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


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