Who We Are
The Inn's Story
The tropical beauty and distinctive nature of Key West lured our previous owners, Dean Carlson and Paul Hayes, from Hawaii in 1992. Inspired by the quaint island city on their first visit to Key West, it became their dream to relocate from the large island of Oahu, and open a B&B on the tiny island of Key West. They wanted a place that would serve as a home as well as a business, a place that had charm, personality, and stories to tell. Armed with this in mind, they searched the island over. Almost giving up, and maybe even settling for something not quite perfect, they heard, via the Coconut Telegraph, that the B&B across from the ‘Star of the Sea’ Catholic Church may be for sale. They took a tour of a quaint inn tucked behind an eight foot tall cactus hedge. It was love at first sight; and, although above their initial budget, in 1997 they took the plunge, bought the house, and created the home and B&B they had always dreamed of.
Even though The Mermaid & The Alligator B&B had been in operation since 1989, Dean and Paul saw the potential to make the property so much more than just a B&B. Their goal was to create an oasis away from the reality and stress of everyday life; a sanctuary for guests to relax and escape and a place where people walk in and instantly feel welcome and at home. Combining their love of design, architecture, gardening, and business acumen, they threw their hearts, soul, and all of their pennies into creating the home you see today. Honoring the past elegance, yet adding their own unique touches, the home boasts an eclectic mix of art, creative architectural design, and stunning, tropical foliage.
Because of the work Dean and Paul have done over the years, we are proud to say that The Mermaid & The Alligator has hosted numerous political functions, sponsored events, and raised thousands of dollars for local, non-profit organizations such as the Key West Botanical Gardens, Island Opera, Woman Kind, and the Marc House, to name a few.
Geri LaGotta has lived in Key West for the past 15 years. Originally from New York, she fell in love with Key West’s endless summer and is actually someone who thrives when the temperature rises down here! Geri brings to The Mermaid & The Alligator an unprecedented level of hospitality. She thrives on getting to know her guests and providing them with whatever they may need to feel at home and well cared for. In addition, she is passionate about history, making her an ideal person to ask about Key West’s rich and storied past. When she's not overseeing the operations at the Inn, Geri also likes to bake. Her banana-walnut bread and pepper-parmesan loaf pops are mouthwatering and if you're lucky enough to be here when they come out of the oven, you have to try them! Like many Key Westers, Geri has more than one job. In her business, I Do! Weddings Key West, she plans & officiates weddings, vow renewals, and commitment services. She offers packages that include professional photography, flowers, and, of course, cake!
Rebecca Bennett, Guest Representative extraordinaire, has been in Key West for 18 years, 12 of those running a charter boat sailing to the reef, and kayaking in the backcountry. She loves the unique Keys eco-system and enjoys promoting the beauty of Key West! When not working at the Inn, she spends her time painting in her studio on Grinnell Street. Rebecca shows her paintings at Lucky Street Gallery at 1130 Duval Street in Key West. She spends summers in Nova Scotia where she is inspired by the rugged nautical landscape. Our entire staff is here to make your visit a most memorable and exciting one; so sit back, relax, and enjoy a level of service and committment that is second to none.