Hedonism and nudist beaches come to mind when the phrase “Adults Only” is used, however Ladera Resort in St. Lucia has taken this idea and created a romantic haven for sophisticated lovers. The reason Ladera is for Adults Only, and more specifically, for couples, is due to its history. It was originally built as a gift for the owner’s love so that they had a place to enjoy seclusion.
Overlooking the Pitons, the hotel is nestled in a hillside (“Ladera” means hillside), on Soufriere’s oldest and most famous cocoa plantation. The view is so powerful that it creates the illusion of being suspended between the two peaks, as if the Pitons could be touched. Ralph Hooper, owner and creator of Ladera, understood that this view was what made the hotel unique. He, along with architect John Dipol, designed the “open-wall” concept. Each room is missing the fourth wall and so nature becomes part of the room. The architecture of the hotel is very simple yet powerful and blends in with the hillside. Beautiful wooden buildings are perfectly situated so that even though each room is exposed to the St. Lucian scenery, no one but the birds can see in.
“Ladera ignites passion”, an employee enthused while showing off the many charms of the hotel, “Love is reborn after staying here”. Strong statements but after just a few minutes of experiencing this sensual place, I felt radiant and enveloped by beauty. It was hard to decide what to do first. Eat at the on site restaurant Dasheene, the number one culinary destination in St. Lucia, enjoy a massage in the spa, restore in the private mineral bath, swim in the pool while sipping on a rum punch, or take a shuttle to the beach are all options that swirl in my head but when I see my room they immediately disappear.
My room has a private plunge pool, as do all the rooms at Ladera, and hand-carved furniture. Four poster beds with soft linens and Bagshaws silk screened pillows, and a bottle of champagne welcome guests in each room. Pools range from cozy dip pools to larger-sized with stunning shell waterfalls. Some have suspended wood swings over the pool so toes can be submerged while reading a book or enjoying the view. The view cannot be understated. Because there is literally a wall missing, I am a part of it and feel instantly connected to these stunning mountains. I decide to stay “in” for a while and enjoy this sensation.
Ladera is to be physically experienced to truly appreciate it. Couples yearning for time away together should plan their next trip to St. Lucia, whether for a honeymoon, babymoon, anniversary or a romantic getaway. Love is everywhere at Ladera and I highly recommend falling in love all over again there. I did.
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(image credits: Natalie Compagno)