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The Mermaid & The Alligator
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Reviews (932)
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Reviewed 22 September 2010

Love it! Beautiful gardens, rooms and friendly staff - all little 'extras' to make stay better were taken care of. We stayed in the bamboo room and the royal ponsietta. Really reccomend the Royal Ponsietta - loved the deck. Even has parking for free! Loved the nightly wine, they have afternoon snacks, and even stuff to take to the beach - all for no extra charge! Would not think of staying anywhere else in Key West!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Tiffini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2010

My husband and I just got home from celebrating Labor Day weekend in Florida. At first, we considered just spending the time in Miami, but then I read an article that described the Overseas Highway out to the Florida Keys as one of America's best drives. So then we came up with the idea to drive from Miami to Key West. With our plane tickets purchased, it was time for me to decide where we would rest our heads while visiting Key West. I had a tough time deciding, since there is certainly no shortage of lodging options in the Florida Keys. I finally chose The Mermaid and the Alligator Bed and Breakfast when I ran across a description of it on a Key West Web site for tourists.

Truthfully, I think what really won me over was the fact that this particular B&B features two very special hostesses... two beautiful black flat coat retrievers named Caya and Havana. Okay... so the Mermaid and the Alligator is actually owned by innkeepers Dean Carlson and Paul Hayes, but the dogs certainly do add a lot of welcoming charm to their beautiful bed and breakfast.

Booking

I made my first inquiry to the Mermaid and the Alligator in late July, when I sent the innkeepers an email requesting pricing information and availability for Labor Day weekend. My husband and I originally wanted to stay in Key West for two nights and then spend two nights in Miami. But as it was a holiday weekend, the innkeepers advised me that at that early date, they were only renting rooms for three night blocks because of the holiday. We decided to stay three nights based on advice from my many Facebook friends, most of whom assured me that Key West would be a lot more fun than Miami. To reserve our room, we paid a deposit equal to the first night's room rate.

Rooms

The Mermaid and the Alligator offers nine rooms, six of which are in the main house which dates from 1904. The other three rooms are in what is known as the Conch Cottage, a charming building that dates from the 1880s.

We rented the "Garden Room", a pretty room on the first floor right next to the main house's front door. For Labor Day weekend, the rate was $168 per night plus tax. The Garden Room features a terra cotta floor, a cathedral ceiling, a queen sized canopy bed, and French doors that lead out to the B&B's beautiful garden area. The bathroom has a walk in shower with dual heads, glass blocks, and a glass ceiling.

I chose the Garden Room based on the lovely pictures of it posted on the B&B's Web site. We weren't disappointed with the room; it was beautifully decorated and very cool, with high powered air conditioning and a ceiling fan. There was also a clock radio, stereo, and a sound machine on the nightstand.

The garden

The Mermaid and the Alligator has a beautiful garden area canopied with gorgeous palm trees. Dean and Paul keep several finches and parakeets in cages in the garden area. There is a hammock and a gazebo in the garden, as well as several loungechairs. There's also a covered porch area by the house where guests can mingle. My husband and I met a lovely couple from New Jersey during our stay.

Breakfast

The Mermaid and the Alligator offers breakfast every day from 8:30am to 10:00am. Muffins, fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, coffee, and orange juice are available. Dean and Paul also make a vegetarian hot dish every day. On the days we visited, we enjoyed banana pancakes, sundried tomato egg fritatas, and Belgian waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. Breakfast is usually served outside in the garden, though when it rains, it's served inside at the dining room table.

Other amenities

The Mermaid and the Alligator is located within walking distance of Key West's downtown area. The inn features a very small swimming pool, a communal refrigerator, and complimentary water and sodas. Dean and Paul have also very thoughtfully added some extra homey touches. Every afternoon, the staff puts out complimentary wine and lemonade. They also allow guests to borrow umbrellas, beach towels, tote bags, and pool towels. And if you forgot your sunblock, razor, or shaving cream, you're covered. Dean and Paul have those items available to borrow as well. There's also a drug store within walking distance of the inn.

The rooms do not have televisions or telephones, but there is a TV in the living room for those who need a CNN fix. A house phone is available for those who don't have cell phones. The inn also has a computer and printer available for patrons to use. Free wireless internet is available and we did bring a laptop; but we didn't bother to get on the Web while we were visiting Key West.

Parking

One thing to know about the Mermaid and the Alligator is that there's not much parking to speak of. The inn's private lot has room for eight cars, though they have to be stacked behind each other. Guests must leave their car keys in a coconut shell in the kitchen so that their cars can be moved if someone parked in the front row needs to get out.

Concierge

We were very pleased with this B&B's concierge services. A few days before we arrived, Geri, the concierge, emailed us with some suggestions of things to do while we were in Key West. One of the suggestions she made was to take a dinner cruise. We enjoyed the Dream Chaser chartered dinner cruise on our second night and had a wonderful, unforgettable time. Geri provided all the information we needed to make our choice, including prices. She also booked the cruise for us.

I also want to give Caroline, another Mermaid and Alligator staffer, a shout out. Caroline was very helpful to us over the weekend. It was raining on our first morning, so she gave us suggestions on things we could do inside. She also gave us an umbrella to use so we wouldn't have to share the one we brought. When the rain stopped, my husband and I decided to take a dip in the pool, Caroline came out and told us a little about the history of the inn and Key West.

Life in the Garden Room

One thing to know about the Garden Room is that it's right next to Truman Avenue, which is a busy thoroughfare through Key West. There's a Catholic church right across the street from the B&B and if you're there on a Sunday, you will hear church bells early in the morning.

Other than that, I really enjoyed the Garden Room. The bed was a bit firmer than I'm used to, but it was clothed in exquisite cotton sheets. The housekeepers did an excellent job keeping the room and bathroom clean and stocked with all the necessary items. Dean and Paul do encourage tipping the housekeepers if you think they did a good job. We were happy to leave them a gratuity in the provided tip envelope.

Overall impressions

We enjoyed our stay at the Mermaid and the Alligator. While we did find Dean and Paul a bit aloof at first, they were always very professional and courteous. The inn's support staff members were warm and gracious... and the dogs were a real hit! Caya and Havana are beautiful, sweet-natured, well-behaved dogs that are a pleasure to be around.

Just today, I got an email from Dean and Paul thanking us for staying at their inn. I thought that was a very classy touch.

My recommendations

I would recommend the Mermaid and the Alligator to those who want beautiful, moderately priced accommodations within walking distance of Key West's downtown. I would not recommend this inn to those who don't like dogs or are worried about leaving their car keys so that their car can be rotated in the parking lot. This inn is also not suitable for those who are traveling with pets or children under age 16.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank knotheadusc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2010

This was our second trip to Key West and we didn't think we could top the first B&B we stayed at but the Mermaid and the Alligator really came up trumps and certainly didn't disappoint. From the warm welcome from Geri and the dogs to the beautiful room and wonderful breakfasts everything was just fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble and there was a lot of information about things to do and places to eat which was really useful. There is also a computer available for guests which was a nice touch and quite useful in this day and age. We stayed in the Sun room which was wonderful and loved being able to sit out on the private balcony. We certainly hope to return soon

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Hawley_Lady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 September 2010

My partner and I recommend The Mermaid & The Alligator. Great choice for spending time alone when not in the nightlife. Our room was cozy and airy, just the right touches. The workers were helpful, sending us out armed with local information. They made us feel special.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank stan12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2010

This is was spectacular. The service was detailed, attentive.Homemade breakfast (cooked by the owners themselfs)each morning, also wine on the house each day for the guests. We wish that we be able to have stayed longer. Truely this has been a wonderful time.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Gabriela1-10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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