Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Ladera Resort
Soufrière, St. Lucia — Review

Natural Romance

By Natalie Compagno

Romantic pool swing looking out over the ocean at Ladera Resort on St. Lucia

The multitude of intimate beaches and grandiose accommodations on St. Lucia lure romantics from around the world. But this small Caribbean island nation has much more to offer than just lapping waves and rum punch on sandy shores. Its local cuisine is unique to the region, and it is home to an art scene esteemed by global collectors. Wood carvers, tile workers, painters and sculptors integrate the beauty of the natural surroundings into their art, most notably the island's two majestic volcanic peaks, The Pitons, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As for lodging that embodies all of these elements — art, culture, food and landscape — Ladera stands alone. Overlooking The Pitons, the unique hotel is nestled in a "ladera" (hillside) on Soufrière's oldest and most famous cocoa plantation, and its eco-lodge architecture, built with Caribbean timber, is a luxurious imagining of tree house living.

The view from the resort is so dramatic that it creates the illusion of being suspended between the two peaks. Ralph Hooper, owner and creator of Ladera, understood that this view was what made the property unique, so he — along with architect John Dipol — designed the "open-wall" concept that allows for maximum exposure to the beauty below. Each accommodation is missing the fourth wall, making nature a part of the room; it blends in with the hillside and is situated so that even though it is exposed, only the birds can see in.

Four post bed looking out over the beautiful mountainsides of St. Lucia at Ladera Resort

Ladera focuses on romance and eco-chic design while maintaining the highest level of luxury. Bespoke butler service is provided for guests who are staying at Paradise Ridge, Ladera's newer and most spacious accommodations, and four-poster beds with soft linens and Bagshaws silk-screened pillows — along with a bottle of Champagne — welcome guests in every room. Each accommodation also has its own plunge pool, ranging from cozy dipping pools to larger options replete with stunning shell waterfalls. Some even have suspended wood swings so guests can trail their toes through the water while reading a book or enjoying the scenery.

On-site restaurant Dasheene is led by St. Lucian chef Nigel Mitchel, and shares the same breathtaking vistas as the rest of the resort. Mitchel focuses on sustainable cooking sourced from locally harvested ingredients, and the menu includes dishes like coconut soup, roasted conch, Caribbean lamb salad and to-die-for Shrimp Dasheene. The restaurant is open every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with brunch on Sundays and a private wine cellar for parties of up to twelve. Every Thursday, a cocktail reception is held by the infinity pool next to the restaurant with passed hors d'oeuvres, wine and rum punch for guests.

The view from Dasheene at sunset at Ladera Resort on St. Lucia

The Spa at Ladera offers a list of wellness treatments inspired by the island's volcanic history and lush rainforests, and can be enjoyed on site or in the rooms themselves; there's even a private hot tub with mineral water drawn directly from the source at Diamond Mineral Baths near Soufrière. Ladera can arrange shuttles to the beach below, island tours, rainforest walks with naturalists, bird watching, car rentals, day trips to Castries, scuba and snorkel excursions, as well as sailing, horseback riding and hiking trips up the Pitons. Snorkel gear and beach towels are provided for guests at reception, meaning there's always something to experience at Ladera.

At 147 discreet staff members for only 37 rooms, Ladera is more than a getaway — it's the kind of luxurious hotel that can change one's perspective forever. It's easy for guests to fall in love not only with Ladera, but with the vibrant St. Lucia island culture that defines the resort, making a stay here truly one-of-a-kind.

Ladera Resort
Soufrière, St. Lucia
+1 758-459-6600

Related Content:
Top 10 Caribbean Resorts
Best Spas in St. Lucia

Caribbean Islands Travel Guide


Sip your way through wine country with GAYOT's list of charming inns and resorts, featuring vineyards from Napa Valley to Long Island, New York.
Go off the beaten path and explore GAYOT's Top 10 Extreme Hotels, which feature one-of-a-kind accommodations for a truly unforgettable experience.