Little Palm Island
Just 30 luxurious suites are available on Little Palm Island - a resort only accessible by seaplane or boat, and blissfully TV and phone free. This is the resort to retreat to for a luxurious digital detox, and perhaps a little celeb spotting too.
Located just off of the fabled Florida Keys coastline, Little Palm Island is easily the most exclusive of all Keys hotels, where guests can truly switch off and unwind, and have every whim catered for by the team of welcoming and efficient staff.
Air-conditioned thatched bungalow suites are linked by crushed shell pathways, and scattered within six acres of tropical gardens just steps from a white sandy beach. All have private terraces on which to while away hours in the sea breeze, enjoying a signature 'Gumpy Slumber' cocktail, and outdoor showers with bamboo screens. Most bathrooms include hot tubs, some of which sit under decadent chandeliers, whilst all suites include spacious lounges. Guests of Island Elegance, Island Romance and Island Grand Suites are even met with chilled champagne upon arrival.
The Dining Room at Little Palm Island offers a menu of 'French-pan-Latin' fare, under the watchful eye of executive chef Roly Cruz-Taura. Expect plenty of fresh seafood with a latin twist, including the delicious Yellowtail snapper ceviche, with passion fruit and coconut gelee. Little Palm Island aims to personalise the stay of every guest, and so dining is not restricted to The Dining Room - lounge in Suite, or opt for a private dining experience on the island, perhaps beachfront dining at Sandy Point, lit by the glow of Tiki Torches.
SpaTerre offers a range of treatments to soothe body and mind, from Asian inspired massages and body scrubs, to the unique Madrugada Water Massage which includes a seashell massage, with the soothing sounds of the ocean, as waves lap the feet of the massage table.
Post spa pamper, lounge by the pool or on the powdery sand beach, retreat to the library, or enjoy yoga or meditation in the Zen garden. There's sure to be no noise to disrupt your Zen here, as Little Palm Island is an adult's only resort - sorry parents.
If all that relaxation becomes too much, there is plenty to keep the more active souls occupied too. Complimentary water sports include kayaking, kite boarding, diving and snorkelling. Guests can travel further afield to swim with dolphins at Marathon Key, enjoy a deep sea fishing experience, or view the bird life at the Great White Heron Wildlife Refuge. Island hopping dreams can also be accommodated with cruises on a 38ft catamaran, for an afternoon sail, sunset cruise or private island dinner experience.
Why We Love It
It's tough to find a relaxing island idyll which offers an off-grid escape, without the need for an arduous journey. Little Palm Island does just that - a two hour drive plus boat crossing will see guests arriving from Miami international airport.
Located on a beautiful and secluded private estate on Islamorada Key, Cheeca Lodge is a tropical retreat, complete with 1,000ft of private beach and a fishing pier.
There are 214 rooms and suites in total, decorated in a classic style with a warm colour palette, mahogany furniture and a touch of tropical through palm print fabrics and artwork, and palm woven ceiling fans. Private balconies overlook the ocean, lagoon or lush gardens.
Guests can choose from a number of dining options, including Atlantic's Edge, which specialises in fresh off the line seafood, served with Atlantic Ocean views. Limoncello is a family-friendly Italian restaurant serving up Tuscan favourites in a more informal setting, while Nikai Sushi Bar serves the island's freshest sushi complimented by 35 varieties of sake - this one's not for the kids. Meanwhile, the Tiki Bar & Chart Room is the place to enjoy a cocktail or select from the extensive wine list.
The resort boasts 27 acres of tropical gardens, two swimming pools, a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a gym, a spa and a Kids club - Camp Cheeca. Camp Cheeca offers a range of activities from arts & crafts to watersports, as well as offering Mum and Dad a little downtime.
This spot is world-renowned for fishing, and serious anglers can charter a boat from Cheeca Lodge to head out in search of over 500 species of fish within minutes of the shore. The less adventurous fisherman can simply cast a line from the end of the 525-foot pier - the longest in the Keys. A host of other activities can be found at the resort, including snorkelling, sea kayaking, bicycling, and diving.
Why We Love It
As a keen fisherman, for me it has to be the incredible sport fishing opportunities within minutes of the shore. For the less angler-inclined, it's a fantastic family friendly resort, with plenty to keep the whole brood occupied.
Towards the tail end of the Florida Keys, the idyllic Tranquility Bay is a wonderful family-friendly resort on the island of Marathon. The Resort sits upon 1,100ft of private white sand shore, dotted with swaying palms, and fronted by the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Tranquility Bay offers a collection of quaint whitewashed wooden two and three bedroom beach houses, complete with private patios and balconies, and a full kitchen. The newest additions are a handful of Tropical Garden Guestrooms; single room dwellings, which encircle a private swimming pool, away from the main resort area. Guestrooms are light and airy, but with touches of vibrant colour, be that through tropical artworks, or a funky feature wall.
The resort's restaurant, The Butterfly Café, boasts picture perfect ocean views, and offers a dinner menu featuring delicious fresh seafood, cooked with locally sourced ingredients. A kids menu is also available for the little ones. An early-evening stint at the Tiki bar is also a must, to enjoy a Keys sunset, cocktail in hand.
The Resort offers a huge range of activities for adults and kids alike; adventure diving & snorkelling, watersports, beach volleyball, deep sea fishing, three swimming pools (one of which is adults only), and a putting green. We love the Adventure Camp for kids, which even offers an introduction to Scuba Diving on North America's only living reef, and gives parents a little time to themselves.
Why We Love It
12 landscaped acres of tropical gardens, 12.5 acres of white sandy beach, and three swimming pools means that finding a quiet spot to relax is as breezy as the perfect Florida evening.