Fodor's 100 Best: Such hotels are dreams made on! I love lists, especially when they fuel travel aspirations in the middle of the work day. Word of warning: Fodor's recently-released 100 Hotel Awards 2013 should not be read while you're at the office. You'll be hooked. You'll stop doing what you're paid to do. And there's a significant chance that you'll ignore your boss's email and instead you'll be tapping away on the reservations web site of a glamorous hotel, such as this one below. The hotel that has been grabbing my attention all morning is the Ladera Resort in Saint Lucia, which shines in the "Exotic Hideaways" category of Fodor's annual round-up. [caption id="attachment_16137" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Poolside at Ladera Resort, St. Lucia (Courtesy: Ladera Resort)[/caption]
•••What did the Fodor's judges say? "The elegantly rustic Ladera...takes a tasteful, local approach to furnishings, food, and service, making it one of the most sophisticated small inns in the Caribbean." What really makes me want to bed down for the night in this hotel? • Ladera is the only resort on Saint Lucia that overlooks the Pitons, two volcanic spires, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. The chic property, located in the town of Soufrière, sits on a forested ridge 335 metres feet above the Caribbean. (Who wouldn't fall in love with a view like that?) • Ladera is recognized as the pioneer of the concept of the open-air, three-walled guest suite. (I'd sleep like a baby.) • Management prides itself on operating a resort that is authentically Saint Lucian, and relies on local artisans and craftsmen to product all of their handcrafted furniture. (No imported Scandinavian cube-like furniture in a tropical setting. The two just don't jive. I like the authentic touch. When in Rome...) • For the complete scoop on both the yays and nays from the Fodor's judges, check out the Pros and Cons review. For more picturesque explanations of why Ladera won for its exotic appeal, these images tell all: [caption id="attachment_16141" align="aligncenter" width="330"] All of the furniture at the Ladera Resort is made by local artisans.[/caption]
•••[caption id="attachment_16142" align="aligncenter" width="330"] Room with a view at the Ladera Resort: Instagram this view![/caption]
•••[caption id="attachment_16143" align="aligncenter" width="330"] You're almost never without a magnificent view at the Ladera, even while dining.[/caption]
•••[caption id="attachment_16145" align="aligncenter" width="220"] Ladera Resort at night[/caption]
•••Canadian properties that made it onto Fodor's 100 2013 list in other categories include the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal (as an Enduring Classic), the Four Seasons Toronto (as a Culinary Gem), and Toronto's one-of-a-kind Gladstone Hotel (in the Home Suites Home category). Some of my own personal hotel bests based on my travels so far in 2013? I'd give a HUGE shout-out to Shangri-La Vancouver for running one of the best hotel spas I've ever experienced. No one should pass through this life without spending an afternoon in the hotel's Chi The Spa. I can also swear on a stack of coasters that their sister property, Shangri-La Toronto, would win in a category for Best Patio Bar (and the designer-proud rooms are picture-perfect). The food at The Hazelton in Toronto is hard to rival. And if you want time-honoured elegance, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier does it for me. But for today, as I write this on a wet Monday morning, St. Lucia is topping the list. I'd love to know about your favourite hotels, exotic or not!