Little Torch Key, Florida

Photo: Noble House Hotels & Resorts
Photo: Noble House Hotels & Resorts

Florida has a bit of a bad rap. Between the large population of retirees, the hurricane-prone months, and the sinkholes developing lately, it isn’t the first state that comes to mind for a romantic getaway.

With its thatched-roof bungalows, Balinese spa treatments, and dinners on the beach surrounded by tiki torches, Little Palm Island is trying to change that impression. The resort on the small Florida Keys island of Little Torch Key–located halfway between Key West and the mainland–feels like you’ve arrived in the remote Cook Islands. Crushed white seashells create paths between the cottages. Coconut palms line the beaches. Sun loungers are tucked in quiet spots. Key deer and iguanas roam freely. And no televisions, telephones, or children are around to interrupt you. Hard to believe, but this really is Florida.

Photo: Noble House Hotels & Resorts
Photo: Noble House Hotels & Resorts

It’s a quick boat ride to Little Palm Island. A Gumby Slumber cocktail awaits your arrival. Tropical flowers and views of the sparkling water are just about everywhere. Your bungalow has a custom-made bed, an outdoor bamboo shower, and a beach bag. It doesn’t take long to settle in. Change into your bikini and head to the pool. Order Key West shrimp and a Key lime martini. Lunch arrives before you finish slathering yourself in sunscreen. Spend the afternoon snorkeling in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the world’s third largest reef. Go kiteboarding on the calm flats. Book a seaweed body mask at the spa for the morning. Or a back-country fishing trip to reel in mutton snapper and sailfish. And a scuba diving trip to Looe Key Reef for the day after that. Whatever day that may be. You’ve already lost track.

Savor a glass of sparkling wine on your verandah as you get ready for dinner later in the evening. Egrets gracefully glide over the calm water. A hermit crab digs a hole in front of you. It stops, hoping to blend into the sand, whenever you get too close. A leisurely, elegant dinner is served as the sky turns pink. Florida stone crabs, yellowtail snapper, and warm pineapple confit crêpes.

While most guests head to the bar to listen to the piano after eating, you opt for a cigar and the stars by a fire pit. Followed by a late-night soak in your private, outdoor jacuzzi. Let everyone back home keep thinking you can’t find a romantic getaway in Florida. You’d prefer Little Palm Island stay under the radar anyway.

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