Ladera Resort, the legendary St Lucia hotel that is a fixture on every major top hotel and awards list, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Year in 2012.
The groundbreaking luxury resort, a haven for celebrities, honeymooners and trendsetters, is situated on a forested ridge 1,100 feet above the sea, perched above the port town of Soufrière. Originally designed and built 40 years ago as a development called Dasheene, Ladera opened as a resort hotel in 1992.
“Throughout this Anniversary Year, we’re taking the Ladera guest experience to an even higher level of luxury, comfort and authenticity,” says Olivier Bottois, Ladera’s Vice President of Marketing & Operations. Ladera is “20 years young” as Bottois sees it. He adds that “this year we’ll be introducing new suites, product enhancements and service innovations that are consistent with our signature guest experience and eco-friendly approach.”
Ladera has received numerous outstanding awards over the years, including Conde-Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice award when Ladera was voted not only the “Best Hotel in the Caribbean,” but given the ultimate accolade “Best Hotel in the World”. The honor marked the first and only time in the 18 year history of the awards that a Caribbean hotel was given the number one position in the world on the “Best of the Best” list.
Pioneering the Authentic
St Lucian Experience
Over two decades ago, Ladera pioneered the concept of the open-air, three-walled guest suite that remains the signature design of Ladera and which has become a ubiquitous style, now de rigueur at resorts throughout Saint Lucia. The buildings were designed by the late John DiPol, a visionary American architect. DiPol conceived the concept when he realized that a three-sided series of building was possible due to the prevailing trade winds that approach from the back (eastern side) of the resort and which allow for the missing third wall, an expansive view and interiors with atriums.
Each suite embraces the island ambiance through tropical design, with all furnishings crafted on property by local artisans, including elegant four poster hardwood beds and St Lucian ceramics and textiles throughout. The missing fourth wall allows the most spectacular views of the Sea, unobstructed sunsets, and the volcanic Piton Mountains, which are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thanks to the clever design, they also remain sheltered, safe, and completely secluded, with private plunge pools and surrounded by lush tropical landscaping.
Ladera’s striking infinity pool, the very first in the world in 1972, was used in the film Superman II when Christopher Reeves flies to St Lucia to gather flowers for Lois Lane, and is still the dramatic centerpiece of the resort surrounded by lush tropical gardens.
New Hilltop Dream Suites to be Unveiled in 2012 during Ladera’s 20th Anniversary Year, the resort will unveil five additional connecting luxury one-bedroom Hilltop Dream suites on Paradise Ridge in October 2012.
“Each new Hilltop Dream Suite will feature the famously breathtaking vistas from the open living rooms and will include private infinity pools,” says Bottois. “The open-air bedrooms are designed and appointed with furnishings and fixtures consistent with Ladera’s sustainable practices.” That includes using locally-woven textiles, custom hardwood furniture crafted on site at Ladera, such as elegant Colonial four-poster king beds. The en-suite bath areas will be equipped with water-efficient Kohler fixtures.
Other noteworthy developments in Ladera’s 20th Anniversary Year include a new fitness room, outfitted with state-of-the-art workout equipment. Yoga classes are also now on offer. The Ti Kai Pose- Spa, which now incorporates more natural, organic treatments, will offer new outdoor Couples Massages on Paradise Ridge, a completely private retreat area of the resort which overlooks the Caribbean Sea and Pitons.
Dasheene, Ladera’s award winning restaurant, will be taken to even higher culinary acclaim says Bottois, a past board member and Vice Chancelier Culinaire of the Chaine des Rotisseurs and member of The James Beard Foundation, noting that “celebrated guest chefs from the Caribbean, the United States, and Europe will be featured at the restaurant. “
Giving Back to St Lucia
Ladera’s commitment to St Lucia and the local community has been generously expressed throughout the decades. Twenty years ago, the owners established Ladera’s Good Works Fund. Financed by gifts and the resort’s retail boutique sales, the Good Works Fund benefitted a soup kitchen and the Malgretoute Home for the elderly in nearby Soufrière.
Ladera’s “Adopt a School” relationship with the Les Estangs School has helped the school build a new library and brought computers, textbooks and building repairs. Today, Ladera benefits St Jude Hospital by providing funds for medical education and materials. It also subsidizes this by providing special rates for doctors and surgeons who have come to work on the island and has helped families harmed by hurricane Tomas in 2010. The resort also provides funds to underwrite projects of the Living Water Community, a local charity.
More recently, Ladera launched the new book “A History of St Lucia”. The resort donated 100 of the books to schools on the island at a private ceremony held at the Governor’s home.
Twenty years ago the Ladera’s mission was to create a showpiece property that was quintessentially St Lucian, one that embraced the magnificent views and offered a seamless experience with the natural beauty and bounty of the island. Under the guidance of Olivier Bottois this 20th Year, Ladera is ready to reach even greater heights as the “Best of the Best” hotel in the world.