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Little Palm Island is five acres of perfection. Over 100 miles from Miami, the island is a short boat ride from the Keys' arterial road, but it seems a lifetime away.
Once you are immersed in the stylish and luxurious world that is Little Palm Island, it is seriously difficult to believe you are still in Florida, let alone the US. It was after all, the filming location for PT 109, which was chosen to fool cinema-goes into thinking it was shot in the South Pacific.
One of the first things you will notice is that the island is draped in luxuriant vegetation. As well as this, it is home to an incredible diversity of migrating birds; like nowhere else in the Keys.
IT'S EASY TO FORGET THAT YOU'RE AT A HOTEL
At the heart of the resort is an intimate palm-fringed pool, which is overlooked by the Palapa Bar, the restaurant, a cosy library and a boutique. All are housed in irregular single-storey, rough timber-clad structures that give the place the feel of a private house with outbuildings.
The perimeter of the complex is populated by 28 raised, thatched-roof bungalow suites, all with ocean views, and all private. The sense of South Seas remoteness is taken further with no in-room telephones or televisions; a brave move in North America.
It's easy to think of Little Palm as something of an eco-sanctuary, as you dine on a small sandy point, overlooking the beach, lit by torches, while watching the sun sink and the pelicans dive. And just when you think things can't get any better, a rare Key deer, an endangered species, nuzzles up to you for some scraps.
That said, the beach looks better than it is. The Keys might be close to the Bahamas, but they aren't blessed with the same great beaches. Instead, you can try something different: lie back on the boardwalk or at one of the secluded spots that dot the island, or take a small boat out to explore the mangroves where you might find manatees.
DIVING IN LITTLE PALM ISLAND
The immaculate 28-ft Island Girl can carry up to 14 people, taking you to dive sites such as Looe Key and Adolphus Busch, which are very close to the resort, meaning that there is no need for catered day trips.
The centre also makes it easy for you to dive further afield. If you have time to take in the Thunderbolt wreck up in Marathon, you will be driven 30 minutes or so north to the small but perfectly run Deep Blue Dive Center. This runs you out to the site some 20 minutes away and then to a second, shallower dive. In short, this is a quality set-up and a seamless extension to the resort.
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.
Will, Original Diver