Little Palm Island: Romantic, Under-the-Radar Luxury

Embark on the perfect Florida Keys island escape.

Where to go when you're craving a getaway that gently drops you in the midst of a remote private island resort brimming with understated luxury and sprinkled with the occasional celebrity sighting? If your pockets are deep, and price is no object (dare to dream!), you'll book a vacation at Little Palm Island.

Little Palm Island Beach

Courtesy Little Palm Island

The exclusive private island resort off the lower Florida Keys is reached only by seaplane or boat and transports guests to a world marked by exceptional service, thoughtful amenities, comfy bungalows and a quiet sliver of palm tree-lined beach. Many guests initially arrive by car, which they leave at the resort's outpost on Little Torch Key, located off Overseas Highway, the main road slicing through the Keys.

Little Palm Island Fire Pit

Courtesy Little Palm Island

Once your vehicle is safely stowed, and luggage attended to by porters, you'll be handed a chilled cocktail (mixed with rum, natch!), and wait for the resort's private skiff to whisk you off to Little Palm. Take a few sips of your drink and a deep breath. You're about to embark on a perfect island escape.

Staying on Little Palm Island

Little Palm Island Open-Air Bungalow

Courtesy Little Palm Island

Fifteen thatched-roof bungalows dot the island, each housing two suites. Do the math and you realize that yes, this means there's never more than 60 guests on the island at any time. Inside your luxe bungalow, you'll fall asleep on a massive 4-poster bed flanked by billowing white curtains, take a bath in the stand-alone tub, or go au natural in your private, outdoor shower.

Though you'll be tempted to pop open the welcome bottle of champagne waiting in your bungalow living room, and sit on your porch enjoying the waterfront views, it's a better bet to explore the island and save the drinks for sunset.

Little Palm Island Bedroom

Courtesy Little Palm Island

When hunger strikes, head to The Dining Room, the aptly named restaurant, or order in-room dining from the restaurant menu. Weather permitting, eat your dinner on the beach under the light of tiki torches, and enjoy a nightcap in front of the fire pit as nightly live music strums in the background.

Feeling the Island Vibe (and Those Celebs...)

Little Palm Island Aerial View

Courtesy Little Palm Island

For a resort that's recognized as one of the most exclusive in the world, Little Palm Island is remarkably relaxed -- downright chill, in fact. There's a no cell phone policy (except inside your bungalow), and no televisions or radios; the stillness and hushed atmosphere are absolute bliss. Guests tend toward casual island attire, and the staff is attentive without being overbearing. Thoughtful touches abound, like a wooden nameplate outside your bungalow, and placards bearing inspirational quotes weighed down by silver trinkets adorn your bed as part of turndown service.

Privacy and discretion are key elements of the Little Palm experience, which explains why it's become a favorite destination for celebrities. With a little prompting, staff may share stories of Blake and Miranda (pre-divorce, that is) relaxing on Little Palm's shores, or Scarlett Johansson dancing around the dining room.

Keeping Busy (or Not!)

Little Palm Island Spa

Courtesy Little Palm Island

The island is tiny, and a stroll around its perimeter reveals some of the resort's treasures: a spa where you can revel in relaxation with a Javanese Royal Treatment or a Volcanic Earth Clay Ritual, a lush Zen garden, tranquil swimming pool, and nooks on boat docks furnished with double lounge chairs and umbrellas.

Little Palm activities also ensure you'll never be bored, though you can stay as active or peaced out as you wish. Take out one of the resort's motorboats and some fishing rods for an excursion, hop aboard a kayak for a paddle through nearby mangrove forests, or opt for a waterfront meditation or yoga class. Of course, if doing nothing is more your speed, that's no problem. Grab a book from the Little Palm library, and head to the beach loungers and a pristine swath of sand.

If, for some mysterious reason, you grow antsy and want to leave the island's perfect shores, the resort staff will arrange for you to spend the day in nearby Key West, a 35-minute drive from Little Torch Key.

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