My wife and I arrived at Ladera for the last spot on our honeymoon (we previously traveled to Dominica for 3 nights and then to Cap Maison in St. Lucia, as part of the Peak-to-Beach package, which we did backwards). We were greeted by several friendly people, including one of the owners, which was pretty cool. She was very nice and, looking back now, was a bit too excited about the room we were getting (she must do this for everyone). We immediately mentioned we were interested in the cooking class and she mentioned another couple was interested, and we just needed one more and she'd work on getting that done. We never heard about it again. This was a recurring theme.
First off, let me say I really wanted to love this place. I thought it'd be the most special and beautiful visit on our honeymoon. The natural elements of it were indeed that special. The grounds and the rooms are as stunning as the view of the pitons. It's a magical place and the harmony between the landscaping, gardens, and stonework in the rooms is really something else. The stone and floor design of each unique room compliments the shapes of the mountains and nature around them. It's an awesome feat to build such a place and put so much care into it. Charming.
Perhaps the most genuine and charming person there was Ray, the Ladera gardener. I highly recommend you take the FREE garden tour that is offered most days around 2:30pm. Spending time and learning about plants and gardening from Ray was a treat, and was rather inspiring. He cares so much about what he does there and he cares about your questions too.
I've read other reviews and it's true, if you do the all-inclusive deal, they are really bad about restocking your fridge with beers and waters. Yes, those not doing the all-inclusive are not entitled to having their fridges re-stocked each day (this was always the reason told to us), but it says it in writing, on the welcome letter that you receive upon check-in. I had to ask 5 times over a 2-day span before we got beers and water in the fridge. Not a HUGE deal, b/c you can just as easily walk to the bar and get beers to go, but they WANT you to do this so you sign off on a bill that essentially pays tips and service charges...(don't worry, you as a guest are not paying extra or anything) kind of annoying though based on the high price to stay there. Perhaps I should have really complained right away about this matter, but I hate being that guy...
On our second night there, prior to dinner, we were unexpected hosts of a huge critter party in our room. We first noticed the ants on our couch (lots of them, and we hadn't left any food out or anything). My wife relocated to the netted bed, but mosquitoes were everywhere. I sprayed some of the (supplied) bug spray, but had little success. Then I noticed about 4 to 6 little frogs had made there way in, chirping and bouncing about. And then the bat came in...and kept coming in. We finally called reception and they came right away and switched us to a room right next door. Didn't sleep to well that night, but they did put us in a room where the bedroom was more blocked off. I get it - it's nature - and we knew what we were getting into with an open room and all, but this was pretty crazy.
Def. go to the beach below - it's very nice. Lots to do there if you want, or nothing.. make sure you sign up for the free bus to and fro, though be warned it may not matter. We showed up ten minutes early for our return trip and it never came (they said it did, but we surely would have seen it...or the driver could have at least let us know)...they sent a driver who came 40 minutes later. Point is, that really messed up our day b/c we had scheduled a late room service lunch prior to a late afternoon spa treatment. The bus being late screwed up our lunch and they had to redo it and that was super late and we barely made the spa appointment. We had to make calls and rearrange things so much, it kind of felt like being at work. A bit of a lost afternoon, but the spa treatment was really wonderful. Good spa there. Nice food overall, too, but seemed crazy pricey if you're not on the all-inclusive plan.
On our last morning, we ran into the owner again and she assured us (twice) that she'd be sending down drink service to the pool (where we said we'd be relaxing until the trip to the airport). That service came - about an hour and a half after we were there and that was it. It certainly didn't make the morning less relaxing, but it was just another unfulfilled promise. There are definitely communication issues here....
What I LIKED about the staff was how much fun they were having and they were genuinely nice to everyone there. It was a great vibe. What I didn't like was that we felt we had to constantly remind or ask people the same things over and over again - there was a severe communication problem - and perhaps it started at the top - why make lofty promises to guests in the first place? This is not what a vacation at an expensive resort should be. The kicker in the end was we were given a nice little going away present upon departure - two fruit muffins and a calendar. Well, we opened up the calendar and quickly realized all the months were wrong and out of order, some months missing, some repeating. It kind of summed things up - how did nobody catch that?
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ladera is the pioneer of the open air three-walled concept in St. Lucia and has since been distinguished by a wide range of international publications, awards and accolades from Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Forbes Life Caribbean Travel and Life, Brides Magazine and countless others. Ladera was once part of Rabot Estate, one of Soufriere's oldest plantations, which still borders the resort. In the late 1960's a parcel of land was sold and developed into a small cluster of condominiums and christened Dasheene, named after the thousands of large, glossy-leafed dasheen plants (also known as elephant ears) harvested on the site. In 1982 it was transformed into a unique resort and changed hands a number of times before emerging as Ladera under the current private ownership. The mission has always been to offer an unparalleled guest experience that is quintessentially Saint Lucian, one that embraces the magnificent views and offers harmony with the surrounding natural beauty and rich bounty of the island. Today, that commitment to sumptuous authenticity is evident in everything from the innovative renderings of fresh local dishes at Dasheene restaurant, to the use of Caribbean timbers, stone and tile work used in the guestrooms and public areas. Yet it shines through most effectively with warm and welcoming Saint Lucian staff. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ladera Hotel Soufrière
- Ladera Resort Soufrière
- Ladera St Lucia
- Ladera Resort St. Lucia/Soufriere