Of all the many hotels that market themselves as offering a ‘room with a view’, few can better the breathtaking panorama from Ladera. This utterly romantic hotel sits along a ridge 1,100 feet above sea level, taking in uninterrupted vistas of the Caribbean Sea, St Lucia’s startling twin, volcanic Pitons, and thick green swathes of forested slopes. The icing on this spectacular cake is that the hotel faces directly west, so the sunsets are simply incredible.
All Ladera’s bedrooms enjoy the view, through ‘missing’ fourth walls – an arrangement that makes them effectively open air, though their layout means they are nonetheless completely private and sheltered. Wildlife – lizards, exotic birds – can appear in rooms, but that just adds to Ladera’s charm. Ear plugs are provided to exclude the nighttime chorus of tree frogs, and guests sleep under mosquito netting. Bedrooms are all, in fact, large or very large suites. Each has its own plunge pool and is idiosyncratically designed, with polished hardwood floors and furniture, four-poster beds, and decorative, locally made mosaic tiling. Some have wooden swing seats suspended on ropes.
Dasheene, Ladera’s highly regarded, split-level restaurant, also takes in the incredible view. The food concentrates on St Lucian and Caribbean dishes presented with creative twists, and much of the produce used is island grown. On Saturday mornings, guided tours of the market in the nearby town of Soufriere are available, followed by a cookery class led by Ladera’s chef.
The atmosphere at Ladera is supremely relaxing. Other places on the property to soak everything up include the genial bar, stocked with board traditional board games and again with that view, and a little spa with hot tubs in the garden as well as treatment rooms. Many guests don’t venture far, but a free shuttle service is provided to the stunning beach far below at Sugar Beach, and the excellent Boucan restaurant lies across the road.
Ladera is about as far removed from a traditional Caribbean hotel as can be. Though its quirkiness doesn’t suit everyone, we think it offers a unique and very special experience.