Little Palm Island Resort in the Florida Keys

  • 01 of 10

    Little Palm Island in a Nutshell

    © Yuri Daiter.

    A totally romantic resort in the Florida Keys, Little Palm Island is located 3.5 miles off shore from the mainland at mile marker 28.5.

    Accessible only by boat or seaplane, this private-island resort for guests 16 years of age or older opened in 1988. Since then, it's racked up an impressive list of world's-best awards from leading travel magazines.

    To begin your island idyll, park and walk to the welcome center/lobby on the mainland to check in and tag your luggage. You'll be offered a Gumby Slumber (rum coconut drink) while you wait for the hotel's wooden motor boat to speed you across the water to the resort. The trip takes 15 minutes, and the boat leaves every hour on the half hour.

    Prior to your arrival, you will have received an email to assist you in making reservations for dining, spa treatments, and romantic turndown amenities during your stay.

    Once you land on the island, you can take a quick tour of the nearly six-acre property, which includes 28 oceanfront bungalows and two grand suites, all with a thatched roof. The tour includes the great room (which houses the resort's only TV), the Zagat-rated Dining Room, Spa Terre, the quiet beach, the small pool, and the quarter deck, which is a 24-hour information hut.

    Note: Cellphone use is prohibited outside of suites.

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  • 02 of 10

    Accommodations at Little Palm Island

    © Yuri Daiter.

    Utterly romantic and totally luxurious, your suite or bungalow can be identified by the display of your last name at the entrance, where a private staircase leads up to your thatched-roof bit of heaven.

    White fabrics adorn the bed, sofa, chair, and windows in the comfortable living room, which has high ceilings, light-colored walls, and stone tiles in earthy shades. All ocean-facing rooms are air conditioned. If you prefer fresh air and sunlight, open the door.

    Slightly elevated, the Frette-linen-covered, king-size, four-poster bed features multiple pillows and a small step stool to ascend. Within arm's reach is an iHome clock radio with an iPod cradle.

    For some good clean fun, the large bathroom features a jetted bathtub for two. There's also a walk-in shower with multiple heads including vertical body sprays on two walls and a rainshower unit above.

    The bathroom contains dual sinks, a magnified mirror, ample lighting, and Noble House amenities scented with mango and coconut. Cuddle up in soft Italian-made cotton robes and use the supplied slippers to keep feet warm on the stone tiles.

    If you like, wash outdoors in the suite's other private shower, which is surrounded by a bamboo enclosure.

    Guests also can make use of their private veranda, an espresso maker, a safe, and a minibar stocked with soda, juice, and water.

    Need to get some work done, or send off a note? There's a workspace at the foot of the bed. Stationery pre-printed with the guest's name is supplied.

    Quarters do not have TVs, but chess and backgammon sets are provided, along with binoculars. Tip: Bring a laptop to watch your own movies if you can't go without digital stimulation.

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  • 03 of 10

    Dining at Little Palm Island

    © Yuri Daiter.

    Little Palm Island offers its guests several dining options. Have breakfast on your private veranda; put in your order before you go to sleep so it arrives at a specified time. Eat lunch by the beach or the pool. The resort's enormous Kobe-style beef hot dog elicited talk of priapism among guests. Side dishes include French, sweet potato, or yuka fries. Shrimp quesadillas, also on the menu, are a bit bland.

    All meals are also available in The Dining Room, which overlooks the water and has both indoor and veranda seating. Fairly elaborate dishes combine French and tropical Latin influences. Although there's a choice of desserts, Key Lime pie is the most requested.

    You can also ask the staff to arrange a personalized, private dinner at your choice of romantic location on the island.

    And if the sound of swaying palm trees isn't enough, there's live music nightly, jazz and easy listening tunes at the Monkey Bar.

    Notes: In the restaurant, reservations are required and no jeans are allowed. Also, guests not overnighting on the island may come for dinner or the popular $75 per person Sunday brunch. Upon arrival on the island, restaurant guests are chaperoned to the restaurant; they are not permitted to freely roam the rest of the premises.

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  • 04 of 10

    Weddings, Honeymoons, and Romance at Little Palm Island

    © Yuri Daiter.

    Little Palm Island specializes in hosting small weddings of up to 40 guests. (For larger weddings, the entire island can be reserved under the Own the Island program.) An on-site wedding planner will present the pre-set package and can customize the event, helping a couple decide on details such as whether to have a seated dinner or a buffet-style meal.

    Popular ceremony locations include the beach at sunset (barefoot, of course), the Palapa Point Gazebo, and the Zen garden, which features a small bridge that arcs over a stream. For the bride willing to stroll down a long aisle, the long Sunset dock (seen in photo) makes for a dramatic setting.

    Only one wedding is permitted on Little Palm Island daily. Often the bride and groom remain at the resort as guests. Once the wedding is over, friends and family sail back to the mainland and it's time to start your honeymoon. Note: Only guests ages 16 and older are permitted to attend weddings.

    A sybaritic isle, Little Palm offers an array of honeymoon and romance packages and even offers value rates for select dates. Check out the latest packages on the resort's Web site.

    In addition, the resort can enhance a stay with special welcome and turndown amenities. These can include rose petals and candles upon your return from dinner; Champagne and chocolate truffles; a one-time all weather camera and a custom-engraved Little Palm Island photo album to preserve your shots.

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  • 05 of 10

    Pool and Beach at Little Palm Island

    © Yuri Daiter.
    Beach lovers should not expect the vastness of Miami Beach on this small island in the Atlantic Ocean. The small, sandy stretch is calm and quiet, bay like and viewable from rooms. However, guests can't enter the water directly from accommodations; the resort beach is a very short walk to the west side of the island.

    Tropical foliage surrounds both the beach and the adjacent lagoon-style pool. Both have comfortable lounge chairs and umbrellas. Bottled water is complimentary at both, but most vacationers opt for a Gumby Slumber or Paradise Found libation, which can be quaffed at the poolside bar or delivered to the beach or by the pool.

    Thanks to the resort's no-cellphones-in-public-spaces policy, guests won't be interrupted by ringing phones or annoyed by overhearing one-way conversations. It's nice and peaceful here.

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  • 06 of 10

    Spa at Little Palm Island

    © Yuri Daiter.

    Indonesian-insipired Spa Terre is located inside a two-story structure. It has four treatment rooms upstairs, and guests may also receive services in other spots on the island, such as the rainforest pavilion or in your own suite.

    Spa services includes massages, facials, bodywraps, manicures, and pedicures. Day spa packages are available and prices generally include gratuities.

    Couples can certainly luxuriate at Little Palm Island. The spa has two couples baths. One is surrounded by trees behind the spa with a privacy wall. The other is located inside the spa, on the upstairs deck and filled with fresh rose petals.

    The lower level houses a small but adequate fitness room with ellipticals, treadmills, and free weights. It is open 24 hours a day. Mediation and yoga classes are available as are fresh fruit and towels.

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  • 07 of 10

    Activities at Little Palm Island

    © Yuri Daiter.

    Most couples come to Little Palm Island simply to relax and spend quality time together. When you stroll around the island, you'll find lounge chairs set two by two and hammocks strung in sites both scenic and secluded.

    If lying by the beach or pool all day is not your thing and spa treatments also don't appeal, there's still enough to do in good weather. (In bad weather, after you check out the gift shop, you'll have to make your own fun in your luxurious room, isolated from the world and all disturbances.)

    Like to see what's undersea? The 30-foot Island Girl is used for taking guests on snorkeling and scuba diving excursions. Diving certification needs to be arranged prior to a visit; contact the resort for information. Once you're certified, equipment, plus towels, refreshments, and a guide are provided.

    At the dive shop, you can schedule a deep sea, backcountry, or flats fishing trip. Looking for something more romantic? A 33-foot catamaran is used for sunset cruises; wine and cheese are available for purchase.

    Animal lovers can seek out key deer on the island. They swim between island and mainland, weigh between 50 and 75 pounds, and grow to about 30 inches tall. And yes, you can pet them. Rooms contain binoculars so guests can look for tropical birds and other island wildlife.

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  • 08 of 10

    What Could Be Better at Little Palm Island

    © Yuri Daiter.

    Little Palm Island is a fabulous getaway for a couple in love. They can expect a gorgeous room, amazing bath, and awesome beck-and-call service.

    Be aware, though that prices are high. It cost $23 -- plus tax and tip -- for an order of chips and salsa at the beach. As for the restaurant fare, it's heavily flavored with Latin coconut and mango accents. If that's not to your taste, tell the waiter and you can be accommodated.

    Some couples may be frustrated that there's no TV and Internet in the room. Bring your own laptop loaded with a few movies to provide entertainment if it rains.

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  • 09 of 10

    Is Little Palm Island Right for You?

    © Yuri Daiter.
    Unless you arrive on Little Palm Island as a couple, you will feel isolated and out of place. Guests are friendly, though. When we visited, most were in the 35-65 age range, wealthy and conservative in dress and speech. It's not a party crowd. Kids under 16 are not allowed. You won't hear babies crying or ringing phones.

    Service is truly superb and everything runs smoothly from the moment you arrive. There's waiter service on the beach to set up your chairs, and nothing missing when room service comes.

    If you're able to take a luxurious and yes, expensive, vacation, you'll find that Little Palm Island will provide a peaceful, relaxing, thoroughly romantic getaway for two.

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  • 10 of 10

    Little Palm Island Info and Reservations

    © Yuri Daiter, licensed to, Inc.

    Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
    28500 Overseas Highway
    Little Torch Key, Florida 33042
    Reservations: 305-872-2524

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    To reach the resort, couples typically drive south from Miami over magnificent Route 1 or fly to one of the local airports. Transportation is provided from both Key West and Marathon airports, approximately 40 miles away.

    Search for a Flight to Marathon, Key West or Miami, Florida