Through Ryan’s eyes: (be sure to read with Ryan’s Zimbabwean accent!)
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport was very quiet and we breezed through check-in and TSA with absolute ease.
The Atlanta airport including the rail system was uncrowded, and social distancing markers and posted signs stating requirements and recommendations were everywhere. Audible announcements about the same could be heard throughout the short journey on the train.
*Masks were required throughout the navigation of both SRQ and ATL airports.
Boarding with limited seating available on the aircraft – from the rear of the plane – was smooth and uncongested with no standing and waiting for any reason. Masks were required on the aircraft for the duration of both flights. On both flights, sealed clear plastic bags with snacks, water and a wipe were distributed by the cabin crew.
Every step of the way it was very clear that the airport and aircraft staff and crews were doing all possible to keep the travelers and the staff/crew as safe as possible. We felt very safe and I certainly felt that all spaces were very clean. Far fewer touchpoints (opportunities for transmission) than there were before.
Arrival into St. Lucia to Ladera
Between the aircraft and our guest room we had our temperature taken 5 times.
It is clear that everyone there is taking the precautions very seriously and being very thorough in their commitment to keeping their populations safe from exposure by implementing these requirements. We felt safe and welcomed.
It is also clear that those delivering the arrivals (immigrations, health and customs) processing, airport welcomes, vehicle services, property security and hospitality staff are all, like everyone else, just learning these new procedures as delivery was not particularly smooth.
I expect that with time and exposure the idea of having something gun-like pointed directly at your head so often (without flinching) will become a little less intrusive and inhospitable.
Ladera, the property itself
The physical structures are perched atop a ridge facing southwest with truly spectacular views of the ever present Gros Piton and Petite Piton with Sugar Beach below. Alex gave me the challenge of capturing the property without including those geographical features that flood online image searches of the property. The truth is, they are inescapable. They stare back at you from a variety of perspectives. Day and night. No matter where you are on property. (I failed dismally at the task of not including those Pitons in the images, Alex.)
The hardware is old. The service is warm and sincere with lots of island flavor. The food is fresh and flavorful. Service was somewhat out of practice and for a property that claims and aims for high position internationally, they need work. At times, service was slow. But your time at Ladera should be slow.
We had our temperature taken 5 times a day: each time we entered the common areas of the property, and every time we left and returned to the property. All staff were wearing masks at all times.