Let’s Talk about Our Story

Before you book an unimaginably exciting getaway in the Florida Keys with us, we want you to learn all about The Mermaid & The Alligator. Read on below and discover the history of our wonderful Key West bed and breakfast, a most serene and tranquil spot in the heart of Key West.

In the Beginning

The Mermaid & The Alligator sits regally on Truman Avenue, treasuring the stories of bygone eras. Norvin G. Maloney, a successful young lawyer and city attorney, built the home in 1904. It was one of the grandest homes built at the time, and praised for the wide verandas built to take advantage of the eastern trade winds.

The Maloney family was prominent in the Key West community, and it was Norvin’s grandfather, William C. Maloney Sr. (1813-1884), a pioneer and innovator, who settled his family in Key West. William Maloney served as a US Marshall, became a lawyer, and served as a clerk to Asa Tift (a well-known merchant and wreaker who built the notorious Hemingway house).

Like her brother, Norvin’s sister Ida Elizabeth Maloney von Paulsen was a notable figure in the Keys community and served as the first woman airport manager in the country. She managed the small Key West airport in 1934, much to the chagrin of some male pilots.

Possessing over 100 years of stories, the house has served not only as a private home, where it was foreclosed on by one owner, and fought over in a divorce settlement by another, but it has also acted as a boarding house, apartment building, and, eventually, a bed and breakfast. The house boasts an enviable front yard, thanks to the 1909 hurricane, which blew the house back from its street-side foundation. The previous owners lovingly restored it to its pre-hurricane grandeur, thus preserving its wonderful "old house" personality.

So much more than just a B&B, The Mermaid & The Alligator is 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 our love of design, architecture, gardening, and business acumen, we threw our hearts, soul, and all our pennies into creating the home you see today. Honoring the past elegance, yet adding our own unique touches, the home boasts an eclectic mix of art, creative architectural design, and stunning tropical foliage.

We are proud to say that The Mermaid & The Alligator has hosted numerous political functions, sponsored events, and raised thousands of dollars for local nonprofit organizations such as the Key West Botanical Gardens, Island Opera, Woman Kind, and the Marc House, to name a few.

Old picture of bed and breakfast
Bed and Breakfast Front

Our Inn Today

Today, the house has been revived to show off its full glory. The Victorian home still retains many of its original features, like the Dade County Pine floors, the attractive staircase, and the elegant pocket doors between the living and dining rooms. Original windows now have Victorian-style interior trim, and the overhead sprinkler is covered by attractive crown moldings and faux Victorian-style pillars.

The home is an eclectic mixture of furniture and art. Each room resonates its own unique character, offering sophistication, old-world charm, and modern convenience. The home boasts art from Cuba, Costa Rica, Hawaii, numerous Mediterranean countries, and more.

The clientele is an intriguing mix of all ages, here to celebrate an important occasion or just to get away. They come from all over the world. Friendships have formed meeting for the first time at breakfast or over wine, often discovering how small the world really is.

At The Mermaid & The Alligator, memories are made, and guests are treated to an experience they will always treasure. Beyond just the recommendations, it is helping the guests experience the wonder and beauty of Key West. The Mermaid & The Alligator welcomes you, so come and share.

The Story of the Mermaid & The Alligator

In the depths of the ocean, a story is told, of a beautiful mermaid, in the sea and the cold.

She swam to the gulf and the warmth it supplied, never heeding the danger, that awaits in the tide.

Every day before dawn, she would sneak from the rest, to the everglade channels where warmth was the best.

She would glide through the grass and the roots set below, being cautious for gators, whose threatening eyes glow.

As the days passed along, being true to her plan, she would swim back and forth, from the reeds to her clan.

On a crisp silver dawn, she made off on her quest, slipping through the fine roots, became caught in a nest.

She couldn’t escape and succumbed to the fear, as she watched the approach of the gators come near.



Then as quick as a flash, one gator jumped out, he stood between peers, and their dinner, no doubt.

He snapped all the vines with his lightning fast jaw, and the mermaid escaped, gators all struck by awe.

They sent him away and not to come back, he slowly made off and his future seemed black.

But the mermaid returned to embrace her new friend, and she gave him a kiss for his choice to defend.

They swam to the gulf and along down the keys, to a place they could live, and do, as they please.

Somewhere that accepts different pairs as a guest, and they settled right here, where else but Key West!

- Gerry Beaney