• June 2010

Need a little R&R? Check out the magic of Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys

By Hope Katz Gibbs
Editor & Publisher
Inkandescent Magazine

Take a three-hour drive from Miami, south into the Florida Keys, and weary execs will find solace at Little Palm Island, a secluded island paradise—with only one telephone.

It’s reminiscent of the uncharted isle where shipwrecked Gilligan found himself a castaway. Of course, Gilligan, never dined at a first-class French restaurant, received an hour-long Thai massage or paddled around in a heated pool.

The pampering begins at check-in where a perky concierge greets guests inside a hut by the side of the road near Little Torch Key (at mile marker 28.5). Bearing cocktails and information packets, she charms guests until a zippy motorboat arrives to transport visitors to the island.

Upon landfall, guests are escorted from check-in to their $500/night “huts”, which line the beachfront. Decorated with the minimalist elegance only money can buy, a California king size bed is the room’s centerpiece. Draped in delicate netting to keep pesky bugs away, a ceiling fan whirls overhead, lulling visitors into a state of calm. In the rear of the room, a wooden rocker demands you to pull out a steamy novel. A roll-top desk invites you to write one.

The pièce de résistance , however, is the bathroom. Complete with thick white terrycloth robes, a bottle of bubbles sits by the Jacuzzi tub. Want to shower in the great outdoors? Step through a teak door onto the private thatched deck beyond. Crickets sing while you scrub.

Although these digs are dandy, do seek a little adventure on some of the island’s water sport offerings. Canoes and pontoon boats are available for rent, and the Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve surrounding the island makes scuba diving and snorkeling a dramatic event.

Too tired? Then lull in one of the net hammocks scattered about the island, just float around the free-form pool, or reserve time at the Spa Terre, a refuge that offers Balinese spa treatments and Thai “body rituals.” There are special wedding packages, and maternity treatments, too.

When it comes to mealtime, the island’s five-star restaurant, The Dining Room, awaits. Award-winning executive chef Luis Pous and his culinary team serve up three meals daily—and will prepare a special basket for two for that uber-romantic island picnic.

Those who want to dine indoors choose from Crab Benedict, Salmon Mimosa and Buttermilk Pancakes for breakfast, and Sugar Cane Chicken, Petite Calamari, or the Little Palm Seafood Tower for lunch.

For dinner, the tempting menu offers choices of an appetizer of Florida Stone Crabs (market price) or Beef Tartar ($21), and main courses Pan Seared Ahi Tuna ($48 Moulard Duck Breast ($48), and Fire Roasted Veal Chops ($59).

Pricey? Definitely. But for those with deep pockets and the need to detox, decompress, and delight in the great outdoors, Little Palm Island is a resort that’s not to be missed.

For more: www.littlepalmisland.com.