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“Rustic Rainforest Stay Near My Favorite Beach in St. Croix”
Review of Northside Valley

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Northside Valley
Reviewed June 11, 2014

If you’re looking for a stay that smells like a bath of chlorine and sunscreen, then this is not the accommodation for you. Northside Valley provided the rustic, nature-immersed lodging that we could hope for. The whole point of the place is escape into nature and to fall in love with the off-the-beaten-path atmosphere. The villas themselves are expansive, with plenty of bedroom space and kitchen amenities. It’s near my favorite beach on the island, Rainbow Beach, not to mention the picturesque Butler Bay. And if you’re looking for that secluded spot to watch the sunset, Monk’s Bath is LITERALLY ACROSS THE ROAD.

And to address a common concern I’ve noticed in reviews: Insects. The villa we stayed in had a minor problem with millipedes occasionally slipping through the doorways. As for the cockroaches, they’re really an island-wide issue. Our stay in a condo just north of urban Christiansted was vulnerable to roaches as well. I want to emphasize that even though we spotted a grand total of three DEAD roaches, we were never bothered by any live ones.

The bottom line is Northside Valley is wonderful stay if you’re looking for secluded, rustic accommodation close to the beach. After nearly a week of the rowdy Christiansted, it was wonderful to relax in the peace and quiet of the rain forest.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Derek S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 - 37 of 69 reviews

Reviewed June 3, 2014

I'd like to begin by saying that in no way am I looking to disrespect Ginger, the owner and caretaker of Northside Valley. In fact, she was one of the best parts about the experience we had there, beginning back when we booked our stay many, many months ago. She was very attentive, answering e-mails promptly and even sending us a customized map. She was not "on island" during our stay, and that was offered as a reason for some of the things I'll describe below. We're not sure if that's the case, but Ginger did give us a refund for the 5 nights we didn't stay at Northside. Yes, it was bad enough that we felt we had to leave...

After our experience in Villa Lucienda, we firmly believe that people need to know exactly what they're getting into if they choose to stay at Northside. We knew that our accommodations would be rustic, we knew that we would be staying among nature, and we were more than okay with that. Our house here in Maryland backs up to woods, so we are certainly familiar with all manner of critters and such. What we didn't expect was to walk into the villa we had rented for our anniversary vacation on a beautiful tropical island, only to be greeted by dozens and dozens of millipedes marching across the floor of the gallery. They climbed the walls of the closet where our clothes were to be hung, traversed the ceiling of the kitchen and dining area. This, we decided we could live with. We would simply use the provided broom and dust pan to sweep them up and put them back outside. The only problem was, for every one we removed, 5 more were there to take it's place. A never-ending wave of millipedes all day and night...

As we inspected our living quarters more closely, it became very apparent that cleaning was not a priority. The floor was filthy, to the point that we would not remove our shoes for the entire time we were there. The linens on the bed and in the bathroom did not smell fresh at all, and one of the towels in the bathroom had a mysterious brown stain on it. All of the throw rugs in the villa appeared as though they hadn't been washed in quite some time. This, we decided we could possibly live with, but our suitcases went back out into our rented Jeep and our clothes remained in plastic bags so as not to pick up any of the latent dirt (or whatever) that was prevalent throughout the whole villa.

Northside's website, and a lot of reviews from other guests promise cool breezes through the screened windows (remember, there is no glass in the windows here and no air conditioning), helped by the ceiling fans. No. The ceiling fan in Villa Lucienda's larger bedroom had one speed - barely moving. Seemingly to combat this, a filthy floor fan was provided which unfortunately had to be used to provide any kind of air circulation. You will be very, very warm and this is not the least bit relaxing if you've been out all day in the hot sun. Now, this could be construed as one of those "needing to tough it out" things, and we completely understand that. However based on everything we read, we fully anticipated at least some breezes, and cooler nights, and that was not at all the case. Still, we could have lived with this.

Hot water. No. If you take more than a 4-5 minute shower, forget it. The rest of your time in the shower will be spent under water that grows increasingly cold. Also, the outdoor shower is not really something to look forward to. It's little more than a shower head sticking out of the side of the villa, and you can expect to be eaten alive by mosquitoes if you spend any more than 10 seconds outside soaking wet in among all of the grasses and foliage. The mosquitoes weren't just a problem at Northside by any means...that was the whole island as we came to find out.

Now, for the reason we left. Roaches. When we arrived at our villa, we found a couple of very large (3 inch or so) dead roaches. One on the ledge of the bathroom window, and one in the gallery on the table. As disheartening as this was, we decided that since they were dead we could, again, live with this. I will tell you, the first night trying to sleep with visions of millipedes and dead roaches dancing in your head, was very, very challenging. The second night, we came back late as we had taken the Bio-Luminescence See-Thru Kayaking tour (do this, it's amazing). Nighttime equals roach activity, so we saw large ones that were alive and kicking in the kitchen, a leg on the nightstand in the second bedroom, many pieces in a woven basket sitting in the gallery (further proof that no one had cleaned in some time), more live action in the gallery. This, my friends, was what finally did it. We had purchased ant and roach spray at the local K-Mart, and we sprayed and sprayed. Clothes were immediately shaken out and packed away into our Jeep, and we waited until it was light enough outside to trek down to the Big House for an internet signal so we could book another hotel.

If you are able to make it past all of that, you will no doubt enjoy the absolutely stunning views and landscape that Northside offers. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the outside experience, because it was very peaceful and serene. It just couldn't possibly overcome everything else, and we do truly feel that future visitors must be made aware. If we had known, we would NEVER have booked a stay there, and we would have avoided a potentially disastrous end to our St. Croix experience. Thankfully, we found another place and our journey continued...

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Suzy V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CruzanRoots, Owner at Northside Valley, responded to this reviewResponded June 4, 2014

I am sorry for your experience at Northside. Weather conditions influenced some of the issues you encountered. On balance our guests enjoy Northside's natural setting. I trust that the refund we provided was satisfactory.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2014

This is a tough review to write. Just to give you some perspective on our background, my wife is a field ecologist and we’ve stayed in field stations and eco-lodges across the world (Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Egypt, South Africa, etc) so we are very familiar with this sort of arrangement. Also, we came in May during the off-season when Ginger wasn’t in St. Croix, so that may have given us a different experience that what most people have.

First, the good. We stayed in Shepherd’s Hut and the location is absolutely gorgeous; very lush with lots of flowering trees and shrubs that come right up to the villa. It’s also several miles north of Frederiksted so you really won’t see anyone else if you don’t want to. Our villa was very large and stayed quite cool both day and night. The price of the villa was very reasonable too for St. Croix and if you like lizards and birds, you’ll see lots of wildlife. The ocean is relatively close (~200 yards) and the beach was nice and sandy. Finally, everyone we dealt with was very pleasant and they were quite prompt in fixing problems.

Now, the not so good. You are cautioned to expect insects and wildlife to make their way inside the villa, which did not bother us, however it went far beyond what we expected or have experienced in the past. With no exaggeration, we removed ~100 millipedes from the house per day and also had a significant number of cockroaches, centipedes (7+ inches), and spiders. We had roaches falling on us unexpectedly from the ceiling and found them in our luggage. The caretaker did bug spray a couple times and we had piles of borax outside each entry, but it didn’t do much to help.

There was also a cleanliness issue in villa. There appeared to be a bit of a mold problem in the bathroom as well as used toiletries (e.g. bar of soap) from the previous occupants. I don’t know if the bathroom had been cleaned before we moved in or not, it seemed like it might not have. There were also dirty dishes left from the previous tenants.

Another major issue for us was the dump-truck traffic. There is apparently a quarry or something of that ilk nearby and dump-trucks full of rock go up and down the road near Northside. This made it hard to sleep, as Shepherd’s Hut is closer to the road and the noise was very evident. Other villas might not have this issue.

Other things to be aware of, the property sits on a hill, so if you need to use the internet you have to go up or down to The Big House and sit on the deck (which can be challenging in bad weather). Also, the road runs between Northside and the beach. You really can’t swim at the beach by Northside because it’s too rocky. Finally, while the villas are only a coupe miles from Frederiksted, the road to town is winding and littered with axel-breaking pot holes (no exaggeration), thus it can easily take 15 minutes by car to get into town.

Overall, it just wasn’t a restful experience, and I really cannot recommend Northside Valley, particularly in the offseason. Based off the other reviews of Northside on TripAdvisor, my guess is that Ginger may make a world of difference, and we were sorry we missed her. Also, my wife thinks that our insect problems may be worse due to the season—late May/early June—though of course we can’t be sure.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank John S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CruzanRoots, Owner at Northside Valley, responded to this reviewResponded June 4, 2014

I am sorry for your experience at Northside. Weather conditions influenced some of the issues you encountered. On balance our guests enjoy Northside's natural setting.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2014

Our stay at Northside Valley was wonderful. The cottage was surrounded by all sorts of tropical trees and flowers; comfortable patios provided pleasant shady spots to sit outside or inside. We cooked some meals in the kitchen and enjoyed others out at St Croix restaurants.

Ginger, the owner, is friendly and welcoming; she hosted a campfire one night and we enjoyed time with other guests. She knows the island so well and pointed out many places for us to visit.

We look forward to going back.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Arthur K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2014

This is a great place for nature lovers and people who are accustomed to camping and being surrounded by nature vs. activities and lots of people. The place is rustic and could use a little upkeep but it serves its purpose, a place to sleep while being in touch with nature. We spent most of our time exploring the island not in the villa. You are in the middle of a rain forest area so with that comes the bugs and wildlife that live there. It is very quiet and Ginger is very helpful and willing to accommodate as best she can. The other guests are also nice and far enough where everyone has a bit of privacy between the trees. The road to Northside is a bit tricky, but the good news is that road work had just started to fix it as we were leaving. Go slow and definitely rent an SUV and you will be ok. You should get an SUV anyway to explore the rest of the island which is beautiful and there's lots to do. The drive into town is not that far and its nice to be tucked away with nature. If you can get used to the nature sounds and life, you will be fine here. It is a dark road at night but not many cars are on that road, drive slow with the high beams and you should be ok. The place is very safe too, tucked away, no one really bothers you here. Have fun with it if you decide to visit. :)

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank marlyd71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2014 via mobile

Stayed in Nita's fancy- which was the perfect amount or space for a family of 4. We had plenty of water pressure (better that at the house we rented earlier in our vacation!) and even hot water. Lots of towels and kitchen had everything you'd need- even a blender for those frozen cocktails! Or smoothies, of course! :) Beds were comfy and had no issue with Mosquitos. My kids are 10 and 12, and loved searching for lizards and watching the doves swoop through the papaya trees. My husband and I both slept really well- the night sounds actually sound like the "jungle" on my relaxation app! Only a short stay, so we didn't make it to the monks baths, but hung out at butler bay, which is a tiny sandy beach between Northside and rainbow beach and loved it!! Great snorkeling, sandy beach, and we were the only ones there! In defense of the road- the highway department was there all day Friday, and they definitely made some progress. It's a little inconvenient, but they are working on it. You have to drive slow, but is that a huge deal when you're on vacation? Plus, along with the lack of cell coverage, it adds to the remote feel, which we liked! This location was great for exploring the rainforest and west end. You could easily bike around if you were going to stick to the west side beaches and frederiksted. Because of the kids, we prefer a pool for a longer stay, and a more central location for exploring other parts of the island- but we're so glad we found Northside valley for our last night! It was a great value, too. We paid $200/night for a two bedroom villa. You really can't say enough about the owner/manager- so sweet and helpful! What a great place. We will definitely return.

  • Stayed: March 2014
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Thank mvkate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2014

My girlfriend and I stayed here over the valentines day weekend about a week ago and had the most amazing time! Lucienda was the name of the villa we stayed in was super quiet and had the most beautiful views. Ginger, the owner was the sweetest woman always available to answer any questions about the island or feed us sweet fruits that grew around the villas. The villa was very clean with all the amenities such as stove, fridge, and multiple showers inside and out. We had a few bikes at the villa so we didn't even bother renting a car, this way we really got to explore the west side of the island and not miss a thing. Being on the west side of the island this area has some of the best sunsets to be seen. All you need to do is just grab your loved one or your friends and a bottle of local rum and walk down to the ocean to see it.

If you are looking for a laid back place with beautiful views, wonderful people, and unforgettable memories this is the place to go! I will definitely back very soon!

Room Tip: Just email the owners they will direct you to what suits your needs the best.
  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank austin c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Northside Valley

Address: 2 Estate Northside, Frederiksted 00841, St. Croix
Location: Caribbean > U.S. Virgin Islands > St. Croix > Frederiksted
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Frederiksted
Price Range: $100 - $215 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Northside Valley's eight villas enthrall the senses with lush landscaping, birdsong, and ocean views. Stargaze or relax on your villa's deck and enjoy the tropical breezes. High ceilings, wide windows, and native trees cool our guests as well as draw attention to the villa's island setting. The crystal-clear, blue water at Northside Valley's beach entices the avid snorkeler with sightings of turtles, colorful seafans, and the big-eyed squirrel fish. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Northside Valley Hotel Frederiksted
Northside Valley St. Croix/Frederiksted

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