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“A wonderful experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Bay

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Dolphin Bay
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333 Iliahi St., Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Hilo
FL
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“A wonderful experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2006

If your goal is to see things on the Big Island and not to spend time at the beach, Dolphin Bay Hotel has our highest recommendation. it was the most relaxing, peaceful, accommodating & wonderful experience we've had in a hotel. The units are not huge but they are adequate, clean, and well supplied, even down to the ear plugs some might need to tune out the cacophony of tropical night sounds featuring the Koki frog. Units have a full kitchen, a nice lanai, and no phone! Julie & staff are very friendly & helpful. Their free breakfast includes fruit (papaya, bananas, passion fruit, starfruit), cinnamon rolls, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. They have a huge tropical garden which you can spend time walking through, complete with orchids, fruit trees, and a small falls, and they encourage you to pick the fruit in the garden and on the grounds. The staff helps you plan your sightseeing trips as well. Need a map or walking stick or flashlight or umbrella? They loan them to you freely. It would have been worth the trip just to stay there and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. If we ever get to go back to Hilo, we'll be stayng at Dolphin Bay Hotel again.

  • Liked — the friendly staff & peaceful environment
  • Disliked — climbing the stairs for 2nd story apts.
  • Tips/Secrets — Iliahi is the second street on the left past Wailuku River
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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507 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (87)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Simi Valley, California
Top Contributor
149 reviews 149 reviews
53 hotel reviews
Reviews in 70 cities Reviews in 70 cities
126 helpful votes 126 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2006

My husband & I were visiting the Big Island of Hawaii for Thanksgiving week and were staying in Kona. We wanted to explore Hilo, so I read thru the reviews here on TripAdvisor on where would be the best choice for us to stay. We decided on the Dolphin Bay Hotel, so I called up the hotel directly. The owners are very nice and very helpful. We arrived for our 1 night stay and were greeted by a very pleasant receptionest. She explained everything about the property, the coffee and rolls in the morning and where we could eat that night for dinner if we needed help in choosing a place. Our room was ready when we arrived. The complex is older but very clean and comfortable and the grounds are beautiful!!! We checked out our room and then walked thru the garden which was very nicly kept. We walked over to the bridge and checked out the river flowing through.
If you are a light sleeper, as we are, the frogs that live in the area are quite verbal all night! Some people enjoy the chirps they do, but for us, it was quite loud all night even with all the windows closed. It could of been the location of our room that enhanced their chirps, and maybe some rooms are better located than ours was. All in all we enjoyed our stay and one night was good for us!

  • Liked — Price
  • Disliked — Frogs
  • Tips/Secrets — Ask for their quietest room
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2006

Hi,
we're a family travelling to Hawaii for our first time and wanted to see the Volcano area around Hilo in late Sept 06.

We choose to stay in Hilo rather than in the Volcano Village - this just suited us better for our travel plans.

I found the Dolphin Bay Hotel via Travel Advisor after reading other reviews & recommendations. I had been working with a travel agent but gave up on this when they could only talk about the hotels they had on their books and couldn't provide any details, but the prices, about them.

I booked directly with the Hotel web site - no dramas here.

We received an info kit via postal mail ( we're in Australia) a few days later with a map & directions on how to get to the hotel (not hard to do - just in an unexpected location ).

We arrived late in the afternoon. Our room was ready and everything was nicely explained to us by the the receptionist. It's been a long while since we've had service this personal and genuine and informative.

After we checked in, we had knock on the door and the receptionist offered us the remaining breakfast muffins as an
afternoon snack. We appreciated the kindness and thoughtfulness + the muffins were great :-). Just what we needed after flying and travelling for the day.

It's defintely worth spending a few minutes exploring the grounds of the hotel. There are fruit trees on the grounds - the receptionist advised us we could help ourselves to any ripe fruit , there are very nicely laid out gardens - it's worth a look.

The noise from the frogs was pleasant to hear - it's like a musical melody in the background. We were not disturbed by it in any way and found it rather pleasant.

Breakfast is a great experience - there were coffee and muffins available, included in the price. A very nice way to start the day. My wife wanted the recipe for the muffins, so they must have been good.

On the day we planned to explore the volcano park, we met John (the owner ) and discussed with him what our plans were. He gave some some very good first hand advice and loaned us a walking stick each for walking over the lava fields to / from the lava flow. There were invaluable, especially in the dark , with the uneven surfaces. You won't find this sort of service in any 5 star hotel.

I can recommend this hotel highly for travellers - ie people who are looking to share their experiences with other people , people who are looking for advice and guidance on what to do & see in the local area ; references on good places to eat ( I can recommend the Island Pizza Plaza [not sure if this the right name but the hotel reception referred us to it and gave us a menu with a discount voucher on it too]).

The room itself was clean and tidy and in good condition. The hotel doesn't have airconditioning - we didn't find this a problem. There were 2 large fans in the room and this provided adequate cooling. We slept well.

We had a superior studio room and this worked well for us ( 2 adults , 2 teenage chidren).

If / when we go back Hilo we'll be staying here again.

John

  • Liked — Good service , good location , parking on site , breakfast
  • Tips/Secrets — A low key gem - worth seriously considering staying there.
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2006

We have just returned from a trip to Hawaii, and we had a very pleasant stay at the Dolphin Bay Hotel.

The hotel is a small, intimate place, and the rooms are simple, but very clean. We arrived late on the first night - the reception was closed for the night, but our keys were "hidden" in a pre-arranged location (along with a detailed hand-written note welcoming us and describing the amentities.) We stayed in Room #10, a "superior" room that was bright & spacious, with an adjoining kitchenette. The night's rain was pleasant but the noise from the nearby forest critters was noticeable, and may not be to everyone's taste. The morning's coffee & sticky buns were enjoyable and we wandered in the trails through the trees behind the hotel - very pleasant. Before departing from Hilo, we spent our last night at the Dolphin Bay. This time we were in Room #12, which was a little darker and smaller than #10, but still pleasant and clean.

All in all, we were very happy with the Dolphin Bay. The rooms were ideal, and the staff were friendly. (In particular, John, the proprietor, was very knowledgeable about the Volcanos National Park and travels on the Big Island, in general.)

  • Stayed September 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Munster, IN
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
118 helpful votes 118 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2006

What a quirky, fun little hotel! We just needed a one night stay, and read about Dolphin Bay online. We had a great night at the hotel. We toured their garden, ate their fresh bananas they provided right on the branch, and played with their cat. While simply appointed, the room was clean and nice. We had fresh kona coffee in the morning before we took off for the airport. The owner was extremely friendly and accomodating. We loved all the nuances of this little off-the-beaten path place. We wished we could have stayed longer. They made sure to tell us we were family when we stayed there, and we certainly felt like that, even for just one night. This hotel had great personality!

  • Liked — It's unique personality
  • Stayed August 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SF Bay Area, California
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2006

It's tucked away in a residential neighborhood, but what a wonderful little inn! The owners have really done a nice job of restoring and updating the rooms. Everything is very, very clean. The surrounding grounds are beautiful, and they leave fresh fruit and vegetables [picked fresh from the hotel's gardens] in the lobby for guests to help themselves to. The staff are very knowledgeable about the local area and will spend time to help you map out what to see while you're here. When we told them we were going to visit Volcanoes National Park to see the evening lava flows, they loaned us flashlights and walking sticks, and provided lots of very helpful advice.

note; there can be a lot of night noises [birds, frogs] outside your room, but it is the tropics after all...

Would definitely recommend this to families. Just a great, friendly place to stay at a good price...

  • Liked — Clean, updated facilities and a GREAT staff
  • Disliked — night noises [tropical critters] - but it's not so bad
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2006

After just staying there for a week with my wife, I agree wth all the other reviews. Nice breakfast with sweet rolls and beverages in the AM, rainforest in the back, friendly staff with excellent travel advice, neat rooms (no bugs!) with balconies, and just a great atmosphere to match the city. This is really an ideal place for people who drive off to do interesting things during the day (volcano national park, beaches of so many different colors (black, white, green, etc) drive up to mauna kea, tour historic hilo, etc). For a contrast, my wife and I spent a night at the Kona Resort on the west side of the island, which was more expensive and HOTEL-like and matched the touristy Acapulco-ish gift shop enivironment of that town. One night was enough over there and returning to the Dolphin Bay was like coming back home. I can see why people keep coming back!

  • Stayed May 2006
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dolphin Bay

Address: 333 Iliahi St., Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Hilo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Seasoned guidance for a wide range of Big Island adventures. Walking distance to downtown Hilo. Clean quiet & reasonable. All rooms with kitchens. Free WiFi Internet available. Rated nicest small hotel in Hilo. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Dolphin Bay Hilo, Hawaii
Dolphin Bay Hotel Hilo

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