THE ISLAND: Step onto the boat, turn off your cell phone and prepare to meet true paradise. Little Palm Island is 2½ miles off Overseas Highway in Little Torch Key, near Key West, but it feels like a secluded, self- contained universe. On the boat trip over to Little Palm Island, the resort’s staffers help the outside world fade from your mind by encouraging you to drink their complimentary signature cocktail, the Gumby Slumber (refreshing rum and fruit juices topped with coconut shavings).
THE MOOD: Once you arrive at Sunset Dock, your desires determine what happens next. Little Palm concierge Chris Phillips reminds guests, “This is your island.” Set the romance in motion right away with a host of luxuries waiting in your suite upon arrival. A bottle of champagne (or a pre-mixed pitcher of Gumby Slumber, if you prefer), caviar and a boutique bath in the room’s oversize tub — complete with soaps, scrubs and oils from the spa — create a playful start to your getaway. The population is kept low, with just 30 suites dotting the island. Lush foliage around each bungalow furthers the sense of privacy as you lounge in a hammock, listen to the gentle lapping of the sea or explore the sandy pathways that lead through the grounds. The only intruders to watch for are the Key deer that swim onshore from a chain of other islands leading to the mainland.
PLAY: Little Palm’s motto is “do nothing,” but there’s so much to do we can’t imagine not exploring. Hire the dive boat for a snorkel or scuba session at Looe Key. This shallow reef is among the most pristine in Florida, thriving with marine life from brain corals, eels and parrotfish to schools of barracuda and the occasional reef shark. Stay atop the water with a kayak or paddle-board to explore the mangroves that line the neighboring islands. For a more slow-paced excursion, arrange a sunset sail with wine and cheese — a perfect precursor to a night of romance.
INDULGE: Pampering at Spa Terre in the middle of the island is not to be missed. Relaxing rituals combine treatments inspired from around the world. The Mai Pai Thai Ritual starts with a Thai table massage (performed with your clothes on as opposed to most spa treatments), which feels just like assisted yoga as the massage therapist stretches you from top to bottom. Followed by a bamboo scrub, warm rinse and fragrant bath, then topped with a hydrating rubdown, this treatment ensures that the refreshed feeling you experience stays with you for days.
EAT: The Dining Room takes care of all your culinary needs on the island. Though any meal can be delivered to your suite, dining on the beach by tiki torch, just feet from the calm water, is such an experience you must have at least once during your stay. Key West lobster on a bed of risotto and other dishes using locally caught seafood are prepared in a modern tropical style, combining flavors of the ocean with a refreshing citrusy tang. Be sure to ask bartender/mixologist Mario for his home- made limoncello at the Monkey Hut Lounge. Relaxing with a nightcap by the fire pit outside the Dining Room encourages fun conversation with other guests, but when it’s time to retire for the evening, light up your post-dinner passions with a romantic turndown. Return to your suite to find a rose-petal path to a candlelit fantasy stocked with chocolate truffles, champagne, scented massage oils and soothing bath salts. As return guest Lilia Judge puts it, “This might be the most romantic place on the planet.” littlepalmisland.com