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Reviewed 10 June 2021

My husband and I spent 3 nights on LPI. It was heaven! You feel like you are on a private island in a tropical paradise. They take great care to time things appropriately. They don’t have a lot of staff but they use all of them doing many jobs. They are always busy! The grounds have been landscaped for privacy in such a beautiful way. Kudos to a wonderful destination experience you don’t have to go international to get.

Date of stay: June 2021
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank nrolfness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kevin geanides, General Manager at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 21 June 2021

Dear nrolfness,

Thank you for the gracious comments regarding your stay with us. We enjoyed providing an escape for you and your husband and look forward to seeing you again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 June 2021

The headlines coming into the trip said it all: the Florida Keys had the highest increase in hotel prices in the United States coming into May 2021 following the close-down of the pandemic. Little Palm Island was no exception. But we knew that coming in.

That being said, I've read many of the reviews, and the issues we had were identifiable in many different pieces, but not in all one. So I will begin with the good parts.

First, Rolando (beach staff employee) was excellent. May is the windiest month in the Keys, so almost all water activities were shut down while we were there. Rolando was an excellent resource as to what fish we could see from the beach (including manatees) or sand bar, and what birds to identify and what their patterns were.

Second, the property was indeed nice. The paths were swept, and the staff kept the pool area and beach area very clean. The boat transfer staff were professional and helpful, and very friendly.

The rooms were clean but service was not without hiccups. An example: a dirty full laundry bag of sheets/etc. was left in our room one day. On another, dirty glasses were left. Not what you'd expect from a top-notch hotel, and we've stayed in more than I can count. These are nit-picking, but at the $3k-per-night (we were there a long time), you expect much more.

The room we had was very nice with a view of the post-Hurricane Irma mangrove. We were able to see some awesome birds and it was a secluded area.

A giant problem that one reviewer identified was the food. There is one restaurant, and they serve essentially the same menu every day, with only slight variations. Even worse, and this may be a cultural thing in Florida or that part of the U.S., folks apparently generally do not like spices (or flavor for that matter), so the food tends to be quite bland for those with a more flavored preference or background, god-forbid that you want anything spicy. Or so it was for us. Bland food, same food, for many days in a row. Even the bread did not save it.

What _did_ save the food, though, is the dessert/pastry chef, who has been there for more than 17 years now. (We spoke to several wait staff members, who indicated the pandemic had caused a lot of turnover in the kitchen, which likely explained the food flavor issues, or at least I will give them credit for that excuse).

The pastry/dessert chef makes the only real flavorful food. She also makes a muffin of the day for breakfast (highly recommend), and a butter croissant (closest thing to getting one from France that we've had since being in France...I wish I had ordered it daily, but it took a few days to figure this gem out).

In fact, order anything that she makes and you'll be pleased. Otherwise, you may as well pinch your nose while eating...you'll get the same flavor. Even the lava cake was relatively bland, so there were some misses there as well. The coconut creme brulee was spectacular.

Who wants a steak when you're in a seafood area? I found that to be stunning. The seafood should be the star, and we were hoping for elevated seafood dining. It was a major disappointment.

The bar promptly shuts down at nights around 10:30/11p, which according to staff is forced so that visitors will go to sleep/wake up to spend more money during the day. That's sad for folks who like to be up at night or who enjoy eating late (read: those of you who eat early will like the early dinners/early closing).

The piano player stopped playing nightly at 10p (and dinner usually ended for most at around 9:30p), so you really did not get much post-dinner entertainment at all (more on that later). The pianist, though, was very skilled (Phil was his name) and particularly enjoyed getting a drink from the guests (in all the time we were there, we saw that happen only once...sad). The hotel should consider having the bar open to midnight, or at least having room service alcohol available until then. Otherwise, it was Prohibition time.

The spa was below average for me, though for my wife she had a good experience. I prefer a deep tissue massage, but the masseuse may as well have been using a feather. The music was relaxing at least. Definitely overpriced, but it is a location monopoly.

Those were most of the things that the hotel can control, and I would expect much, much more (the Villa d'Este in Italy has the same charge for rooms on Lake Como, but was so much better that it is a shame to mention their name in this review comparing to LPI).

Things outside the hotel's control are weather, and guests. We had problems with both, and one lead to another. The weather (see comment about wind, earlier) prevented all escape from the 4-acre island, so we were trapped, much like Gilligan, on the property.

The chairs on the beach were completely occupied daily when the hotel is full (and it was for half the time we were there), and the chairs poolside likely had similar challenges (you may be able to find one near the pool, just not adjacent the swimming pool). As such, you were very, very close to other trapped guests. We had some guests who played their iPhone music and sang along (great for an electronics-free island experience..all you need is to hear an off-key singer singing along to something karoake style to make you relax). I felt sorry for the poor guests who kept checking, frequently to see if any beach chairs had opened, only to be denied.

The proximity teaches you things about other people, (outside the hotel's control), whether you want to be taught or not. One thing we learned (and staff confirmed) is that frequent guests bring others who are very likely compensated to be with them. Read that as you may, but we saw plenty to indicate that to be true.

The best was the coital relations happening _in the bar_ after one night when the pianist left. We had been down to the docks to watch the tarpon fish feeding, and when we came back up, a couple was in flagrante delecto, I am sure having thought everyone had gone to their rooms (though the staff was still there as was the bartender). The next night I confirmed that what we saw was observed by the staff, who indicated it was brought up to the manager at the time when it was being observed, who did nothing to stop it.

There was some karma, as the "couple" (see earlier comment about payments) apparently had lost a cell phone as they were complaining the following morning. I wonder how...

Again, $3k a night?

So, back to the title of this review, there is much potential (and many things we did not get to do due to things outside of hotel control such as weather), but we will never be back there again. We're already booking our trip to return to more Michelin/RC quality venues.

Room tip: Ask for a room away from the harbors
Date of stay: May 2021
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank RoundMound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kevin geanides, General Manager at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 21 June 2021

Dear RoundMound,

Thank you for taking the time to write about your recounted experience when staying with us. While this is far from the experience we strive for. I appreciate the feedback as we will discuss how to refine our levels of service as a team. Thank you for staying with us and if you do decide to return I will ensure we meet or exceed your expectations.

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Reviewed 6 June 2021 via mobile

Hands down the best spot to go to get off the grid. It’s expensive but worth every penny. They don’t miss any details. E Rhine is attentive and friendly and they make it happen. Free boat usage and paddle boards. Amazing food and beverage program. We are def going back

Date of stay: June 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank ehhorse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kevin geanides, General Manager at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 8 June 2021

Dear ehhorse,

Thank you for staying with us and we love knowing we will see you again! Anytime you need to escape, your spot awaits.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2021

upscale Gilligan's Island with every comfort and every need met. Ask for recommended drinks and food and get a lovely surprise. Heaven on earth, a fantastic break from New York City ! The no mask rule made our stay even better, I hope the staff can go maskless soon too.

Date of stay: May 2021
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank randsp8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kevin geanides, General Manager at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 8 June 2021

Dear randsp8,

Thank you for staying with us! It is great to know we helped create the escape needed! We look forward to welcoming you back, with big visible smiles. :)

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Reviewed 4 June 2021

One doesn't have to depart the States to experience a destination birthday, anniversary, wedding and/or get-a-way; it's in the Florida Keys. Little Palm Island Customer service is superb, the food is delicious, and the accommodations are speculator. If you want to set yourself free, experience all Little Palm Island has to offer.

Date of stay: June 2021
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Jeanne F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kevin geanides, General Manager at Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, responded to this reviewResponded 8 June 2021

Jeanne F,

Thank you for the kind comments. We hope to pamper you again soon.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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