Above: Ladera (all photos by CJ)
By Alexander Britell
SOUFRIERE — There they are. That ancient pair of green-tree-clothed towers, the Pitons, the jewels that give lush St Lucia its sheen.
Something about these geological formations has long transfixed the traveler.
And at the 37-suite Ladera, the only resort that’s right on their back, I discover why.
Yes. The Pitons are stationary. They are not going anywhere, and will not move again.
They are stationary, but you can watch them.
It’s magnetism, or perhaps magic, but when you’re near these things you simply must look at them. And keep looking.
I was reminded of the Pantheon in Rome, the kind of monument that stands still, frozen in time, but pulses with energy.
Above: the view from the bar
Ladera’s life as a resort dates back to 1992, revolutionizing hotel design with an “open wall” concept — one that omitted the fourth wall to better frame what just might be the Caribbean’s best view.
Today, The property is the Caribbean’s most luxurious eco-lodge: wood-walled, intimate luxury-lodge-style units, each of which has its own pool and that intoxicating view of the Pitons.
Above: the Paradise Ridge suites
It’s the only resort actually located on the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Pitons, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, together.
There’s an excellent restaurant, Dasheene, and a homey bar helmed by a true Caribbean character called Barley.
But it’s hard to extricate the resort from the Pitons themselves.
This is a place that makes it its calling to merge with nature: its on site carving studio uses locally sourced, sustainable wood to make just about everything, most of which is adorned by the masterful hand of craftsman Boniface Modeste.
I stayed in one of the resorts new units, a Paradise Ridge villa.
It was a marvel of a thing, with towering pillars carved by Modeste, a rather large private pool and a detailed, artful design that made me feel as though I were staying in a work of art.
But the room disappeared; the amenities invisible, the tiles and the carvings gone. Soon after I entered.
Looking through the missing fourth wall, there was no resort- there was only the Pitons, with their awesome pull, making me watch them, sometimes for hours.
The room merged with the view – the room was the view, a kind of oneness with nature that’s talked about far more often than realized.
Ladera doesn’t just have a sense of place, a sense of the Pitons, of St Lucia.
It is this place.
And so I thought to myself. Where does Ladera end and the Pitons begin?