Private islands are frequently heralded as the ultimate luxury getaways — and with good reason. Crowd-free restaurants and swimming pools, efficient staff at guests’ every beck and call, and absolute privacy. But the rewards of stealing away to such exclusive retreats often come at a cost that’s measurable less in terms of dollars than in time spent traveling to the far reaches of the world. Tucked away on Florida’s beguiling Little Torch Key, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is a welcome — and wonderful — exception to the rule.
This beautiful private island resort comprises only 30 thatched-roof, bungalow-style suites, each offering up plush comfort in the form of gigantic beds (step stools are helpful and, in turn, provided), deep soaking tubs and outdoor showers.
Dark woods, swathes of frothy white mosquito netting, and ceiling fans whirring lazily complement the island’s lush and tropical landscape, while the absence of TVs and technology is an obvious reminder to guests of just what it is that brought them here.
Little Palm is latticed with winding, sandy pathways, which lead guests to its palm-shaded swimming pool, the impeccable SpaTerre, and a beautifully curated boutique.
Evenings find guests enjoying unhurried and intimate dinners at The Dining Room, where they can savor Executive Chef Luis Pous’s world-class and award- winning cuisine indoors or al fresco. The restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch, as well as one of the most sought-after brunches around.
Drawn by the promise of privacy, and Little Palm’s reputation for outstanding quality that extends to every last offering, celebrities and other notable personalities are no strangers to this tiny island hideaway. In February 2013, Swedish real estate broker and the star of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” Fredrik Eklund married his partner Derek Kaplan on the resort’s modest beach.
At Little Palm, however, you don’t have to be royalty, of the reality TV variety or otherwise, to be treated as such. At this little slice of paradise, it’s all but guaranteed.
A pre- or post-stay visit to Key West gives Little Palm Island guests a total immersion in the Florida Keys experience. Sister property Ocean Key Resort, located on Duval Street, is front and center to Old Town Key West’s eclectic shops, art galleries, decades-old restaurants, and, best of all, bicycle rental shops.
When it comes to enjoying amenities on site, highlights include lounging in an open cabana by the waterfront swimming pool, relaxing on a massage table at SpaTerre, and taking in a fiery sunset during an alfresco dinner at its signature restaurant, Hot Tin Roof. Two first-rate resorts, one perfect vacation. littlepalmisland.com and oceankey.com
Periodically throughout its seasons, Little Palm Island plays host to a wildly popular series of private concerts known as Sandbar Sessions. Past performers include America, Aaron Neville, Indigo Girls, Rickie Lee Jones and jazz/blues artist Keb Mo.
The Florida Keys are a wonderland of wildlife and beautiful scenery, and Little Palm Island’s Adventure Guide offers an array of experiences for guests to take it all in. Think helicopter tours, eco- adventures, kiteboarding, scuba diving, sky diving and seaplane excursions.
A Hole in One
Tee off at the renowned Key West Golf Club, just a few minutes’ drive from the center of town. Designed by golf legend Rees Jones, the 18-hole, par-70 championship course is known for its lush Caribbean-style landscaping, and is suited to players of all abilities.