Little Palm Island: America’s Only Private Island You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

I grew up regularly watching TV shows like Gilligan’s Island and the original Blue Lagoon movie with Brooke Shields, so the romanticized fantasy of being a castaway on a deserted island was planted in my brain at a young age. Of course, now, my fantasy looks a little different. I don’t want to be trapped on an island forever. But the need to get away to a remote tropical paradise to decompress and recenter remains. Enter Little Palm Island, one of the most unique places to travel domestically where you feel worlds away and it feels like a modern-day Gilligan’s Island.

“Little Palm Island is one of a kind. Being the only private island resort in North America truly delivers an exclusive experience for guests,” Bill Foster, Regional Director of Marketing of Noble House & Resorts tells me of the property located on Little Torch Key in the Florida Keys. The only way to access the island, which only houses on, is by boat or seaplane that sets the tone for the exclusive, one-of-a-kind experience that awaits on land. “With only 30 suites on-island, Little Palm is never occupied by more than 60 guests, providing the utmost privacy for all. Little Palm also delivers an ultra-luxury experience – the suites are luxurious thatched-roof bungalows, the dining is world-class, and everything needed for the visit can be found right on the island.”

Little Palm Island is hands-down one of my favorite destinations to visit in the United States. I was there a few years ago and fell in love. It is one of the most romantic trips one could take that instantly transports you to a far-away land where you don’t need a passport.

“First, you will not find a lot of distractions here. There aren’t any televisions, alarm clocks or phones in any of the rooms so that guests can truly focus on connecting or reconnecting together,” responds Foster when I ask him what he thinks makes the property so special. “In SpaTerre, the spa offers indulgent couple’s treatments like the Madrugada, an over the ocean massage experience that is both calming and romantic. SpaTerre also offers Romantic Turndown services like decadent hot-drawn baths for two and amenities like chocolate-covered strawberries with champagne. The Dining Room extends an exclusive dinner opportunity where guests can dine out in the water on one of the island’s sandbars, which is always serene during sunset. For proposals and anniversaries, we have an excellent events team to help execute those perfect moments.”

After dinner one night during my recent visit, I came back to my bungalow to find rose petals everywhere. The outdoor bathtub was filled with bubbles. The fire pit was blazing and there were literally rose petals everywhere inside of the cabana and outside of the expansive property. It was magical. The food the entire trip was top notch, and the spa is one of my favorite wellness experiences domestically.

Since my last trip, the property had changed significantly after being devastated by a hurricane a few years back. The biggest visual changes I noticed was that the spa was moved to a new structure and given a design overhaul and the guest rooms and suites were designed with Balinese-inspired interiors. Foster adds, “The Dining Room was enhanced for guests to dine alongside stunning ocean views and creates a seamless transition to The Monkey Hut, which sits next door, and the pool was enhanced with private cabanas and the Palapa Bar was welcomed back for pool-goers to enjoy.”

Little Palm Island is such a special location, I wanted to know how the property was discovered by Noble House Hotels & Resorts (the owner and operator), which currently has a collection of 25 luxury resorts, hotels, and experiences across the United States.

“In 1998, Ben Woodsen (who was the developer) and four of his friends worked together to find premium land and establish a unique product that could only be found in the Florida Keys by breaking into the Keys’ luxury resort market,” explains Foster. “When they stumbled upon what is now known as Little Palm Island, the partners knew within moments that they had found the location they were searching for. Eleven days later, they bought the land with an initial investment of $8 million – it had two main buildings and several smaller buildings spread throughout the island. After five months of renovations, the resort opened to guests and occupancy was immediate.”

In addition to the top-notch sensorial programming created to enhance the resort experience, another aspect of Little Palm Island that resonates with my soul are the vast offerings of water activities available to guests. I learned how to paddle board during my first trip to the property. On my first excursion, I headed directly into the wind and managed to stay in the same place while paddling feverishly for about a half hour. But I finally paddled my way along and realized what a great workout it was. Ever since, I have been paddling any chance I get ever.

During this trip, I was told to head out towards the channel markers and make my way back to avoid the wind. As I paddled towards the markers, I saw a bunch of fins flapping in a frenzy. I got a flashback of the movie, Open Water, once I realized it was feeding time for a bunch of sharks and quickly turned back to shore. While I was never in danger (as long as I stayed on my board), it was an exhilarating encounter with nature, which abounds on the island.

As soon as I departed the island to head back home, I was sad. From the natural beauty of the property itself, the interior design, the spa, the activities you can do while there, the fine dining, and the impeccable service, Little Palm Island is exactly the kind of island I could actually stay on for the rest of my life. Since that isn’t a reality, I will have to make a trip back at some point soon. Next time, I will be sure to add on a few more extra days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post 6 Beauty Products To Stimulate Hair Growth & Prevent Hair Loss
Next post In Conversation With Anne-Claudie Coric, Executive Director Of Templon Gallery