Little Palm Island Resort and Spa
Hotel in Florida Keys
Luxury Island Resort
2013 saw Florida celebrating its 500th anniversary, marking its discovery by explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, who arrived to claim the land for Spain in 1513.
Today, the USA’s Sunshine State draws millions of tourists every year, with most heading to the theme park capital of the world, Orlando. But drive a few hours south from the entertainment mecca to the Florida Keys and you’ll discover a more relaxing holiday vibe... and not a cartoon mouse in sight.
The archipelago has over 1,700 islands, many of them uninhabited or forming part of protected nature reserves. But over 40 of these ‘Keys’ are linked by the Overseas Highway, which leads to the quirky town of Key West, the southernmost point in the USA and the final destination for one of the America’s most iconic road trips.
For those in no hurry to reach the end of the road, turning off the highway at Little Torch Key will lead to the check-in and marina for one of the Keys’ best-kept secrets: the exclusive, five-star hideaway of Little Palm Island Resort & Spa. With its laid-back approach to luxury, Little Palm is the perfect place to ‘get lost’ for a while, as celebrities including Johnny Depp, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz have discovered.
Accessible only by boat or plane, the resort lies on a five-acre, palm-covered, beach-fringed island, three-miles off shore in the Atlantic Ocean. Its 30 super-stylish suites are housed in 15 thatched bungalows, each with a private terrace, gorgeous sea view, sumptuous bed and bathroom and outdoor bamboo shower. Gentle Key deer roam the island and wading dusky-pink roseate spoonbills fish in the shallows. The stresses of the ‘real’ world somehow slip from your shoulders the moment you set foot on the soft, white sand.
For a small island, there’s surprisingly a lot to do. Guests can take out one of the resort’s free kayaks, paddleboards or Boston Whaler boats to explore the surrounding warm blue waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, home to dolphins, turtles and manatees. There are daily diving and snorkeling tours to Looe Key Reef, sunset cruises, eco-tours and private picnic escapes on offer, along with occasional Sandbar Sessions concerts, drawing artists including America, Rickie Lee Jones and Keb Mo to Little Palm.
For those whose purpose is pure relaxation, a hammock on the beach is never more than a few flip-flops away, while the shady pool is the perfect haven for lounging with one of the bar’s specialty martinis. The island’s SpaTerre offers the chance to bliss out in one of its cool and calming treatment rooms or the Palapa Point thatched beach hut, Zen Garden or rainforest area. Treatments and rituals draw on eastern tradition and use luxe creams and oils infused with honey, mango and Key limes, leaving you smelling good enough to eat.
Little Palm has recently expanded its wellness offering to include life-coaching, colour and sound therapy sessions, helping guests to recharge, away from the hectic pace of modern-day life. And with telephones, television and the internet all restricted to the island’s library, The Great Room, it would be rude not to go with the flow and disconnect.
After a day soaking up the sun (the average year-round temperature is 25ºC), dinner is served in the The Dining Room restaurant, or under the stars, with waves lapping gently on the torch-lit beach. The modern tropical menu delivers an exciting blend of French and Pan-Latin cuisine using seasonal, regional ingredients, while the Monkey Hut Lounge’s live acoustic music and a night-cap around the fire-pit provide the perfect end to a perfect day in Paradise.
Little Palm’s secret is simple: Everybody needs to get lost some time, and there’s no better place to do it than here.
Lauren Jarvis is a freelance editorial consultant and travel writer based in London
Photographs courtesy of Little Palm Island and Lauren Jarvis
|Reviewer's Rating||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Ambience||Incredible Staff, Hidden Gem, Romantic|
|Services||Restaurant, Room Service, Swimming Pool, Health Spa|
|Number of Rooms||30 luxury suites in 15 thatched bungalows|
|Related Activity||Relaxation, Beach / Sun|
Island Escape Suite; Island Elegance Suite; Island Romance Suite (all 168m²); Island Grand Suite (305m²); Two Accessible Suites with ramps for wheelchair users.
All the staff are incredibly friendly and help to add to the relaxed island vibe.
Suites range from $690 to $1,590 per night. A bottle of wine costs from $35; Starters from $16; Mains from $49. Approx cost per head $120. Massages from $95 for 25 minutes.
Last updated on 02-10-2015