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“Ladera was a disappointment; be careful to research before booking”
Review of Ladera Resort

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Ladera Resort
Ranked #2 of 11 Hotels in Soufriere
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 2, 2006

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....

  • Stayed: November 2006, traveled as a couple
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24  Thank smwhitman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,120 - 1,126 of 1,271 reviews

Reviewed November 12, 2006

We spent some time at Ladera in October and the place really is a bit special. The room all have 3 walls, with the forth aspect of each room being open air. The view of the world famous Pitons (you’ve got to see the views) are the most spectacular possibly from any hotel room on the planet. The thought of having one wide open wall in a room is a bit weird to us Brits, but don’t forget the night time temperature is often 20-25C and the breeze rolling up the Piton Valley is lovely and cooling.

The rooms all face the Pitons, and the old wood construction gives the hotel an aged, old world feel.

Within the hotel, Dasheens restaurant is equally as special. Being able to have a cocktail whilst looking at the sunset between the Pitons is something never to be forgotten. The sky can turn a fire red colour, and the food at Dasheens is superb – not cheap at all but considering the views you get, it’s worth the money.

The infinity pool just outside Dasheens is a peaceful place to paddle about, and the hotel also benefits from being able to use the sports facilities offered by a nearby hotel.

For sheer romance, Ladera is a unique place to stay. The views could be the best in the world and you’ll probably not want to leave the place. Superb.

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank Rosh99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2006

If you favor wilderness and natural beauty over modern comforts, Ladera is the place to go. From every vantage point a gorgeous sight can be seen...whether waking up in the morning and looking out from your bed, eating breakfast, lounging by the infinity pool, or even showering...this is surely one of the world's most picturesque resorts.

Our first night was in Villa A1. Beautiful room, with a day bed downstairs, full bathroom, plunge pool (that doesn't offer enough room to swim), and a great view. Upstairs is another room, another bathroom, and another bedroom, with an amazing constant breeze that lulls you to sleep. The weather can be hot and sticky in St. Lucia, but Ladera's high locale maintains cooler temps and a constant breeze. Unfortunately, due to its proximity to the main dropoff area and restaurant, A1 is entirely too noisy to enjoy restful sleep before 12 AM or after 5:30 AM. Additionally, at night with the lights on, passers-by have a good view into the upstairs rooms.

Never one to take advantage, I begrudgingly asked to be moved down the line to a more private room. The staff was very friendly and understanding, and we were moved to Villa G, which was again beautiful. It includes a living room, kitchen, a pool that traverses the wall to be both inside and outside the villa, although it is in the "front" and not facing the Pitons or the sea, and upstairs are two bedrooms and a small room with a twin-sized bed. This villa is ENORMOUS, and could easily accomodate two couples or a family. This is considered one of the "luxury" villas, although I would have preferred a quieter A1 for a romantic, cozier experience for a single couple. The bedroom facing the sea is very nice and cool at night with the help of a fan. Be warned, however, that like others on here we were visited by a Possum twice while we slept...they are generally shy and harmless animals and by the third night they set traps and had men looking for it, but with just a mosquito net between you and the rainforest, it's a bit disturbing nonetheless. We resorted to hiding our soap in the fridge at night, and we never saw a sign of it again.

There was one other issue with villa G, and that is the entrance...There is essentially no front door to this villa. The outside gate is unloackable while away and easily scalable at night, and there is an opening for the indoor/outdoor pool that offers access into your villa to anyone who wants it. There is a small latch on the bedroom door, and that's all that exists to separate you from an intruder...that said, the resort has excellent security and my fears of an intruder were probably unfounded, remnants of my NY upbringing and Philadelphia residence rather than any real threat experienced on the island.

All of this natural beauty comes with a condition...you must not be afraid of the elements. As other have said, lizards, lots of gnats and moths, and occasionally birds and bats fly into the room. Not once did any of these creatures bother us directly, you just need to be in a mental state to accept their presence. Mosquitoes were not an issue...a twice daily spray of 'Off!" seemed to do the trick.

The restaurant is excellent, although a bit tiresome with their breakfast offerings. There are specials everynight, and we chose to dine there three out of five nights, eating at 'Hummingbird' just a US$15 taxi ride away in Soufriere town the other two nights, who offer a delicious menu at good prices.

Ladera offers complementary shuttles to Jalousie and Anse Chastenet beaches, with complementary lounge chairs at both as well as snorkeling gear.

Overall, a gorgeous and unique place. I would recommend a three or four night stay...the $90pp+18% all-inclusive is worth it if you plan on drinking a lot and eating every meal there.

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank Delfonic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 4, 2006

My husband and I stayed at Ladera for 5 days in mid October. It was exactly what we were looking for a truly romantic restful getaway. Every room is missing a fourth wall (for that living in a tree house feeling) but are strategically placed for complete privacy, each with incredible views. Every night we were lulled to sleep by the sound of crickets, tree frogs and our own private water falls.
By the second day we were regretting not staying longer and are already making plans for a return visit.
One thing you need to know is Ladera is an Eco Lodge. That means no air conditioning, no phones, no TV, no radio, not even a clock in the room. We found this to be a plus as we never missed them once.
The staff at Ladera is over the top when it comes to customer service. They make the experience all that more enjoyable. Everyone we encountered had a cheerful attitude and made us feel very welcomed. They meet our every request always with a smile. They made us feel like royalty.
Dasheenes Restaurant at Ladera, does a fantastic job. We ate every meal there as we had no reason to leave. They offer a different menu every night including vegetarian choices. The food and service are out standing. The all-inclusive is definitely the way to go ($90 per person/day) If you pay-as-you-go you will well exceed that especially if you enjoy cocktails throughout the day and wine or drinks with your meals.
Getting there: after you get through customs, you will be overwhelmed by men with carts offering to take your luggage. They will walk it 20 feet drop it off and expect a tip. Just say no thank you and they will leave you alone. Rather then driving yourself, I would suggest arranging for a transfer (or taxi) from the airport to Ladera. Between the mountainous terrain with steep, sharp turns in the road and driving on the left side of the road (opposite the US) the 45 min. drive could be quite an adventure. Besides you would miss seeing all the quaint villages that pepper the landscape. Yes, you will see some third world living standards but, get over it, that’s just part of island life.
Currency: St. Lucia uses Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC) with an exchange rate of $2.70 EC for $1.00 US. In practice US Dollars were accepted everywhere. In fact even in the little markets most price tags displayed both currencies.
Language: the Island is bilingual with English being predominate and French Creole second.
Tours: Ladera offers several types tours. The first one we took was the half day shopping in Castries ($50pp). It is a 45minute boat ride and provides a great view of the island’s west coast. The shopping is good. There are the typical duty free shops (jewelry, perfume, china, ect.) and the local craft market which I found to be the most enjoyable. The St. Lucian people are colorful and friendly and not as aggressive as the local vendors on some of the other Caribbean Islands.
The second tour was the Soufriere Experience Tour.($15 pp) which included the drive through volcano and the Botanical Gardens which to me were the most interesting. Be prepared, take lots of $1 as we were told that the guides on this tour are not paid and they all work for tips.
I hope this was hopful. Our best to all our new friends.

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled as a couple
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17  Thank happyonbluelake
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2006

We just returned from a week long stay at Ladera resort and it was an amazing one of a kind experience. Everyone talks about the views and how beautiful it is and words can't really do it justice. Originally we were only supposed to stay for five nights but were enjoying ourselves so much we extended our stay for an additional two nights.

The all-inclusive package is definitely worth it if you plan on eating the majority of your meals at Dasheene as the food prices are exorbitant. The food overall was above average but inconsistent. The beef meals tended to be below our expectations while the lobster was excellent.

If you have a problem with bugs this type of resort may not be for you. There are moths, some can be large, tree frogs, lizards and birds in your room, though they don't bother you. I only received one mosquito bite but my girlfriend received a few more. We also had a visitor which we were told was an oppossum that came into our room on two occasssions and tried to take our soap.

The tour to Castries was OK. The water taxi trip was fun and quite scenic but the town itself was nothing much to see. We took a tour to Anse Chastene and did snorkeling which was fun and worth the trip. The beach there is nice. The volcano and the botanical gardens are definitely worth seeing but might be better on your own than through the hotel arranged tour as it was kind of rushed and our taxi guide was not good.

The wait staff was very attentive and knew us by name and which room we were in. The staff at the reception area was not as good or as friendly.

Overall, this trip was a wonderful experience that was fun and romantic.

7  Thank Dasindog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2006

Spent four nights here around Labor Day, just before the hotel was closing for the season. You would have never known they were getting ready to shut down for several weeks, except for the last day when there was a limited selection of food at breakfast. All the staff were professional and prompt and there was never any shortage of employees around to attend to guest needs, as sometimes happens when hotels close for a season.

The property itself is lushly landscaped and there is tropical foliage everywhere--it's the textbook vision of a tropical island. The building itself is rustic and twists and winds its way along the top of a ridge. The rooms are, as you've heard, wide open to that amazing view. There's really nothing I can say about it that can top the photos on the website--it's entrancing. One morning after a thundershower, there was a rainbow practically right off our deck stretching from the treetops out over the bay. Just one of those priceless moments you never forget.

We stayed in a three-bedroom villa, so I can only speak to those and they're huge. The living area is giant and open, with a plunge pool immediately inside the door that stretches around and under a walkway to a deeper plunge pool overlooking the mountains and the bay below. Everything is tropical hardwood and, despite it being the rainy season, the furniture stayed dry the entire time. The only problem we had with the structure itself was that the roof leaked during a heavy rain in the second bathroom and soaked a cellphone that was on the counter.

There was enough breeze that I never saw an insect, though there are elaborate mosquito nets over the beds. I don't think they really advertise it, but apparently there are lots of fruit bats that live in the trees down the mountainside and they also keep the insect population down. The bedrooms in the villas are upstairs on three different mini-levels. The stairway is kind of narrow and steep, but it adds to the effect of being in a luxury treehouse.

The restaurant, Dasheene, has a terrific view as well and friendly service. There are specials each night and the food is always very solid, if not spectacular. You do want the meal plan, which covers everything except top-shelf liquors and bottle wine. [And make sure to enjoy plenty of the Ladera punch, because it's hard to duplicate back home!] At $90 per person per day when we were there, it was a steal over getting everything individually. You also get drinks, including the wonderful local Piton beer, stocked in your fridge daily when you are on the meal plan. It's also much more relaxing to just eat at the resort than try to get anywhere else. And as far as I could tell, there wasn't anything in the area that could beat Dasheene anyway.

The pool is smallish in area but up to 9' deep. Leaning against the infinity edge with a Piton in hand and looking over that mountain view is another one of those priceless moments and something no other resort can offer.

Ladera is most likely not for everyone. There are certain things you have to be prepared for and accept. There are not a lot of activities on site and to get to most anywhere else of interest on the island is an undertaking. The resort itself is all about relaxing and enjoying the setting. The rooms themselves are unique but we are not talking about a Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons level of luxury. The beds and linens are comfy, but you have to be patient with the pressure and temperature of the showers [no tubs]. There is no beach on-site--you must shuttle to the local beaches and this is not an island known for its beaches. It's fun to take the water taxi over to Anse Chastenet's black-sand beach, but it's about a 45-minute trip total and still you will be on another hotel's property. [I understand that as of their re-opening, Ladera now has its own beach it will shuttle guests to, but it will still be an expedition to get there.] There's no grand lobby and the bar is open-air. I don't say any of this to discourage anyone from going, you just have to make sure it's right for you. It's an expensive place and if you're contemplating a trip there, you just need to be aware that it's a certain type of experience. It's meant to be remote, private, and slow-paced. If that's what you're looking for, you can't find any place better than this. It's one of those rare resorts that could only exist where it is and draws on its setting to define itself.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled with friends
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26  Thank adamunc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2006

Words cannot describe the view. This place really is Heaven on Earth! The rooms are absolutely gorgeous!!!
We had suite I, which had 2 soaking pools, 2 bathrooms and an additional sitting room.

You wake up in the morning to birds singing, the prevailing breezes and the gorgeous view of the pitons, valley and ocean.

If you have any doubts, rest assured that you will LOVE Ladera.

And make sure you visit the drive in volcano while you are there, it's only a mile away, and an easy drive.

One thing I will mention, the drive from the southern airport to the hotel is approximately 45 minutes, and the road is very winding. Either take a dramamine, or inquire about the helicopter transfers, and possibly even water taxis.

  • Stayed: October 2006, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank bayskat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ladera Resort

Address: Rabot Estate, Soufriere, St. Lucia
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > St. Lucia > Soufriere Quarter > Soufriere
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Soufriere
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Soufriere
#2 Luxury Hotel in Soufriere
#3 Family Hotel in Soufriere
#7 Romantic Hotel in Soufriere
Price Range: $499 - $962 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Ladera Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 32
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

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