Fodor's Expert Review Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

MM 28.5 OS, 28500 Overseas Hwy., Little Torch Key, Florida 33042, USA See on Map Fodor's Choice

Jill Martin

There's a long list of notable guests that have chosen to spend time at Little Palm Island, and it's no wonder as to why. Sitting three miles off the coast of the Lower Keys, this island paradise offers panoramic ocean views, fantastic water activities including diving at one of the most magnificent reefs in the Florida Keys, dining at one of the top-rated restaurants in the nation, pampering at their award-winning spa, and accommodations in a romantic, thatched-roof bungalow that looks like it was taken right out of a romance novel.

YOU SHOULD KNOW No one under 16 is allowed on the island, and it's only accessible by boat or seaplane.


Sensual, luxurious, romantic. Your bungalow is all that, and more. Look up, the ceilings are woven, thatched fronds with exposed beams. Gorgeous. The lighting? Seductive. Everyone looks good in this light. Furniture is elegant yet comfortable--"West Indies style. And the bed, wow-za. Custom made, with premium bedding. It's also draped from above with butterfly netting, just to up the romantic factor. Tiled floors with woven rugs, wood accents, and a Keurig for your morning coffee. Extras include binoculars and a beach bag, both for use while here.

The bedding, as premium as you can get It's ok to let your giddiness show as you step in to your bungalow.

YOU SHOULD KNOW You won't find a TV, phone, or alarm clock in your bungalow, and there's no cell phone use in public areas. It may pose a challenge for some, but most embrace the chance to totally disconnect.


The bathrooms vary depending on your suite, but expect over-the-top luxury like slated tile, sconces with dangling crystals, chandeliers, high end toiletries, a separate shower, and either a clawed-foot boudoir tub, or a soaking tub. You'll also have an outdoor shower.

Take advantage of the outdoor shower, especially at night. It's a whole experience, all its own! The stars are above you, the water's pouring over's ethereal!


Their Welcome Center is on the mainland. It's a large beige building with a thatched Tiki-style roof at mile marker 28.5. From here, you'll catch their motor yacht to the island, so your car will stay here for the duration. Once inside, you'll be greeted, registered, and offered a "Gumby Slumber" (their welcome cocktail). The motor yacht leaves every hour, on the bottom of the hour. Visit the gift shop while you wait, or take a seat dockside under an umbrella.


Shaded by palms and sea grape trees, lined with orchids and lush foliage, the pool deck winds and twists to create private little pockets of serenity. Teak loungers topped with beige canvas cushions, small teak tables with beige umbrellas, it's tranquil, and it's exciting when a key deer gingerly walks by.

You'll find the Palapa Bar poolside. Order food and drinks right from your chair or sit at the bar and chat with fellow blessed guests.


We say big things come in small packages, and that is definitely true when it comes to their on-island spa, SpaTerre. Facials, massages, wraps, global rituals (like the Aboriginal Fire Stick or the Ancient Earth Cleanse), hair, nails, and waxing. What this spa lacks in size, it makes up for in services. A list of fitness offerings include paddle board yoga, personal training sessions, and even meditation. To retain the island theme, they specialize in using herbs and minerals that are native to South Florida. Coconut sugar body scrub, anyone?


There is only one restaurant onsite, and since you're a captive audience, all your meals will be at The Dining Room. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it's also open to the public. Dine indoors (which is still basically outdoors since it's under an open-air thatched Tiki), on the terrace overlooking the beach, or on the actual beach. Tables are placed in the sand, along the water, so you're front row to the ocean. The wow factor is atmospheric, so is the food; they do a 'magnifique' Châteaubriand with shaved truffle, for two. You can opt for their dining package so your meals are included with your hotel stay, or not. Just know the prices are hefty, but if you're staying here to begin with, you're probably not concerned with meal or liquor prices.

YOU SHOULD KNOW The dress code is "refined island casual" so dress like you would at a country club. Polos for lunch, collared shirts for dinner. Ladies, sundresses are always welcome.


Getting Around

Once you are on the island, you simply walk everywhere. It's only 5 1/2 acres in size, so exploring is easy, and limited. If you want to leave the island, take the motor yacht back to shore where your car is parked. But why would you want to leave paradise?


You'll have to take the motor yacht to your car if you want to try other restaurants, but if you do, The Square Grouper (7-minute drive) has a creative menu of fresh seafood. Get the cracked conch with wasabi drizzle for starters. For fantastic bbq and seafood, head to the Geiger Key Marina & Smokehouse (26-minute drive). The hogfish tacos and lobster BLT will make your knees buckle in delight.


If you take the motor yacht to your car, My Joint (7-minute drive) is a beatnic-style bar that you'll for sure dig man, with good drinks and great food. Looe Key Tiki Bar & Grill (2-minute drive) is a huge tiki on US1 where locals come to hear live music. The Tiki Bar at Sugarloaf Lodge (16-minute drive) is bayside and has live music each evening.


Mind blown. This island has it all, for the few who can afford it. Beyond-amazing bungalows, a heavenly spa, spectacular dining, and a staff that does Simone-Biles-worthy backflips to please its guests. And oh, those views!

We also love its privacy and endless possibilities. And we love how it makes guests feel to be here.

If you love the water, and sunsets, and the sound of rustling palms in the wind, and exceptional experiences, then take out a second mortgage or borrow from that 401K and get down here. The memories you create will last forever, and the payments only a few years.


On the beach
Casual Chic


Phones: 305-872–2524;800-343–8567

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