My wife and I honeymooned at both Cap Maison & Ladera using the "Peak to Beach" package that is offered between both hotels, except we went to Cap Maison first as opposed to Ladera. Upon our arrival, we were greeted with "Ladera punch" and a courteous staff (staff remained very good for the 3 days we stayed here). We were led to our room, "M," which was quite small compared to the photos used on Ladera's website. Despite that, my wife and I really aren't the type to complain, and were taken back by the amazing view that Ladera is known for. The first thing that caught me by surprise was the amount of noise - especially for a place that emphasizes the "welcome home" & relaxation gimmick. The maintenance shed was right outside and all we heard was sawing, hammering & banging noises, accompanied by the constant whiz of a golf cart behind the room (golf cart noise was constant throughout our stay). The in-room safe also did not work - so my wife and I went to reception to kindly ask when the construction noises would stop and if someone could assist us with the safe. The staff obliged by offering us the 2-bedroom room "F" which was absolutely amazing, with a giant pool and even better view, 2 floors, large couch and 2 bathrooms. We were stunned with the upgrade as my wife and I only expected some help with the safe in room "M."
We settled in to our room and realized that the "mini bar" that Ladera boasts so much contains no alcohol. We had an all inclusive plan which included a "fully stocked mini bar replenished daily" so we were sort of surprised when it only contained a few soda's and 2 large bottles of water. Dont get me wrong, it was still nice to have drinks on hand. They do allow you to go to the bar, order 4 bottles of Piton (the local beer) which they'll gladly put into a bag for you to carry back to your room. Sounds a bit trashy, but these rooms really do beg to be stayed in during the day and its nice to have a few drinks in the fridge.
Back to the noise. When night falls at Ladera, be VERY prepared to be a bit overwhelmed. If you are uncomfortable with free-reign lizards, giant moths, toads, or are not used to real-camping then DO NOT stay here, flat out - just dont. I thought I was prepared, but even I'll admit that I was surprised by the amount (and size) of the lizards that live in each room...however you will learn that they are your friends, and that they just want to eat the bugs that bother you. Once you get over the initial shock, Ladera becomes a bit more comfortable. It's kind of tough to relax at night due to the shear amount of noise coming from nature...mixed with the golf cart.
At times the staff was very loud outside of our room. The back of room "F" shares a wall with some sort of resort-office where the staff was very noisy in the morning. Also one morning, we awoke at 8 am to a man walking & hammering on our roof. I couldn't believe that the hotel would order a maintenance worker to do roof-work so early in the morning knowing there was someone trying to sleep below. It was things like these that made us double think about the price of the room per night.
The bugs really weren't that much of an issue, giant cans of bug killer are provided in each room along with mosquito coils that honestly do a fine job of taking care of any pesky bugs flying around you. Don't leave a light on that doesnt need to be on, just be smart about it and you'll be fine as far as bugs go. No giant spiders were spotted, just huge colorful moths, lizards, toads, and a few stinging insects that pretty much ignore you. Again, just be smart - let the lizards do what they do.
The restaurant at Ladera, Dasheene, is very expensive, however we had our meals included and only had to pay a few supplemental costs on the pricier dishes. I must say the lunch and dinner meals were wonderful - very fresh tasting and different. We found ourselves trying lots of new things and enjoying them, too. I was surprised to see the famous St. Lucian rum punch was pre-mixed and poured from a jug. I had read that Ladera prides themselves on their rum punches, yet I saw the jug that the bartender pulled from the cooler that clearly read "rum punch." The place has a huge wine list and a nice cocktail menu as well. We had drinks & snacks each evening during sunset which really capped off the day nicely...and prepared you for the night (4 Piton's to go, please).
St Lucia overall, is expensive. We ziplined at "Hotwire" (awesome) and did the "Soufriere experience" which was a tour of the local mineral baths & botanical gardens (really cool), mud baths & volcano, and a couple of water falls that were a bit underwhelming. The best time to do these things is after 1:30 PM on Saturday, as the cruise-ship crowds will have already gone. These excursions are all at an additional cost, and tips are expected vocally by most.
The beach is a bit odd, as you take a 10-12 min free shuttle to Jalousie Plantation and are herded to the "free side" (or be forced to pay US$20 for a padded lounge chair) where you will be met with stereotypical tourists ferried in via water taxi from the cruise ships. My wife and I found this pretty funny as we try to blend in/not look like a tourist as much as possible whenever we travel. Snorkeling at the Jalousie beach is incredible, I really enjoyed it.
Overall, you cant deny that Ladera is an incredible spectacle, but I must say that I wasn't expecting such a noisy place. It's just hard to relax here, which is kind of unfortunate, because once you fully drink in the view, Ladera lacks a bit. Will we visit St. Lucia again? Yes, absolutely, but we will stay at Cap Maison instead.