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.


What to expect during your stay

Our entire staff at The Mermaid & The Alligator have one goal: to make your stay as wonderful and memorable as possible. Our Inn Keeper, Maura, strives for excellence in all that she does. Her passion for hospitality is evident and you will feel it the moment you step inside. Supported by a detail-oriented, friendly, and caring staff, you can rest assured that all of your vacation needs will be met with a smile and a "can-do" attitude. Combine this high level of guest service with the amazing amenities and accommodations found at our property, and you are destined for a most memorable and lovely vacation. We invite you to be our guest, to retreat into our lovely, private, romantic, and comfortable B&B, where you can truly relax, unwind, and embrace the laid-back vibe that Key West is known for.