Driving through winding forests, coast lines, and villages en route to an iconic resort, on bucket lists across the globe, our hearts were beating faster the further south we ventured. From the international airport, the resort isn’t far, but coming from the north of the island, the trek seemed like the perfect journey to a lost secluded world full of mystery and romance.
We had yet to experience the meandering southwest drive along the island and we were nearing the revered Ladera Resort, the original “three walled hotel”. Impossible to miss along the miles of beauty we had now driven, we pulled into the security gate and planted our feet onto new heights.
Though technically the front of the resort, the entrance was modest with a winding footpath to different levels of rooms which curved along the natural outline of the ridge covered in lush green trees and birds perched ornately. Ms. Daly Mariatte, the General Manager of Ladera greeted us with a warm hello and tour of the property.
We realized quickly the modesty of the entrance was entirely intentional. There are no lineups, no que’s, no waiting around to be checked in. A guest is brought directly to their room to begin and complete the check in process. Each guest is treated as VIP royalty. Daly recalled multiple stories of guests with tears in their eyes conveying their gratitude for the staff who made them feel as though they were family.
For these employees this may be a job they hold for their entire life and their commitment and enjoyment resonates throughout the property. In fact Caroline, the very first person hired at Ladera is still working at the resort nearly every single day. The property couldn’t be more spectacular, the moment the doors opened to our room was the moment I lost my breath.
A large heated pool in the middle of the villa with a James Bond like swing hanging from the ceiling opened to one of the most incredible views I have ever seen. Silence filled the air where even the birds seemed to acknowledge the moment we were having.
The Pitons in all their glory stared back towards us, an energy from the water down below was palpable and the slight breeze made the room come alive. Ladera, meaning hillside in Spanish, is by far the most romantic hotel I’ve had the pleasure to experience, though the true concept of the resort is to coexist with the environment.
Through conversations with guests and locals who have either stayed at Ladera or came to dine at the exquisite restaurant on premise Dasheene, people have been so bold to describe it as a spiritual awakening. Each of the 37 rooms on the property have their own special configurations, shapes and sizes setting one apart from another.
The common thread of sustainability and support for the local economy is evident by more than the on-site carpenter and wood workshop which created the hand carved tables and chairs. Everything in the room other than the coffee maker and glassware is local.
The trees, plants, and flowers on property creates the largest collection and variation of species on the island despite the botanical garden in St. Lucia. Pictures do no justice to Ladera. No drone, specialized camera, or video encapsulates the feeling and natural beauty of the area. It is impossible not to acknowledge the power of this natural stage where Ladera effortlessly performs.
The resort was designed to take advantage of the incredible location not specifically designed for honeymoons, weddings, anniversaries, or proposals. I have to say, the sensuality of the open concept rooms and obviously sexy swing would suggest otherwise. The natural beauty and complete privacy subtly suggest for you to remove your clothes, the open shower and heated pool ensure you stay that way. A pity my visit was with my dear friend and colleague. Ladara is not the place one goes to find a partner, it is the place one goes to envelope themselves in another, in the beauty of nature and the power of surrender