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“Great stay!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Motel

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Dolphin Motel
2912 Garrison St, San Diego, CA 92106   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #13 of 269 hotels in San Diego
LanaD_11
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great stay!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Great little budget hotel. Covered all the essentials. Simple, but very clean and spacious room. Breakfast basic but more than satisfactory. Muffins, yogurt, bananas, coffee, juice. Service was brilliant. Front desk always happy to help an give ideas. Free bottled water, free cell phone to use on premises. Everyone was extremely helpful and very friendly. Parking included. Overall, a really great stay. Highly recommend for the budget traveller! GREAT value for money!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Greetings to you LanaD_11 from all of us here at the Dolphin
Thank you for making our little motel a part of your recent vacation
I see you used all our accommodations to provide your stay a more comfortable one
We always appreciate our guests telling us about the money they saved compared to other locations
Hope to see you next time around
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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 (156)
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013 via mobile

My wife and i found this hotel on trip advisor whilst stranded in San Diegi airport and chose it due to the 600 odd reviews it had recieved. All of them good i must add. Our thinking was that the owners could not possibly posted all of them so we should take a chance. We are so glad we did. Our two night stay has turned into a four night stay, and even though the hotel seems to always be near to capacity it has never been a drama to fit us in an extra night and then again another extra night. I am writing this review whilst we are enjoying the complementary breakfast in the court yard. It may be a simple breakfast though well appreciated. The location is just brilliant. Across the road to the marinas and the buses are only a 3 minute walk away. There are many resturants and places of interest nearby so a car is not necessary to get around which suits us as we don't have one. The hotel looks like those road side motor inns you see in the movies and that only adds to the charm of this hotel which is outstanding value for money. No matter what I say here about the staff it will only end up being an understatement. The staff obviously follow the lead of the owner. The owner is a quietly spoken man and takes the time to meet you for breakfast every morning which is a nice touch. This you will not find at the hiltons or alike. The people behind the frount desk can not do enough for you. Wether it maps to get around town high lighted for you on the spot when they know what your interst are, or looking things up on the Internet if they don't know. The night manager actually gave us his private cell number in case we got lost on our travels and he said he would arrange to get us back to the hotel one way or another. The rooms are a little dated in terms of decore though for a budget hotel it's not an issue at all. There is wi-fi in your room at no cost as well as a laptop you can use if you don't have a wi-fi devise of your own. There may not be a phone in the room but the staff have a complementary cell phone in the office you can take back to your room if you need to make a call. If you have a car they also have a complementary GPS to help you around town. They will also weigh you luggage before you head to the airport an will also print out your boarding passes for you. The rooms are spotlessly clean and the room staff are friendly. We just can't recommend this hotel highly enough. We are more than overly impressed.

Mick and Deb from Sydney Australia

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Thank you so much Mick & Deb for giving us a chance
I did hear about your horrible experience at the airport (the delays) and can relate myself!
We are absolutely not anywhere close to the higher brands, as we are just a family owned basic motel.
With that being said, the leveling field comes down to "what you pay vs what you get".
We have never advertised as being the motel fitting for everyone.
But like Mr. Murdock always says "we don't get alot of rich travelers, but we get smart travelers".
All your kind words brings a smile to all of us here, thank you so much!
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Fairview
2 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

I recently spent 4 nights at the Dolphin Motel and would have to say it was one of the better hotels that I have stayed at, even when comparing it to the major luxury chain hotels. The rooms are small but extremely clean. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful, the owner even gave us a list of his "must see" attractions in San Diego, all of which ended up being worth the time to go see. The hotel has a great location, as it seemed we were about 15 minutes from everything we had planned on doing while we were in San Diego.
Free wifi, free breakfast (muffins, fruit, yogurt, OJ, milk and coffee) and free parking. We will definitely stay here on our next trip to San Diego.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Thank you very much Jeff S for staying at our motel.
I remember greeting you in the morning during breakfast
Once again, hope we could accommodate you with all the tips and sightseeing.
And in case you missed any important places, feel free to come back to this corner of America some time in the future!
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Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

Upon our arrival, the owner of the hotel immediately took 5 mins to give us maps and a lay of the land around the hotel. Some of our luggage had been stolen, so we were very stressed out. He didn't skip a beat, and said he would do all he could to help us enjoy our experience in San Diego. We followed his suggestions and it ended up being one of our favorite travel adventures! The room was exactly as described. We had a corner room with a double and a queen, it was on the streetside, but we did not hear the cars. There was an alcove that fit the luggage we had, a big refrigerator (which we plugged in when we got there) and a flat screen TV. Beds were comfortable, the air conditioner was new, and we had a great little sitting area that we took full advantage of. The room is there to sleep and shower and it served those purposes perfectly. Our exchange student who was travelling with us said, "I know where I am telling my friends to stay when they come to San Diego, this hotel". It is affordable and so convenient. We were able to get to the zoo, Balboa, downtown, Cabrillio lighthouse, all in under 25 mins. The unexpected highlight was going to the sunset cliffs, as recommended by the owner. Without question, I would stay at this hotel again for another visit to San Diego.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Hello pakpakgurl,
That was horrible about your luggage being missing! It seems not a rare case but a regular occurrance these days at the airport.
We are so glad everything got settled down once you arrived here at our motel; and began to enjoy the sights & seeing.
Cabrillo is one of our most popular (and close) recommendation destination; only 10 minutes at the end of this neighborhood
It overlooks San Diego harbor and still remains partly a military/government installation.
Sunset cliffs is on the other side and overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
I bet you also visited La Jolla, which is (in my opinion) the premium tourist place in San Diego
Hope you the best and see you in the near fture
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North Wales
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2013

I booked this place on the strength of other reviews for my first few days in San Diego. It was just what I needed- no frills, inexpensive but very very friendly and the staff could not be more helpful. It has been run for 30 years by a father and son who are there every day, along with a bunch of regular staff. They provide free wifi and coffee, muffins, bananas and yogurt for breakfast. I was over for a conference and stayed at some expensive places inland and on the coast but on my return to San Diego I found myself glad to be back in a small room in this motel.
The room was basic but kept spotlessly clean. The walls are pretty thin but the other guests were all well behaved. It is just good to find a little independent family run place among all the chain hotels.
I like the old fashioned neon too. I'm a David Lynch fan so I was even a little disappointed that some of the neon wasn't blinking and spluttering on and off.

Room Tip: They say that upstairs is more popular. I stayed downstairs. no problems
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, May 4, 2013
Thank you sleepingdog for this generous review on our behalf
Your input will give future guests some helpful information about our little motel.
That was funny, we enjoyed reading about what you wrote about the blinking lights!
One time we had a guest mention about the blinking lights (although it would make a humming noise if it blinks)
Once again, we hope all our future guests will contact us and inquire about our accommodations. We may or may not be the right fit for travelers.
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Branford, CT
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2013

Great place to stay in San Diego. This is a no frills motel that is well worth the stay. Inexpensive, hospitable, friendly staff, visible owners, and perfect location. Easy to get to all the great places in SD such as the Gaslamp Quarter, Old Town, Coronado, Seaport Village, Sunset Cliffs, Little Italy....just to name a few. Across the street is a great walkway with beautiful boats, Sport Fishing charters, and a couple great places to eat. Dinner at Sevilla in Gaslamp was a great experience...don't miss out. We will definitely be back!!

Room Tip: Room 28....two beds on the end and your own little deck area. :-)
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, May 4, 2013
Thank you guys for taking the time to write about us.
We're glad your check-in was smooth despite the slight delays (we were sold out the previous night & our housekeepers were overflowed with laundry).
Also I did remember you guys sitting & enjoying the harbor from atop
It was a busy day that you came in (Day at the Docks)
Hope you come back and stay with us the next time you visit this corner of America
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Phoenix, Arizona
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2013

We stayed at the Dolphin for the second time April 12 through the 19th and are currently checking next year's schedule to book for a third time. We do not understand negative reviews about the Dolphin. Super clean, super quiet, amazing staff, wonderful breakfast. No in room phone or microwave? So what! There is a microwave in the courtyard for all to use and anything else you may need is in the office. Breakfast? Coffee, tea, orange juice, yogurt, fruit, and muffins are all included with amazing rates. What could be better? Rooms are more than adequate and the cleanest we have ever seen, even at any major hotel chain. It's charming and the staff and owners are always available and go out of their way to assist in any way they can. You are cheating yourself if you visit San Diego without checking out the Dolphin.

Tom and Diane Nelson - Phoenix AZ

Room Tip: Try to get a second floor room overlooking the marina.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, April 27, 2013
Our motel and all its staff thank you guys for this most generous review
It just fills our hearts with joy to read that we are the right fit for our regular guests, whom come back to our motel year after year and are familiar with what we have to offer.
Lately, we have been getting some rough input from guests who had higher expectations but didn't what to pay more at other locations; we understand this happens everywhere.
But it is such wonderful guests like yourselves that brightens our day!
Once again from all of us, thank you so much!
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Additional Information about Dolphin Motel

Address: 2912 Garrison St, San Diego, CA 92106
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in San Diego
#6 Family Hotel in San Diego
#9 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#45 Business Hotel in San Diego
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Highly Rated - Very Reasonably Priced - American Owned and Operated Economy Motel since 1977. Basic very clean rooms with top rated beds, refrigerators and great showers! 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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