Big Escape on Little Palm 

Text Ed Salvato

Photos Sammy Todd Dyess

As the heron flies, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa lies 160 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale, but this luxurious, private, adults-only retreat will transport you a world away. Thirty deceptively simple oceanfront suites with ocean-view verandas and private hot tubs in thatched-roofed bungalows dot this idyllic strand otherwise populated by egrets, pelicans and adorable, dog-sized Key deer. With a maximum occupancy of 60 guests, you will barely see your fellow escapees from civilization, though you may want to discreetly check anyway. The resort is known as a must-visit by celebrities and CEOs. (Ask the staff about Scarlett Johansson dancing around the dining room!) 

The vibrant turquoise Caribbean laps gently at pristine beaches encircling the 5.5-acre resort, graced with palm trees, capped by a crystal blue sky and painted with an Impressionistic palette shading from light pink, through fire truck red to royal purple twice a day by Sol’s diurnal visits.

Fly Silver Airways into Key West, then take a 25-minute Uber to the resort’s check-in area on Little Torch Key, then step aboard a lovely ten-minute private yacht ride to the resort. Better yet, arrive directly at the resort island’s private dock on a Tropic Ocean Airways seaplane. Once there, don’t plan on leaving. Also don’t plan on catching up on your Netflix list. There are no telephones, televisions or alarm clocks in the rooms to distract. Keeping in mind that you’re only allowed to use cell phones in your bungalow, relish this island’s natural beauty and fabulous hotel amenities without chirping devices and loud one-way conversations.

Experience the indulgent spa with its many unique body-and-soul enriching treatments; zone out in the Zen garden; loll in the tranquil swimming pool; stake out a nook on a dock furnished with side-by-side chaises and umbrellas.

When you’ve worked up a hunger, get ready for some of the best cuisine we’ve ever experienced. Breakfast in the villa is a decadent way to ease into your lazy morning. Have the restaurant pack a delicious lunch basket to nourish a day of kayaking or stand-up paddling. Dinner – with fresh seafood a specialty – is served in three spots: a dining room lined with French doors, on the shaded veranda or just below, on a little crescent of beach, lit by torches and candlelight. The tasting menu is an optimal choice as it reflects the items that most inspire the chef that day. 

After filling your stomach, find a spot to recline beyond the lights of the dining room, gaze up into the ink-black night and allow your eyes to feast on the shimming silver light of a thousand billion stars and thank the higher power that you get to be alive and experience this heavenly spot at this moment.