I’m not sure where to start. I’ll start with the positive. The exterior has a classic downtown motel look and the interior is even more old-timey, with a grand wide staircase leading to the rooms. The front desk woman told me the building dates to the 1920s but assured me that they’ve done many upgrades (she didn’t seem to understand that I was complimenting the hotel). The hallway leading to the rooms was lovely, with tiled floors, palmed plants, and windows. Nice dark wood doors leading into the rooms. The room was exceedingly clean and stocked with a microwave and fridge. We got a corner room with nice windows. The shower had excellent pressure. The price is right for the location, right in the center of Oceanside’s main stretch of Highway 101, close to restaurants and bars and the beach. Their rates were definitely lower than other hotels in the area and it has all the individualistic appeal of a non-chain hotel.
Unfortunately, instead of capitalizing on the old-time charm of the place, they decorated the room with standard cheap-motel bedspreads, paintings, etc. The old chintzy red velvet curtains were actually the best part of the décor. The wireless internet was a pretty slow connection. Most annoying, I made the reservation months in advance and called before arriving to confirm it, and was still hassled by the woman at the front desk. She asked me at least three times how many were staying in my room, although the two of us were both standing there and I’d told her upon arrival and during the reservation that it would be two of us. She kept mumbling ‘one person’ to herself and looking at her papers, and it seemed she was hoping to argue I’d only made the reservation for one person so as to charge me more. She finally moved on from that, and was nicer. She came to the room shortly after we got there with an extra towel, but there was only one half-sized towel in the bathroom to start with so we were still short a towel. The sheets were threadbare thin with a cigarette burn in one, and, by the end of the night, the entire sheet set had unmade itself and was gathered in clumps around us. Really cheap sheets is my point. The doors, while lovely, did not inspire confidence – light seeped in around the edges and it seemed it wouldn’t take much to bust through the locks.
Lastly, the hotel is apparently known as a hooker hotel among locals. We were in Oceanside to meet up with old friends, and the entire table of locals was utterly shocked when they heard where we were staying. They literally did not believe us for a few minutes. We thought they were maybe pulling our leg a bit or exaggerating the situation, but the bartender at a later bar had the same reaction when we said where we were staying. It’s possible that they’ve cleaned the place up – we heard or saw nothing that would confirm these suspicions. But the hotel is only in possession of three parking spots in the alley, with street parking in front of the hotel that only allows two hours – I’m not sure how they could support a hotel full of out-of-town guests. They also sported weekly rates on the chalkboard and a homeless-looking man on the sidewalk entered the hotel with us once we turned in for the night. Despite all, we enjoyed our stay here and would probably stay there again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome! We are a 25 room economy hotel conveniently located in downtown Oceanside, California. We offer deep discount daily and weekly rates. The hotel is ideally located 4 blocks from the beach and 2 blocks from the Oceanside train/bus transit center, which offers mass transportation to all areas throughout the county. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dolphin Hotel Oceanside