We stayed both at Jade Mountain and Ladera (also posted a review of Jade Mtn/Anse Chastanet). I must say, the numerous positive reviews here did initially steer us towards Ladera- thankfully we had read some dissenting points of view in favor of Anse Chastanet, and I'm so glad we did. It literally saved our vacation...! It was an order of magnitude differerence between the two.
First and foremost, understand that if you're looking for a 4-or-5-star experience, this absolutely will not be it. We stayed in one of the most expensive rooms, "2 Bedroom Luxury Villa" (actually had 3 bdrms) with 2baths and a full pool, so we had high expectations. The pictures are completely deceptive.
Coming from Jade Mountain, which had incredible views, beautiful custom furniture, stunning baths and infinity pools, Ladera was an incredible let down. The room was dated, dark, and I (perhaps too harshly) started calling it the KOA campground - but that's really how it felt. As a few other reviewers note, you feel more like you're camping than in the luxury.
The water pressure was very poor (which they warn you once you get into your room and read a big posted sign- inside the room!!), the lighting was poor, the insects/bugs were really horrible- at night we didn't dare get out of our mosquito net. I broke down once to use the bathroom and was bombarded by bugs, moths, and all sorts of creepy crawlies.
During the day, the heat was oppressive- it was very uncomfortable, with no breeze, and in the entire multi-level room there was only one ceiling fan which didn't do much. The only other circulation was the addition of a cheap floor fan. For the $680-plus a night rate, it was quite upsetting. At night, it does cool down considerably.... but it wasn't much consolation. In comparison, our stay the same week in our suite at Jade Mtn was very comfortable, with a breeze from the water and 9 different ceiling fans which was great.
We were "lucky", others had told us on top of all this, the nearby volano sulfur smell could really get unpleasant when the wind shifted- we noticed only a faint odor...but the bar was filled with patrons smoking up a storm, so we gave up on that.
The pool was icy-cold, honestly even in the heat of the day it was too uncomfortable to be in. My girlfriend flat out refused to go in, I did and only last about 3 minutes before giving up shivering. Supposedly you had a heat control, but it was controlled by a govenor which only let you turn it on later at night- and even then, it didn't work enough to come close to comfortable.
The highlight of Ladera was supposed to be Dashnee, and again it was really a big disappointment. Overpriced, so-so food, and the biggest issue was that the service at all meals was very poor and unattentive. We went huge stretches without a waiter or waitress in sight, multiple times I had to get up from the table to head towards the back to find someone, we'd request something basic like a missing place setting (!) or a drink, and they'd completely forget.
Staff was aloof, unfriendly, and honestly barely lifted a finger to do anything. The first day they told us "be sure to get up early tomorrow for our orientation" - which we had done at Anse Chastanet, and learned a lot/very useful. We show early AM at Ladera front desk and they just stared at us. "Orientation? What do you mean? Uh, well, just ask us any questions you have." If we knew enough to ask a variety of questions, we would have!
The first night, we awoke the next AM to see the counter and floor coated in sugar and other assorted stuff- the birds had gotten into the canisters and made a big mess, which in turn attracted plenty of ants and additional insects which were in full swarm by the time we got to cleaning it up. Did I mention the giant injured cricket, stuck on top of our mosquito net, when a lizard started hunting it for the night meal?? Discovery channel to be sure!!
Once you're at the hotel, you're basically trapped- we tried to go for a walk, it was a 2min endeavor. There are no activities, nothing to explore, everything requires getting a cab or shuttle to somewhere else. In contrast, our stay at Anse Chastanet gave you access to great beach, snorkeling, sailing, whale watching, a 600 acre plantation with trails, etc etc.
After one night of this, it was really ruining our trip - the 5 previous nights at Jade/Anse Chastanet were so incredibly better, the staff there so completely friendly and warm. I cut it short, told the front desk we were checking out early and then they just sniffed and said "well, you know we're going charge you two additional nights penalty!" As if I cared by that point... not one inquiry to see how they might be able to make things more comfortable, or make the least bit of accomodation. The honest truth, is that we would have left regardless. But it just showed the lack of caring on the part of the management... whoever they were (we certainly never heard from them).
Many people we met at St Lucia had also tried - and failed- to get into Ladera, like us they read all the great press. If this review gives just one couple pause before booking, or god forbid a honeymoon couple, then I'll feel like a good service has been done. It's expensive, which makes it all the worse... I feel we were very lucky having seen both, I would never have guessed the difference....
- 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