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SBH: Say ahhhhhhhhh

You didn't really think that I was going to miss out on a massage, did you? Nope! And neither should you! There are many spas here and they are all good, but what you should know about are the well-being services that are found beyond the hotel and resort spa locations.  If you want a great massage, a mani-pedi after all that time at the beach, or you need a little waxing, stop over to Spa Oasis in Lorient. It's a small, but nicely appointed space. Sandra and Manon, the owners/therapists, do a wonderful job. At about 30-50% less than the hotel spas, you get the same or better service, just without the beach view or massive changing room. It's still relaxing and easier on...

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SBH: What time is it?

Set your clocks, phones, and watches to military time and be done with it. A maitre d' might confirm your reservation for "8 o'clock this evening" if they know that you are North American. However, on his calendar it will say 20h00. From time to time you might get someone saying 18h00 and you brain-knee-jerk drop the "1" and think 8 p.m. as opposed to 6 p.m. so it's just better to reference everything according to the 24 hour clock as shop hours (horaires), flights, etc. are made according to this schedule.  And, there's no Daylight Savings Time so the time is the time all year. What time is that? Atlantic Standard Time (AST) or 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

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SBH: What is it?

Simply, it's an island in the Caribbean, but it's so much more than than. I describe St. Barth as the child of the best of France and the Caribbean. The cuisine, wines, shopping, nature, and so on are wonderful here. And since there is so much to enjoy about this island, during the coming weeks I will give you a little bit of info about all of these and more.  First, the basics. Size: 24 square kilometers (eight square miles for those of us on the imperial system) Location: 17°55 North 62°50 West within the Lesser Antilles and French West Indies People: Fewer than 10,000 year round folks Government: A territory that is governed by France. The Collectivity, as it is known, holds a seat in the...

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SBH: What's in a name?

Is it St. Barts, Saint Barth, or St. Bart's?  All of those are correct...in a fashion. The official name of the island is Saint Barthélemy. It was named by Christopher Columbus for his brother Bartolomeo (Bartholomew). The locals and the francophone world refer to it as Saint Barth or St. Barth so that's what I use. In English, people will often change it to St. Barts and you will see that used in a lot of travel guides. Even specific online forums like SBHOnline.com and St. Barths Online use St. Barts and St. Barths respectively. However, the usage of St. Bart's, though seen often, really isn't correct. Think of the U.S. Virgin Islands, they aren't known as St. John's and St. Thomas's;...

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SBH: Where to lay your head

There are many wonderful hotels on St. Barth, but I am not going to tell you about them. Whether you want to come here alone or with a large group, renting an apartment or house will almost always be less costly. As well, I personally believe it makes for a more relaxed trip since you have your own space. If you are concerned that you will have to clean and shop everyday of your vacation, put that thought out of your mind because most of these properties are professionally-managed and offer soup-to-nuts concierge services. I have used the same leasing agent for years and she's never let me down. Ellie Bettle at Travel Keys is a bit of Villa Rental Goddess....

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