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“Looks like a motel, feels like a hotel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Motel

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Dolphin Motel
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2912 Garrison Street, San Diego, CA 92106   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #12 of 270 Hotels in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Miami, Florida
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
71 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
“Looks like a motel, feels like a hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

Physically, the Dolphin Motel looks pretty much like any other budget motel scattered across suburban America (with rates to match!). The difference is in the quality of the customer service and the little touches. Check in was a breeze even though I arrived early, Steve at the Front Desk gave me some good pointers on restaurants and public transportation, including a card good for a free appetizer at some of the nearby restaurants. The breakfast the following morning was fine, fresh coffee, supermarket OJ, muffins, bananas, and yogurt. They put out a few newspapers for those who still read offline, and they helped me print my boarding pass. Rooms were fine, and I appreciated the flat screen TVs that included HD channels. The place is not perfect: walls are thin so one can hear one's neighbors pretty clearly and, even though there were three bars of soap in the bathroom, there were no bottles of shampoo.

A word or two about location. I read where an earlier poster said he had walked from the airport to the hotel in Point Loma. Actually, that's true with light luggage like a backpack. Took about 40 minutes along Spanish Landing Park. Picturesque walk along the harborfront though, on the raw and rainy day that I picked, it wasn't too much fun. Point Loma is a relaxed waterfront place concentrating on pleasure boating, and you can walk from the motel to Shelter Island and America's Cup marinas. Good public transit links to Old Town and then the Trolley or a short walk to a bus that goes directly to downtown.

Room Tip: Both streets facing the motel seem noisy, though the rooms in the interior may be slightly quieter.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, TOM, Desk Clerk at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, December 25, 2012
Thank you kindly for writing about us.
The owners have always maintained a nicely-run but small motel
That way, they can focus on the little details and all our guests are greeted by the owners in the morning during breakfast. They take great pride in their work!
Most importantly, our guests decide for themselves if we are what they are looking for.
We have the basics and nothing more. We hope all future guests will read carefully what we have to offer, then decide for themselves if we are what they need.
We really appreciate you taking the time to write about our motel, and hope you will return to San Diego
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951 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 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 (180)
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English first
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

I stayed at the Dolphin Motel for a few days in the summer whilst travelling round the states and so had a small budget. The rooms were exactly as described, breakfast was what you would expect of a motel and the service was excellent.
Close to public transport and within walking distance to the sea front. The owners were lovely - I missed the bus into town on a Sunday with the next bus being in an hour and the owner even drove me to Old Town.
I would recommend to others

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
DolphinMotel, TOM, Desk Clerk at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, December 25, 2012
All of us here thank you NicolaWL for taking the time to write about us
We try our best to fulfill all our guests’ needs
And wonderful guests (like yourself) in the future the right expectations. (no unexpected surprises!)
We are not a luxury place, nor do we advertise as such. We have basic rooms at competitive prices and are suited for the budget-minded traveler.
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West Palm Beach, Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

The quality of the motel is excellent. Sheets and towels are all first class. Breakfast is not extensive, but it is good and they serve it starting at 5:00 am. One of the perks is something that you can't get at a large hotel: if you are from the east coast and make the mistake of thinking that you can get by in California without a computer, the motel will loan you a laptop! And it worked very well. There are two bus routes that will take you into town. Some of the reviews describe the rooms as small, but they are not tiny. Highly recommended

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
DolphinMotel, TOM, Desk Clerk at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, December 25, 2012
Thank you Tom N for your generous rating of our motel.
The owners are reading this with a smile, and thank you for every word and description of our motel
You pretty much summed up our motel in one go!
We hope to see you next time you visit this corner of the US
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Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012 via mobile

The Dolphin Motel is such a fantastic stay for the budget minded traveler. The staff is very kind and helpful. The location is perfect and close to public transportation. The breakfast on the patio every morning was just great and very relaxing. The motel is in a
nice area with several good restaurants. The Dolphin is also near a marina and we enjoyed seeing the huge fish that the charter boats brought in every morning. Although the rooms weren't huge or glamorous, we liked having the small refrigerator to store snacks and sodas.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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.
DolphinMotel, TOM, Desk Clerk at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, December 13, 2012
Thank you Catalina48 for this recent review!
You took the time to describe our motel and help future guests decide if we are the right fit for their vacation.
The owner was very pleased so to hear you enjoyed your stay with us, despite us being a budget motel with small rooms.
He is always pleased to know such wonderful guests like yourselves found our breakfast satisfying, and our cleanliness & courtesy up to his highest expectations!
I do hope you visit us again on your next trip to San Diego!
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

We stayed at the Dolphin during the week of Thanksgiving. We had such a wonderful stay; the rooms were small but so clean and fresh. The breakfast included juice, sweet muffins, bananas and yogurt. We think it would be a nice addition to have some type of bread that's not so sweet as the muffins! And also herbal tea, for the non-caffeine visitors. The staff was very helpful for all of our needs at all hours of the day and night! The Dolfin is right across from the pier and it is such a fun place to venture. The neighborhood is safe and the bus stop (for those public transportation types) is right on the corner. The owners are also very kind and concerned that their guest have a great stay. You just don't find that these days. We have stayed at more expensive places in San Diego, but you can't beat the Dolphin's prices and service! If you enjoy simple and clean, stay here!

Room Tip: Ask for a room that looks over the marina. If they are full, that's okay...........stay anyway!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, TOM, Desk Clerk at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, December 12, 2012
Hello scooterpair
Those are some pictures you took of our motel & the harbor area!
All of us here at the Dolphin appreciate nice folks like you guys

A little bit of research before vacation will pay off in saving time and money!
It is true we don't have much in terms of luxury or fancy, we hope all our future guests will take that into consideration
We sincerely hope you come visit San Diego in the future, the weather here is always nice
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Hell, Norway
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

I should have written this weeks ago. I but have been quite busy and very lazy, but better late than never!
I’m a Brit, my wife is a Californian from LA and we were visiting her Mom, in LA, throughout Sep/Oct 2012.
We decided to spend a couple of days and one night in San Diego, but liked the area so much that we stayed for three nights and four days. Could easily have stayed longer but were running out of time.
We arrived late morning, 1st October, without reservations, and were assigned a room immediately.

I can’t add anything new to the good reviews, simply reiterate that our smallish room was very clean and comfortable with a decent TV and all essentials. It isn’t the Ritz, of course it isn’t, but we were absolutely satisfied with what we received for the money we paid.

The office staff were very efficient, friendly and helpful, even down to handing out a discount coupon for the excellent Miguel’s Restaurant a couple of hundred yards along the quayside (highly recommended).

The motel price is very reasonable for San Diego, made even better by a free simple breakfast – help yourself on the patio. Good coffee and a selection of lovely muffins, which did me nicely. My wife chose from a selection of fruit, juices and yoghurts and there was always plenty of everything. Free off the road parking is another simple, invaluable bonus.

The best part, though was meeting the owner, Horace, who was absolutely charming each morning at breakfast time. ‘Holly’ gave us photocopy maps and clear directions to many local attractions plus well-founded recommendations as to where to go, what to see and how much time to allow for it. Even gave me advice on how to stay off cigarettes, which I was struggling with! He is an absolute gentleman, who I would love to meet again, if we ever make it back there. I do hope so and intend to make it happen.

Horace, if you read this, thank you for your warmth and kindness – I’m still off the cigs and hope to stay that way!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, December 9, 2012
Much appreciated John,
Thank you kindly
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singapore
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012

We were searching for budget accomondation in SD for our last 4 night 16 days california trip. Well we were glad to choose this motel. LCD TVs,fridge and view in front of room #36 is fantastic. Suprised to see that room service is done daily. Housekeeping folks did a good job. Every morning we will see the boss walking around checking the place. Plus point is they provide free gps to use.. the chinese guy on night shift even show us the way to coin laundry.

Room Tip: Choose top floor room above the office
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, TOM, Desk Clerk at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, December 12, 2012
Thank you haizam for staying at our motel
We frequently get many travels from Europe, Canada, Australia and Singapore
I thank you very much for stopping by in the evening and chatting with me!
The owner always appreciates every input our nice guests put in
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Additional Information about Dolphin Motel

Address: 2912 Garrison Street, San Diego, CA 92106
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in San Diego
#5 On the Beach Hotel in San Diego
#7 Family Hotel in San Diego
#9 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#46 Business Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 31
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Highly Rated - Very Reasonably Priced - American Owned and Operated Budget Motel since 1976. Budget very clean rooms with top rated beds, refrigerators and great showers! Best Price! Budget Value! Great location - one block from San Diego Harbor and minutes from the Airport - Seaword - Downtown - Zoo - Beaches and more! Friendly - professional staff ready to help with directions - boarding passes, etc. Every morning say hello to the owners Holly and Alan over continental breakfast. - Please see over reviews. Thanks ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Dolphin Motel San Diego
Dolphin Hotel San Diego

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