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“Thank you, I felt at home” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Bay

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Dolphin Bay
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   333 Iliahi St., Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720   |  
Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Ontario
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Thank you, I felt at home”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2011

We spent nights in this hotel, and 3 days later came back for another night. Unfortunately all king size bed rooms were booked, we only managed to get a king size bed on our first night and 2 single beds the other 2 nights.
Here is my short pros and cons of this hotel:
Pros:
- very clean
- family run, very friendly staff as well as very informative (thank you for all the tips)
- fresh papayas and apple bananas from their own amazing garden were available 24hours a day, you could take as many as you liked for no charge. We lived off these fruits for 3 days we were there!
- on site garden with lush vegetation, benches to relax in and areas to go for a walk (too bad mosquitoes were nasty :( there was even a BBQ there for those that felt the need to grill.
- fresh pastries every morning with coffee
- free WIFI (login and password instructions available in every room)
- king size bedroom was very nice, bathrooms clean and the kitchenette with everything you needed to make any meal (plates, utensils, pots and pans)
- frogs, crickets, birds chirping at night, (very loud), but we got used to it (there are ear plugs in every room for those that are sensitive
- this hotel uses composter and urges you to keep banana peels etc separate to make compost...very green! I did not see and recycling bins, so I hope staff sorts through the garbage
Cons:
- the first room we had was quiet in the morning, meaning you weren't woken up by other guests deciding to have a full blown conversation right in front of your window. But the other room we had for 2 nights, we could hear talking from the reception below and all around (no sleeping in!)
- the king size bed room was nice, but the other 2 nights we had 2 single beds (which staff pushed together for us and even moved our bags for us from room to room). They placed soft foam on top of the beds making the bed very comfy, but our last night, they forgot to push them together (which wasn't a big deal), but that's when you feel the rock hard beds since there was no foam on the beds
- decor is somewhat outdated, but who cares, we just cared that the rooms were clean
- some people might complain that there is no AC, but there is really no need for it, the air is cool at night. Fans are provided though.

All in all, super friendly and knowledgeable staff, tasty treats and fresh fruits, beautiful gardens to relax in, and cozy rooms made this stay a memorable one. Would definitely come back!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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536 reviews from our community

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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 (96)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2011

After reading glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, I had high hopes for the Dolphin Bay. I wasn't expecting anything fancy, but guests' reviews had me excited about fruit growing on the property, a nice staff, fresh-cut flowers in the rooms, and the like. Let me first stay that the staff is absolutely delightful. It's clearly a family-run place, and they call you by first name after they meet you at check-in. In fact, they're so kind that I struggled with the idea of saying anything remotely negative in this review. Still, I make a rule of writing honest reviews in hopes others will, too. I travel a good deal--a lot for business and a little for pleasure, and I count on reviews to help me find great places to stay.

Onward. Other wonderful things included delicious, fresh pastries and coffee in the morning, and yes, fresh cut flowers in the room. The rooms themselves, however, left something to be desired. Like I said, I wasn't counting on anything special, but for $110 a night, what I got was sub-par. The beds were hard as rocks. The floors were a combination of industrial carpeting and linoleum. I could hear other guests showering and having conversations.

And then there's the whole AC thing. As mentioned in many guests' reviews, rooms don't have AC. That wasn't a big deal temperature-wise, since in February Hilo's lows are generally in the 60s. I was so tired I was able to sleep right through the chirping frogs, but I could see a situation where you'd have to choose between fresh air and being kept awake by froggies. And the no internet thing can be a bear when you're traveling on business.

All in all, I think comfort will win out over a the world's nicest staff the next time I book a hotel in Hilo. For me, the bottom line when I'm traveling on business is I want a comfy place to sleep and unwind at the end of a long day. Hilo doesn't have any luxury hotels--or even three star hotels--but unfortunately Dolphin Bay doesn't seem to be the nicest gig in town. Too bad, since I really like the folks running the place.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
135 helpful votes 135 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2011

We returned after 15 years to this comfortable, well maintained, vintage motel located in a pleasant neighborhood close to downtown. The manager, John, remains a fabulous font of insider information for touring the island and approaching the lava flow. It would never occur to us to use air conditioning in this comfortable climate and the coqui frogs were like a Louisiana bayou lullaby. When in the tropics go with the flow.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenai, Alaska
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2011

No modern amenities whatsoever - including air conditioning and we had a "superior" room. The layout of this hotel is such that you can hear every car that drives up, doors banging open, and noise from the common area. Also, there is no air conditioning, just a small wall mounted oscillating fan, and it hasn't been updated since it was built - circa 1960?...We tried to log onto the internet but there was no service. Oh, and did I mention the noise of a zillion coqui frogs chirping all night long? The two worst nights of our Big Island vacation were spent here. The staff was very nice, but that didn't compensate for the room which was in desperate need of a remodel!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
Mount Airy, Maryland
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2011

I accompanied my elderly parents to my father's high school reunion. Hilo is definitely the slower, less sophisticated side of the Big Island. So, it was reassuring to be able to book reservations at a small, friendly hotel not too far from downtown Hilo.

The rooms at Dolphin Bay are simple, but clean and roomy. Having a spartan kitchenette in each room with pots/pans and dishes is very useful. The only bugs I noticed in the rooms were an occasional centipede. The office and maid staff were very friendly and helpful. And having the free pastries, papayas and coffee in the morning were very welcome!

There is no restaurant, beach, swimming pool or resort amenities at the Dolphin Bay, but most travelers staying there do not need them. It's a great base for day trips to the many sightseeing spots on this side of the Island. The gardens behind the hotel are beautiful, if a bit buggy. And the hotel cats are always entertaining to watch!

We had a great stay at Dolphin Bay and would book there in the future!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
Adelaide, Australia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2011

this really is a lovely hotel in a very quiet street, close to the main street and eating area of hilo. the service in the hotel is absolutely fantastic!! the staff couldn't be more helpful especially with their local knowledge and their information on the volcano. in the mornings there is free pastries and fruit. the hotel itself is set in a beautiful rainforest garden. parking is good. the room was good, very spacious and clean. the bathroom was good. there was a full size fridge and oven and cooktop which was great too. the only downer to the hotel is the loud noise from the frogs. the best way to block them out is to close the windows but this can make the room a little stuffy as there is no airconditioning and you lose the breeze coming in from outside.its was not that bad though. other than that it really was a great stay and a nice hotel.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, CA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2011

A little gem in old Hilo about four blocks from the heart of town. Fresh pastry, coffee and fruits awaited us every morning. Our room had a kitchenette, with an outdoor balcony to enjoy our breakfast. No A/C but not needed in Jan. Rooms had ceiling and wall fans that kept the room pleasant. Furniture and decor is dated but very clean. Fresh flowers in the room as well. Personnel very helpful and informative about what to do and see. Short 10 minute walk to downtown. Great farmers market on weekends. Cafe Pesto had great food with local produce and fresh seafood, live music.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.

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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): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dolphin Bay 2.5*
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 
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Also Known As:
Dolphin Bay Hilo, Hawaii
Dolphin Bay Hotel Hilo

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