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“A beautiful, relaxing oasis.”

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The Mermaid & The Alligator
Ranked #4 of 77 Key West B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 November 2010

In the course of finding a B&B in Key West during Fantasy Fest, I called the Mermaid and the Alligator several times. Each time I was impressed by their candor and helpfulness. So I decided to book with them and I’m so glad I did.
We were immediately greeted by the owners’ two, black labs and led into the house to meet our concierge, Geri. Geri immediately made us feel welcome and gave us a great overview of Key West and some of restaurants and places they recommended. Now, I’m always a little leery when a business recommends another business. However, every excursion, restaurant and shop that Geri and the other concierges and owners recommended was stellar! Each recommendation was amazing, not just good, amazing. This B&B won’t recommend it unless it’s excellent.
Our room, The Caribbean Queen, was spacious and well-appointed. The large sitting room looked onto an enormous king-size bed with double doors leading to our wrap-around veranda with rattan furniture and our own hammock. We even had our first guest…an iguana who likes to perch on the railing.
Breakfast each morning was served personally out in the gardens. The owners have taken care to create a large, lush, tropical garden divided into several intimate sitting areas. We even booked a couples’ massage in an area of the garden near the fountain. Very relaxing. If you want the massages, go with the B&B’s recommendation on massage therapists. My husband and I both had fantastic massages and we know massage. If you want intense work they will do it. if you just want to be relaxed, they’ll do that.
We never lifted a finger during our stay. Every taxi, every excursion, every reservation was arranged for us by the staff or owners. The location was fantastic, being only a few blocks from Duval Street (the main drag). So were close to the action and far enough away to ignore it if we wanted. One of the Fantasy Fest locals’ parade routes even went by the B&B. So we sat on the front wall of the garden and with our glasses of complimentary wine and watched. Lots of fun!
If you want beautiful surroundings, amazing service and a warm, cozy feel, you will want to stay here. I know we’ll be coming back!

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank breece
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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709 - 715 of 895 reviews

Reviewed 6 November 2010

This was one of the most charming and extraordinary places, I've ever been to.
The house, garden and the guestrooms (we stayed in the Audubon Room) are furnished and decorated so lovely and cosy that you find yourself in a beautiful atmosphere.
And if you like dogs, this stay is a must. As soon as you step in, they welcome you by bringing a toy and inviting you to play with them :-)
It was really a pleasure to have experienced this exceptional place. Key West is certainly an unusual and somehow freaky place itself; so when you return from the hurly-burly at Duval Street, just sit down anywhere in the house or garden, take a complimentary glass of wine or juice, stroke the dogs and enjoy!!

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank Simone_J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 October 2010

After searching for a B & B in Key West, we decided on Mermaid & the Alligator after looking at their web site and reviews on Trip Advisor. Once we arrived we parked on the side of the inn. Parking is off street. Once we opened the door we did not expect to find such a paradise.
We were greeted by Geri, who was so helpful. She showed us around the house and explained everything about the house. She offered her suggestions on restaurants, bikes, and tours. She is a great asset for the house.
Our room was on the second floor, facing the side and back of the house. We stayed in the Sun Room. It was beautiful. We had a small balcony overlooking the gardens and pool. It was so nice to sit out there with a glass of wine. The linens were so comfortable and of high quality. Housekeeping was great. Everything was kept in order and well stocked.
Paul and Dean were so pleasant and helpful. My husband loved the outdoor music. After locating the speakers (they were rock speakers) he asked Paul about them. Paul told us where he got them. Later on they looked them up for us on the internet, and found out where we could purchase them. The ones they had were no longer available. They are great hosts to go out of their way for their guests.
This inn had a great hot breakfast, and lemonade and wine out for guests during the day and evening. They have thought of everything. Umbrellas, beach towels and mats, pool towels, menus, and if you forgot anything they had it for you. We have stayed in many B & B's and thought this was the best.
The two dogs they have Havana, and Caya are wonderful, and so well behaved. They are alot of fun to watch.
The Mermaid and the Alligator is a wonderful, tropical, romantic inn. Everything is top quality. Lush surroundings, and close to everything. I would highly recommed this inn to everyone. We will be back. We loved Key West and only stayed two nites, but plan on going back for a longer time.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank newdis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2010

My wife and I stayed here recently during a friend's beach wedding (my wife had stayed here before), and I'd have to really dig to find anything lacking. The price (we were in a mainhouse room with a patio) was lower than what our friends were paying for a standard-brand hotel (prices in Key West are very high!); the breakfast on the patio was excellent; the grounds (complete with all sorts of interesting little alcoves) were beautiful; the location (a short walk to Duval Street, and closer to many great restaurants) was near-ideal; and the service was perfect.

There is always an inkeeper, and usually an owner around, to answer questions. There's free wifi and a guest PC. There's complimentary juice and sodas available during the day, and wine in the late afternoon. An added bonus is the dogs, two friendly but non-demanding flat-coated labs. The management has figured out a way to be completely non-obtrusive but instantly available. It's the best B&B I've stayed at in many years of travel.

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank westcoastpg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2010

A friend recommended this B&B. We were sceptical but found Memaid and Alligator (Mermagator as the cabbies called it) to be the friendliest, cleanest, tropical oasis on the key. The dogs comforted us after shopping. The owners showed genuine interest in our excursions, and everyone was most helpful. It is a bit of a walk to the square, but don't stay on Duval if you want to sleep at night. Stay at the "Mermagator"!

  • Stayed: October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank MMouse1381
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
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Additional Information about The Mermaid & The Alligator

Address: 729 Truman Ave, Key West, FL 33040-6423
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key West
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 77 B&Bs / Inns in Key West
Price Range: £139 - £190 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to the casual elegance and style of a more relaxed age. Our beautiful circa 1904 Victorian Home, located in the heart of Old Town Key West, offers the warm hospitality of a traditional bed & breakfast while providing our guest a place to relax, enjoy the ambiance, and even shut out the rest of the world if you choose. Join us and feel at home. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Mermaid & The Alligator Hotel Key West
The Mermaid And The Alligator
The Mermaid & The Alligator Key West, Florida

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