The Fantastic Florida KeysWords by Courtney Kellar
Florida has thousands of fabulous, romantic spots, but there’s just something about the Florida Keys. The islands interspersed with turquoise waters definitely feel closer to the Caribbean than the U.S.. I recently visited the luxe and private Noble House Hotels & Resorts property, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa on Little Torch Key. If you’re looking for an extra-special honeymoon experience without having to break out the passports, this is a legitimate and lovely option.
Pull into the resort’s unassuming gravel driveway, valet your car for the length of your stay and quickly check-in before being whisked away on the resort’s private boat. Board your transport to paradise and enjoy a 15-minute ride to the quaint and quiet Little Palm Island.
The suites are reminiscent of Fijian bures with peaked, thatched roofs and outdoor showers. These rooms are definitely honeymoon-worthy with chandeliers, romantic king-sized canopy beds, giant soaking tubs and private patios. Prepare to really get away, because the accommodations at Little Palm Island don’t include televisions and have limited cell-service. In fact, the adults-only resort requests that you limit your cell-phone time in public – ensuring guests get a quiet, relaxing getaway.
One downside to this particular island is that there isn’t a great beach for wading or casual swimming. The calm surrounding waters are much better suited for water activities like paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkeling. Luckily, Little Palm Island provides complimentary equipment. Be sure to ask a staff member at the activities desk when the best times are to be in the water as there are lots of wildlife including small sharks and jellyfish.
After a busy day of activities or lounging by the pool, dinner at The Dining Room is a must. To truly feel a world away, request a table on the beach. As a heads-up, Little Palm Island does have famous residents: Key Deer. They’re harmless, but are accustomed to human interaction, so don’t be surprised if one of these miniature deer decides to join you for dinner. To cap off a beautiful evening, be sure to order the Key Lime Pie – it’s the best I’ve ever had.
A can’t-miss for any honeymooning couple on-island is a stop by the SpaTerre. The spa menu is surprisingly extensive and offers a wide variety of unique treatments. I opted for the Milk and Honey Body Wrap and it left my skin silky smooth. Couples should request the “Rainforest Room” to enjoy their treatment in a private hut boasting Vichy showers and an outdoor soaking tub.
Having personally been to Tahiti and Fiji, Little Palm Island has a very similar feel, just on a much smaller scale. With its sandy walkways and lush vegetation, it’s a quintessential honeymoon resort with a laid-back, adults-only ambience, stellar service and romantic isolation.
For an exciting day away from Little Palm Island, continue an hour south to Key West, Florida. This area is huge with tourists and boasts lots of shopping and live music. The pedestrian-friendly Key West also offers a nightlife not found on the tame Little Palm Island. If you’re looking to say “I do” or stay a night or two, Ocean Key Resort & Spa has a dream location right off the water. The rooms are spacious and recently renovated and the resort’s dock is a gorgeous sunset ceremony spot. Looking to explore the Florida Keys even more? Don’t fuss over the drive to and fro as Florida’s Highway 1 is both scenic and easy to navigate.
Photos courtesy of: Little Palm Island Resort & Spa and Ocean Key Resort & Spa
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.
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