Ben Kilbey in LondonWith the World Travel Awards rapidly approaching - this year being hosted on the majestic Caribbean island of Barbados - the excitement is mounting. Ladera is nominated for St. Lucia’s Leading Hotel. Whilst at this years World Travel Market, Caribbean Travel News Editor Ben Kilbey, caught up with Ladera’s General Manager Robert Stewart to see how business is and see what it is that sets Ladera apart.Robert Stewart has been with Ladera for three months. Buisness is reported as being ‘good’ at the 25 room property. Located in the St. Lucian hills Ladera takes full advantage of its natural surroundings, offering a unique design in guest accommodations. Each of its 6 villas and 19 suites has an “open wall” - the west side of each unit has been left open, inviting one of the world’s most breathtaking views into the suites. At the same time each suite at Ladera offers complete privacy.
The majority of guests who stay at Ladera originate from the US. Whilst at World Travel Market Robert had one clear objective,
“a large proportion of our clientele comes from the US - we are keen to develop the UK market as I believe Ladera is a perfect destination for the UK visitors. This is what we hope to achieve from WTM.”
With only three walls to every room it may be conceived that people can see into your room however - Ladera was built perched on the top rim of a ridge 1,000 feet above sea level, overlooking the Caribbean. Because of its height, and the fact that it is nestled into the hillside, no one but the birds can see into your room.
Stewart is enthusiastic about the layout of the rooms and why Ladera will be such a hit with the British public,
“Ladera is quite unique at 1000ft you are really getting back to nature - there are amazing views and lush gardens. We have found our guest really enjoy this notion of getting back to nature. Ladera is very well suited for the British market with its personalised laid back approach.”
Being located in the mountains does not mean that you have to skimp on the beaches of St. Lucia. There is an hourly shuttle service to a nearby beach. The journey time is roughly 15-20 minutes and all beach essentials are supplied.
If clients are looking for the best of both worlds then holidays are organised to suit this - the traveller will spend three nights at Ladera and three nights at the beach located East Winds Resort.
Ladera takes some 30 percent of its booking online. Owing to this Robert realises the importance of the Internet in global marketing terms. “Any company in the travel business knows that the Internet is an important tool. We are actually in the process of upgrading our site as we speak.”
So just how important was World Travel Market to Ladera and business driven to the property?
“WTM is an excellent opportunity to talk to people that you don’t usually get to meet. This is a very important event to Ladera and it assists us in getting the job done much more quickly.”
At present around 20 percent of the properties arrivals come from the UK. The GM believes that the product will be very easy to sell to the UK and one component that is extremely strong is the wedding market, says Roberts,
“Our wedding packages are very popular and can be tailored to the individual. The customer tells us what they want and then they just turn up. We also have a tremendous honeymoon business - Ladera is the most unbelievable spot.”
So if you are looking for a romantic get-away - free of the stresses and strains of normality. Couple this with one of the best views in the Caribbean and the recognition of being voted #3 in Caribbean Hotels in the 2004 Conde Nast Readers Choice Awards - look no further than Ladera.
For more information on Ladera visit www.ladera.com
For more information on the World Travel Awards go to www.worldtravelawards.com
Make a note:
The World Travel Awards will take place Dec. 11 at the Sherbourne Conference centre in Barbados.