Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted warmly by every staff member we encountered with hand shakes from all and a wonderful fruity drink. We were thrilled by the open air reception area and ready to see our retreat. We were given Gros Piton Suite M. The minute I walked into it, I first was taken away by the view as anyone would be. I did notice that M's ceilings/roof was not as high as I expected. The bed was down a small flight of stairs. I was disappointed that the room seemed a little small and asked for a higher ceiling. We were accomodated the next day with the O suite with an expansive view, a sunny dipping pool and the bed more out in the open. O seemed better suited for us and Holly even got out of her golf cart to see our expressions to make sure we were pleased with the change. Suite M had some strong points, the bed was nestled downstairs and ultimately had a more cozy feeling, but the bathroom in M was crampy and narrow. O's bathroom was wonderful and open yet private looking up to a beautiful tree.
Our sleep was wonderful. By the fourth night, we did decide that we probably could not do a whole week of vacation like this open to the world. Bugs did come in and tree frogs were in our shower, but we enjoyed it. It was a beautiful part of our trip. We did see a tarantula outside one of the suites and we found it fascinating hoping that it was not going to take an energy pill and make it all the way to our suite or anyone else's.
We found the service to be efficient, friendly and yet not overbearing. Everyone was as friendly as they could be.
Dasheene offers fabulous breakfasts. We also enjoyed the Sunday buffet there. Dinners were a little more disappointing to us. They were good but unremarkable and we were a bit let down by that. We go to great restaurants frequently and I must say that our best meal was at the Hummingbird in Soufriere. However, Orlando was very pleasant and a fantastic diplomat for Ladera.
The shuttles to the beaches were efficient and the drivers friendly. It did seem strange that we felt like we were "camping out" at the beaches and horning in on someone else's party with plastic chairs or no chairs available for Ladera guests. It's hard to pay as much as we did and then lie on a towel at the beaches but maybe we should have expected that not having stayed at a beach resort.
The hotel in general could use some sprucing up. I get the eco-lodge concept and understand that it is harder to maintain rooms exposed to elements. However, the decking at the pool could have used some varnish and there were weeds coming through many of the stones. The chairs and umbrellas at the pool could be updated to a nice team with comfortable cushions to seem a bit more luxurious than the PVC plastic and the iron chairs. Some of the stone and cement was cracked in spots and it looked like it could use some TLC. I am not a gym rat, but did check out the "gym" which was a back porch no bigger than 6' X12' with a treadmill, an elliptical, a bike and some weights. The treadmill was "out of order". In general, the gym just looked a little like an afterthought. The spa was equally unappealing to us. We are always booking a massage when on vacation, but we weren't motivated to this stay given the small, cramped, unmajestic quarters the Ladera uses for that.
The pool had a fantastic view of course and that was worth a lot....but there was limited seating there and unless you got there early, there was no chance to get a chair.
We really enjoyed the walk beyond the hilltop suite which offers several great payoff views of the pitons from a difference perspective. It was our mini-piton hike instead of the rugged Piton hikes. We also did the Soufriere tour including the Botanical Gardens, the drive-in volcano and the waterfalls. That was very special. We had Peter as our guide in the Botanical Gardens and he was fabulous and a great teacher. I would definitely recommend the Botanical Gardens as it's educational and luscious.
Overall, this was a fabulous and fascinating stay for us. I just think you are paying mostly for the view and service, not the fluff. We both read three books, slept 10 hours a night and successfully hit the reset button. It was a very special stay for us.
- 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