Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Views, views, views -- up close and personal with the Pitons from almost everywhere at this resort
The first resort in St. Lucia to introduce the concept of “the missing fourth wall,” Ladera is responsible for creating a benchmark in luxury on the island. Since opening in 1998 with its trademark open-air tree house-style villas situated an arm’s length away from the iconic twin Pitons, this 32-suite resort has held firm to its status as one of the island’s most exclusive and stunning properties.
From the moment you arrive at the hilltop resort, you’ll find everything perfectly executed. A late night arrival or early morning departure warrants just as much attentiveness as any other time of the day, with a fresh cocktail waiting and in-room check-in whisking you right away to your private sanctuary. Once inside your private villa, you'll take in all the details -- a private plunge pool just off the living room, which features jaw-dropping views of the Pitons; intricately hand-applied mosaic tile showers in the bathroom; and a second-floor bedroom with open-air balconies providing additional dramatic views.
It’s undoubtedly hard to drag yourself from such idyllic surroundings; however, the rest of the resort is indeed worth exploring. The multi-level Dasheene Restaurant is quite simply mind-blowing, with tables perched on the edge of a balcony for near-eye-level views of the Pitons. One level below, the Ti'Cholit Bar overlooks the same stunning vistas, as well as a cliff-top pool. Additional features are welcome surprises, like the soothing black water baths nestled in a thicket of jungle just below the small spa, and the stunning lookout point set at the top of a steep hill. Weddings are often performed here, as are private spa treatments.
On the southern side of the island near major tourist destinations and at near-arm’s length from the Pitons
Ladera is one of few resorts that can claim the ideal positioning of being located right between St. Lucia’s iconic twin Pitons. As such, virtually every aspect of the resort takes advantage of the stunning vistas. Despite lacking any beach access of its own, the resort offers a free shuttle to and from nearby Jalousie Beach, also known as Sugar Beach for its perfectly white, fine sand. Additional hot spots are a short drive or even a walk away, including several of St. Lucia’s best restaurants, the Tet-Paul nature trail, the Diamond Falls and botanical gardens and waterfall, and La Soufriere Sulphur Springs and volcano. However, shopping is virtually non-existent in this area -- all nearby experiences are strictly tourist destinations.
Be aware that many attractions require a drive through the main town of Soufriere, which can be seedy in many parts -- not to mention extremely challenging to drive. Even more daunting is the long drive between the south and north sides of the island, which is filled with hairpin turns, massive potholes and serious inclines. Exercises caution if you plan on renting a car.
Unique tree house-style villas with jaw-dropping vistas of the Pitons
Resembling open-air tree houses, Ladera’s 32 suites were the first to introduce the “missing fourth wall” concept to St. Lucia. At first glance, the all-wood structures without A/C, TV, or telephones might appear austere, but a closer look reveals stunning details. The wooden columns are hand carved, the soap dishes resemble little animals, and the tables are topped with hand-mosaic tiling. Handcrafted details create major wow factors at every turn, with beautiful mosaic scenes and conch shell faucets in the bathrooms and one-of-a-kind bamboo couches and chairs throughout. The real pièces de résistance though, are the private plunge pools at cliff’s edge, featuring stunning views of the Pitons and found in almost every villa.
Some guests might feel apprehensive at the idea of having no means by which to close off the outdoor elements from Ladera’s villas. However, rather surprisingly, the hilltop positioning makes for breezy evenings, rendering A/C unnecessary. Other guests may shy away at the idea of having no television or telephone. The resort makes concessions for those requiring connectivity at all times with free Wi-Fi in all rooms, portable DVD players available at the front desk, and pre-programmed cell phones connecting guests with the front desk and the restaurant.
Eat, drink, and swim -- while taking in a view of the gorgeous Pitons
This unique luxury resort in St. Lucia is made up of 32 one- and two-bedroom villas, each carefully carved into the surrounding hillside overlooking the island’s iconic twin Pitons. The villas -- which have missing fourth walls, and in most cases, private plunge pools -- are a main draw, as are the spectacular views and lush grounds. The resort also features some fabulous amenities, such as an infinity lagoon pool, a gorgeous open-air restaurant and bar, a (tiny) open-air fitness center, and a lovely spa with black water soaking baths. All of this comes at a price, but Ladera is still significantly cheaper than the ultra-glam Jade Mountain (rates are often around half as much). Ladera is within close range of several of the island’s best tourist destinations -- notable cocoa plantations are within walking distance, the pristine white sands of Jalousie beach are a short drive away, and tourist hot spots like the volcano and Tet-Paul nature trails are both nearby.