When life was just a wee bit simpler for Greg and I, we treated ourselves to the best vacation we’ve ever had. Well, except for our honeymoon…that was awesome, too. Actually, we’ve had a couple of wonderful vacations with the kids to the area around Seaside, Florida. And one to Cabo when the twins were 6-months old. Okay, so we’ve had some pretty great vacations.
But when we are exhausted and deep in the throes of child-rearing, and battered and bruised from trying to beat the family budget we reminisce about our vacation to Little Palm Island in July of 2002. It may seem strange that a vacation we took eight years ago could continue to give us fuel for life, but if you’ve been there before you’ll know what I’m talking about. So why am I thinking about it today? Two words. Spring break. It’s 40 degrees outside. The kids are fighting. Our trip to Chicago is still two long days away. And when I opened my e-mail today from Jetsetter and saw that Little Palm Island is on sale starting Saturday, March 20th at noon, it was a sign from above that I must write about it.
We received rock star treatment from the moment we stepped off of the plane in Key West, whisked away in a nicely air-conditioned (it was July and hotter than hell, after all) black Suburban and shuttled about 30 miles to pick up the private yacht that would take us out to the island. We had a much-delayed flight from Miami to Key West so needless to say, we were wound up and quite anxious to arrive at our destination. The short drive helped us finally begin to relax and ease on into that vacation state of mind.
We didn’t waste any time. As we waited for the shuttle yacht at the Welcome Station we ordered their signature drink, the Gumby Slumber. The name says it all. Finish a pitcher and well, you can imagine the rest. Loosened up from the drink, we stepped onto the beautifully restored wooden shuttle yacht, The Truman, and made our way out to the island, about 15-minutes off of Little Torch Key. I could barely contain my excitement when we arrived and I stepped out on the dock to survey our accommodations for the next five days. It was like a buffet for my eyes. The brilliantly turquoise-blue ocean, the sandy island beach, the Jamaican palm trees, lush greenery and exotic blossoms made me feel as if I’d arrived at some far-off, exotic island.
Little Palm Island is about 5-acres in size and offers only 30 thatch-roofed bungalow suites so the word “intimate” doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was amazing to me that at full capacity, there are only 60-70 guests on the island at a time. The staff goes home at night, so with the exception of a handful of employees (security and the like) the guests are alone on the island. Quiet. Peaceful. Serene.
Each bungalow offers a private verandah overlooking the ocean, an outdoor shower, a sitting room, a king-sized bed surrounded by mosquito netting, and a jacuzzi tub. Notice that I did not say a television? That’s because there aren’t any. Nor are there any alarm clocks. There was only one television on the island when we were there and it was in the Great Room. Who knows, they may have done away with it since then. There are books, games and magazines in the Great Room and the satellite television (if it still exists) works well for catching up on news from the outside world and on Wimbledon scores, at least when the satellite isn’t interrupted by a little afternoon tropical storm.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the dining experience at Little Palm. It was extraordinary in every way. We enjoyed breakfast on our verandah, lunch by the lagoon-style pool, and dinner in the oceanfront dining room or on the beach. The night we had dinner on the beach we were visited by the sweetest little key deer and watched sharks swimming around out in the ocean water. One night, a huge yacht docked at the marina and a large group descended on the dining room. They had boated in to have dinner. You see, you do not have to be a guest to dine at Little Palm. A reservation in the dining room and a boat ride is all you need to enjoy a little bit of the island.
Every single meal that the chef lovingly prepared was amazing. Not being a huge fish fan, Greg bravely sampled several different seafood dishes and enjoyed every one of them. Because the resort is so intimate we also got to meet some interesting folks. We made it a point to hang out after dinner at the bar making friends with other guests, the bartender, and the resort manager.
During the day we relaxed in the pool, went snorkeling, took long naps, thoroughly enjoyed the spa (the site of Greg’s first official eyebrow waxing), and rented a kayak to do a little exploring. Each new experience living up to the last. And when it was finally time to board The Truman to head back to civilization, we couldn’t have been more relaxed….until we looked at the bill.
No, seriously. It ain’t cheap, but as we look back on it now as we have so much over the past eight years, it was an investment in our sanity. The mere possibility of being able to experience it at some point again (hopefully in 3 years on our 10th anniversary) makes spending that much money worthwhile. And if you find yourself in a position to do it (Jetsetter can help you with that), we would highly recommend a vacation to Little Palm Island. You won’t regret it.
p.s. As if I need to say it, this isn’t a family resort. Children under 16 are not admitted. Hence, the reason we enjoyed it so much!