Located on a small 5-acre island just off of Little Torch Key in the Florida Keys, you will find the private island resort called Little Palm. The property can only be reached by sea plane or boat and it’s here where I recently had the pleasure of spending three (too short) days.
The resort, a member of Noble House Hotels & Resorts, can only be described as a true hidden gem in an area where luxury hotels are few and far between. Voted one of the 500 Best Hotels in the World in 2011 by Travel & Leisure, the property is reminiscent of a resort that should be located somewhere far more exotic like Southeast Asia or the Maldives and you feel like you are. When you arrive at the Welcome Office located on Little Torch Key you will be greeted with their signature cocktail a “Gumby Slumber” (which has flavored rums, tropical juices and topped with shaved coconut soaked in Bacardi 151- yum…). Next, you are told from that moment until you leave the island, you are to do nothing and that’s what you do! If you have driven, they will park your car for the duration of your stay (no cars on the island), they will take care of your luggage and make sure you have everything you need to just relax and enjoy. From here you will take the “Truman”, their private yacht, for a quick 15 minute ride to the island.
Just 30 suites inhabit the private island... all with ocean views, outdoor showers and a private verandah. Step into your room and you will be transported to a place of tranquility and romance. Don’t expect to find any hi tech gadgets in the room other than a Bose alarm clock, there are no TV’s and no phones in any of the rooms. What you will find are giant king beds with flowing canopies, large pedestal bathtubs and comfy plush sofas - just some of the items that will make this one of the most comfortable rooms you have ever experienced. As I always say, “don’t take my word for it, see for yourself…”
The hotel has one main dining room headed up by Executive Chef Luis Pous, who specializes in classic Cuban cuisine and French preparation. While you may not think that Cuban and French blend well, you will be pleasantly surprised by the culinary masterpieces that come out of the kitchen. The menu changes every night based on the freshest local ingredients but you can always count on a variety of exciting options. The dining room also offers one of the most extensive wine lists in Southern Florida, but be prepared this great meal will cost you.
As the true spa junkie that I am, of course I found the time to visit Spa Terre located in the resort and I had treatment called the Volcanic Clay Earth Ritual. It begins with you being covered in warm clay, followed by an outdoor shower and a Balinese massage. Can you say relaxed? After this nearly 2 hour treatment, I felt ready for a long nap by the ocean, so it’s a good thing there are plenty of private little nooks around the island perfect for just that.
This resort is made for nothing more than getting away and discovering the true meaning of relaxation and the service supports that. It’s not in your face overwhelming, but someone is always there when you need something like a fresh drink by the pool, a cool towel on the beach or a quick lesson on how to use one of the many free water crafts available; a wake board, kayak or hobie cat (a catamaran for two).
I recommend this resort for couples looking for a romantic getaway or celebrating a special occasion. The resort does not accept children under the age of 16 but I still wouldn’t recommend it for families with older children or singles as the majority of people you will see on the island are indeed couples and the activities are geared more for two.
*Christina’s Hot Tip: Grab a glass of champagne or your favorite beverage and your special someone and head to the Sunset Terrace just behind the dining room - the perfect place to enjoy those amazing South Florida sunsets. CM
Editor's note: Aladdin receives Christina's Travel Chat regularly. We enjoy her articles and have posted this with her permission. SS