Sunday, 28 November 2010
A Sybaritic South Seas Fantasy
Location: Little Torch Key, Florida, U.S.A.

The island, is accessible only by boat or seaplane.
Sometimes you just don't have time to fly to the South Pacific. But when the pressing need for a shot of Robinson-Crusoe-goes-tropical calls, the Gauguinlike experience of Little Palm Island fulfills all expectations. A sleek 1930s-style motor launch brings guests to the hotel's private 5-acre island in the lower Florida Keys, where the first impression is one of exotic perfection. There are fourteen thatched-roof bungalows, sitting on stilts and shaded by rustling palm trees, populated by an international mix of pampered guests lolling in rope hammocks or scattered about the rare-for-the-Keys sandy white beaches like so many washed up sea shells. The tropicstyle accommodations are rustic (there are outdoor showers) but grand (indoor bathrooms have Jacuzzis), and TVs and telephones are purposefully absent to help guests get away with getting away. Little Palm lsland is a special place, and it's not hard to imagine it as it was until the 1960s: an elite fishing camp favored by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy, among others. The hotel will gladly arrange a number of interesting off-island excursions, like a day trip to historic and picturesque Key West or nearby Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary where snorkelers and divers can explore the last living coral reef in North America. There are plenty of other activities available, but most guests choose to do nothing more than indulge in sacred inactivity, nursing a Rumrunner or Gumby Slumber and watching another Technicolor sunset while awaiting the next remarkable meal.

WHAT: island, hotel. WHERE: 120 miles southwest of Miami, 29 miles northeast of Key West. Launch departs from Little Torch Key. Tel 800-3-GET LOST or 305-872-2524, fax 305-872-4843;, COST: doubles from $695 (low season), from $1050 (high season); includes boat transfer from Little Torch Ke5 beach and watercraft amenities (meals extra). BEST TIMES: Jan-May for weather; Jun-Oct for fishing.


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