My husband and I stayed at Unit 16, Bella La Vita, from December 20-27. Other than an initial glitch in locating the property manager to guide us to our villa when we arrived the evening of 12/20 (since we had no idea where we were going and no guide to drive us there and no keys yet for the villa), after an hour of attempting contact w/ the manager we finally opted for a night in a hotel (with a local cab driver, Joseph, guiding us to the hotel as we drove our rental car behind him). The good news is that 1) the property manager did make contact with us and was able to guide us to Villa Madeleine the next day and 2) the rental company reimbursed us for one night's worth of lodging, which we appreciated.
As for the villa, it was very beautiful and had an awesome view. If you rent at Villa Madeleine, make sure you rent one of the villas higher up on the hill, like #15, #16, or #17 (not sure if all of these are rentals), or the villas in the 40's. Lower level villas don't have much of a view and you are looking at either parking lot or tennis court or the back of another villa. Bella La Vita was VERY well maintained, despite some dated kitchen appliances and cabinetry. It was nicely decorated, has a washer/dryer combo; grill, table and chairs, chaise lounges on the pool deck. There were some minor issues in that the various remotes used to control t.v. and cable and dvd had some weak or dead batteries and there were no replacement batteries on hand, but we just switched batteries from other remotes and finally got things working (not that we were watching a lot of t.v. as we had a lot of exploring to do). Another small irritant was a the constantly yapping little dog that lives in one of the units down the hill. One evening the owners of that unit must have gone out and they left all their windows open so you could hear that little dog barking for hours on end (I have four dogs myself, but this was ridiculous and I ended up closing our windows because the way the villas are situated causes noise to travel very well). Beware of the small biting bugs that come out at sunset!!!! This is not a problem with the villa but with St. Croix in general. Make sure you wear insect repellant of some type or you will be covered in tiny, itchy bites (like me).
Overall, this was a great location. It is very near to Point Udall, overlooks the Divi Resort (the casino? well, don't waste your time. Las Vegas it ain't. One big room with mostly locals playing slots). If you go down the hill to the main road, Duggan's is right across the street and we went there 2 nights, and then the Blue Water Terrace is down the road towards Christiansted about a mile or so and we really liked the vibe there, despite it not being right on the beach like Duggan's. If you get a chance, take the hike up at Point Udall down to Isaac Beach. I can guarantee you will be one of only a few people there. We didn't get to snorkel there but I hear it is a good place for it. If you continue on that trail past Isaac Point, you get to Jack's Beach, but we didn't make it that far. This end of the island is mostly low brush and cacti. South Shore Road is flat and scenic and is a great drive until you eventually get to the abandoned Hovensa refinery (which sounds like a major debacle and caused the unemployment of about 3,000 people a couple of years back). BEWARE of wandering dogs!!!! I can't stress this enough if you are a dog lover. On South Shore Road we saw two dead dogs within 100 feet of eachother lying in the road (a German Shepard with a red collar and then another smaller dog). Three hours later we drove by and they were still there. A couple of days later I met the doctor wife of a local storeowner who had ultimately moved the German Shepard out of the road at least (coincidence!) This is the culture on the island, I've been told, and a lot of folks let their dogs run free and they are then left to rot on the side of the road (even though they make darn sure they cage their goats in!). Again, not a reflection on the villa itself, just something to be aware of if you are a fan of dogs or animals in general.
We were actually considering perhaps buying a unit for ourselves and I understand one of the units in the 40s is for sale; however, the association dues (which cover quite a bit, I understand) are approximately $1,600 per month. This, on top of a mortgage payment for a $299,000 villa doesn't really make economic sense). Better off to rent at this location and I would definitely recommend Bella La Vita.
- Also Known As:
- Villa Madeleine Resort Condominium Hotel St. Croix
- Villa Madeleine Resort Condominium St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands