Saint Lucia and luxury at Ladera Resort

In the West Indies’ most picturesque region lies this heavenly resort.

All the villas at this St Lucian paradise retreat are missing something any normal architect worth their salt would consider essential: a fourth wall.

But there’s method in the madness once you see its location. Perched on the crest of a tropical volcanic mountain overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Ladera surely has some of the best views in the world and omitted a wall from each of its 32 luxury suites to make the most of them.

And it gets better: made from tropical hardwoods, stone and tile, with locally crafted furniture, all of the suites have plunge pools from which to take in that view of the needle-like Piton Mountains and the azure coast beyond.

Once a famous cocoa plantation, the property was converted into a resort over 30 years ago.

While there are plenty of things to do around Ladera – whale-watching, rainforest walks and hikes up to the 2600-foot-high peak of the second highest mountain on the island, Gros Piton – St Lucia has a rich cultural heritage that shouldn’t be neglected.

Due to its colonial past, it’s steeped in French, British and African traditions, all of which are on show during the annual Carnival, held from the end of May through to mid July.

There’s also the St Lucia Jazz Festival in May, which draws artists from all over the world and is getting bigger every year.

Back at Ladera, you can head to the spa or the on-site bar and restaurant Dasheene. Headed by native St Lucian and award-winning chef Nigel Mitchell, it draws visitors from all over the island.

You can experience three-walled luxury from $672 per night, or stay in one of two villas from $1408.