NC); Jet Blue has several direct flights from NYC as well.

Hotel transfers to (and from) the airport are included in the Ladera room fare, and the concierge had confirmed our flight details ahead of time. The hotel representative was waiting for us at the arrivals lounge just past the immigration check. We hopped into our comfortable ride and were off to the resort!

An interesting observation on our drive…Google maps shows distances (and time) as a straight road to the hotel (16km) but in fact, the roads wind up/down and around the mountainous path(s) and take so much longer, roughly 45min to the hotel. Well, google maps wasn’t exactly helpful on this island…

Located just outside Soufriere on a hilltop, Ladera Resort boasts incredible views of the lush green Pitons and the deep blue Caribbean sea. The resort itself feels like a rain forest filled with lots of colorful flowers, humming birds and trees laden with fruit. We were greeted at the Gazebo with a (very) tropical grapefruit drink to cool down. But honestly, the heat (82 F) and humidity just felt so wonderful, that we were just itching to go lay in the sun!

After an easy check in we were escorted to our room, an upgraded suite that I could not wait to see! ๐Ÿ™‚ With a spring in our step, and big smiles slapped across our faces, we followed Melissa (from the concierge) up the slope, and up the stairs to a wooden (hut) structure, and then she turned the key …and opened the door… whoa – what an incredible sight! ๐Ÿ™‚

We stared open mouthed at the view from our suite – just perfect!

Ladera has 32 suites that are all missing one important feature; an entire fourth wall! With their enviable location on the island, there is simply no “bad view” from any of the rooms. They’re all just as perfect. The open wall concept offers the best of a true “glamping” experience.ย 

All suites at Ladera also have a private plunge pool; different sizes based on suite and may be located at the front, or back of the room. Our suite was named “Gros Piton”, and had a plunge pool right in the front. We would lounge in the pool and peer over the stone edge overlooking lush green foliage cascading down into the valley towards the open sea…

The room had the most spectacular view of St. Luciaโ€™s famous Piton Mountains, with powder white Sugar Beach nestled in the middle, dotted with picturesque yachts and sailing boats. We spent our evenings watching the sunset, mesmerized by this breathtaking view that seemed to change ever so slightly at different times of the day.

The bathroom window

The “wall-less” side of the roomย  is framed on either side by wooden partitions covered with vines that conveniently (and very strategically) block out the neighbors, offering complete privacy! Surprisingly, we only heard voices for only a few min during our 5 day stay.

wooden structures on either side offer complete privacy

The rooms themselves are built from local St. Lucian stone and timber, prepared and hand-carved on site. The room has tall vaulted ceilings, wooden floors, and wood-paneled walls and columns.

The “bedroom” of our suite was on an elevated floor with a wooden dresser and a large cupboard. The enormous four poster bed was covered with gauzy net and dressed in crisp white linens. The elevation was great since it offered a beautiful view of the stars at night, and also kept the area dry from rainfall. (This part of the mountainous island gets heavy rainfall almost every morning).

(Note: Each suite is different, and we saw that some of them had the bed placed on the back of the room that offered even more privacy but may end up being stuffy at night without the breeze)

The other side of the room is lined with shuttered windows, letting in a cool breeze throughout the day. The (shuttered) windows look out to the jungle and the hills.

Looking out through the window shutters on the opposite side

Some of the Tripadvisor reviews had stated that the rooms seemed “dated” with heavy use of wood and local tile, but we felt it added more to the rustic charm of the place adding to its appeal (if you’re looking for more modern architecture, this may not be for you!) The hotel is over two decades old and has won a number of awards throughout the years for its luxury eco-tourism. They have continued to renovate through the years by adding new suites (suites at paradise), gym and a spa; and we saw several additional rooms in progress down the end of the property.

The bathroom was semi-outdoors, where the sink looked out to the window and the colorful mosaic tiled shower had a thatched roof. Stocked with plush towels and molton brown accessories, the bathroom had all the luxuries of the modern world and none of those camping “challenges” one has to endure!

The open wall room offers the most romantic and unobstructed view of the Pitons, but it also means that there is no air-conditioning… and you must share the room with other inhabitants of the jungle namely, mosquitoes, birds, and tiny tree frogs! ๐Ÿ˜€

Especially at night…Don’t mind me dear frog as I brush my teeth! AND in the morning…no angry bird, no food for you in this room!

The location of the resort along with the clever design of the room ensures cool trade winds throughout the day (and night), and we were quite comfortable without the air conditioning. In fact, it (almost) got a bit cold at night.

As for the jungle sounds and sights… it was magical to hear the chirping crickets and croaking tree frogs as you stared at the starlit sky through gauzy netting of the canopied bed. Dreamy, magical and surreal! โค

(For you light sleepers, there are ear plugs and an eye-mask provided in the basket on the dresser!)

Beyond the Suite
Ok! so enough of the room …what else can you do? While it will be hard to pry you out of your suite, the resort offers much more to do and several other places to lounge…and the best part, you don’t have to sacrifice the view! ๐Ÿ˜€
Thereโ€™s a small spa and fitness room, a hot tub, and a pool perched high on a cliff perfect for sunset viewing and a happy hour drink!
Relax in the hot tub and enjoy your moment of Zen in cascading “tubs” of hot water in a very tropical setting
We discovered our favorite spot at the bar at Dasheen restaurant. It isn’t hard for you to guess why once you see these pics.
Dasheen is the resort’s restaurant with three levels. The executive chef Nigel Mitchel offers a delicious menu of a mix of St. Lucian dishes and other regular fare spiced up with native ingredients. The result is truly delicious! We ate several meals here and while finding it a bit pricey (relative to other restaurants), never once regretted a single item!
The breakfast is included in the suite room cost, and included a lovely spread with the local bread and assortment of jams, and lots of fresh fruit.
The Bar at night turns into a lively spot featuring live music and a host of rum-based cocktails. They also have theme nights so be on the look out for that!
And after that sumptuous breakfast, you may want to take a nice walk down the resort to burn a few calories before hitting the beach.

To head to Sugar Beach, Ladera offers shuttle service (2-3 times daily) down to the Sugar Beach resort. It’s a 15 min drive and perfect for your daily afternoon snooze ๐Ÿ™‚

But more on Things to Do in the next post.

Hope you enjoyed reading! (and it inspired you to go visit)

xo ~ A& A โค

 

 

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