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“Thoughtful of single women travelers” 5 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 #9 of 271 Hotels in San Diego
Philadelphia, PA
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Thoughtful of single women travelers”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

I stayed overnight -- came in late -- the reception person couldn't have been more accommodating and nice. He told me they keep rooms closer to office available for single women visitors just so they can feel more comfortable. Although this was a nice plus, the motel seemed safe. The room was whistle clean and everything is white-- no dirt hidden here! Bed comfortable, breakfast was nice in morning on comfortable patio. Spoke with the owner in morning and learned about his family and the history of the motel -- the family cares very much about the quality of the motel and it shows. All for a rate lower than I have paid in years. Lovely marina across the street.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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
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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 25, 2013
Thank you kindly oliveseeker for writing about our motel, and thank you for giving us a chance to be a part of your recent trip
We are so pleased to have many warm hearted guests like yourself at our little family operated motel
Mr. Murdock loves to talk to such a wonderful guest like yourself during the morning breakfast!
As always, we hope all our future guests read carefully about our motel and our accommodations.
We are an older motel and rooms are rather small, we may or may not have what everybody is looking for
But please don't hesitate to inquire about us
Tripadvisor is wonderful in that it gives a glimpse into a place beforehand, written by everyday travelers
We completely agree with you that traveling single business
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919 reviews from our community

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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 (169)
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Solothurn, Switzerland
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2013

It has a great location, rooms are small but bright and and clean and devorated and for 55$ including breakfast. So its a really good deal. It seems to be old, so you hear a lot! The neighbors talking, peoply outside talking and the steps and doors from the hallway. The dlose airports stops operating around midnight and starts again around 6, this time sure is quiet, if you have a light sleep, this might bother you though.
The staff is friendly and helpful! Its worth its price!

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DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, May 25, 2013
Thank you kindly evajones for choosing our modest little motel on your recent visit to San Diego
We value all our customers and make the most of our limited accommodations: rooms are small, budget is our niche
The $55 price does not apply everyday, we hope our future guests don't come around and assume the prices stay the same every day, every year, etc.
Please contact us and enquire about our prices!
As always, we hope all our future guests read carefully about our motel and our accommodations.
We are an older motel and rooms are rather small, we may or may not have what everybody is looking for
But please don't hesitate to inquire about us
That is the wonderful thing about tripadvisor, it gives a glimpse into a place beforehand
And it is written by budget-conscious travelers like yourself
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Paris, France
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

The room was nothing extraordinary but clean and comfy - more than decent for the small price we paid. The staff was really helpful and friendly, available at all times. The highlight was the litte private outdoor patio/ deck with a table and chairs right in front of our room, where we could enjoy the sun and relax. Definitely a great value!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 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 25, 2013
Thank you Vanessa for visiting San Diego and choosing our motel all the way from France.
I see you enjoyed room #36 on top of the office.
It is our most popular room & the only problem is we have one of that room
Good to know for our future guests, so please enquire about our rooms, prices, availability early.
Hope you visit Southern California sometime in the future again
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North Street, Michigan
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013

The Dolphin Motel is definitely budget all the way. Imagine that you have a semi-completed extra room in your home and you find out that a friend is coming to stay on short notice. So, you slap on some clean white paint - no time to worry about imperfection in the wall, you steam clean the carpet, and you scrub down the very small attached bathroom with a shower. You don't have time to get rid of all of the mold growing in the grout lines, but overall, a decent job.

Now, to add some creature comforts. Roll in a fairly comfortable mattress. Can't afford a dresser, so you build an open closet with shelves and a bar to store clothes. You throw-in a couple of suitcase holders and cheap nightstands with lamps.

You add a small refrigerator that you picked-up at Home Depot, so your friend doesn't have to bother you in the kitchen whenever she wants something to drink. You put a foldable TV tray in the room, which she can use as a table for food or her laptop...she can hook-up to your Wi-Fi while she is visiting.

Your big splurge for the room is a flat screen TV. You just upgraded, so you are putting your old one in her room. OK, done! Everything is maybe a little too white and bright, so you hang a couple of pictures on the wall just to add some color. OK, it's still too white and bright, but it looks clean. There are no closed drawers, so everyone will be able to see your friend's unmentionables when they come in the room, but you don't think that your friend will be having visitors here.

What I would pick this motel for: a cheap, decent place to stay in San Diego that is very close to many of the prime attractions and has great employees with great customer service.

What I would not pick this motel for: a place to chill-out and spend the day at. The rooms are not that comfortable, there is not pool, spa, etc. This is a good, cheap place to stay, when you don't plan on spending much time in your room.

This motel does need some updating in the bathrooms. While I felt that the room was clean, I was dismayed by the mold in the bathroom.

You should also expect to see a wide range of motel inhabitants from families to those who look a little rough around the edges and may be using the motel as a temporary home. Management, however, seemed to have no problem keeping even the roughest appearing clientele on their best behavior.

Location is excellent. The owners must treat their employees with great respect. Poorly treated employees do not have the genuine enthusiasm for their jobs that these ones did.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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, May 23, 2013
Hello Love JBM, you should have been an author! You are absolutely right we have no spa or pool and are not a destination Hotel, and it's true our guests do not spend much time in their rooms. They just want a clean inexpensive room with a comfortable bed to rest their head then go do what tourist's and business people do (We have alot of small business owners who stay with us on their own nickel.) Costco, not Home Depot, is where we buy our nice fridges. Our nightstands may look "cheap" but they are not. They are hand made, sturdy, and cost over $100 each. The flat screen TV's 1 to 2 years new. Mildew in the bathrooms is an ongoing process. We are usually on top of that. I have told maintenence to double check all bathrooms. Sorry we missed yours. We always try to rent to just nice people like yourself, some of them "look a little rough around the edges". We just had an unemployed carpenter from Las Vegas trying to relocate his family stay with us, as well as a recently discharged military veteran on a tight budget looking for work in this tough economy. Your candor reminds us there is always room for improvement. Thanks for recognizing that our employees are great. Dad and I show our appreciation by compensating them well above the industry average.I've got to believe your imaginary friend would be happy staying with us. That is if he is looking for a bargain.
Best regards to you,
Alan Murdock, owner

P.S. I have family in Travers City and East Lansing, MI Nice people up there.

P.S.S. Your review of our motel included these words- one-good, one-Excellent, one- comfortable, three- greats, and four- clean
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Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2013 via mobile

I arrived late so lost out on my harbour view room and instead stayed in room no.4. The room was clean with a fridge and TV inside. The ensuite was small and the shower was very powerful which I loved. The hotel is split into two buildings. Where we stayed seemed quite claustrophobic. If your concerned about noise levels at night there were signs asking guests to keep quiet after 9pm. Breakfast consisted of coffee, tea, muffins (cut in half), bananas and yoghurt served in the courtyard. The staff were friendly and helpful and parking was available on site. This place is ideal for a few nights, not sure I could have stayed longer.

Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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, May 22, 2013
Hello Christine M. ,
Thank you for taking the time to say the nice things you did in your review. Sorry we could not save the harbor view room you requested, but you were a day late in arriving no communication to us. No calls, no replies to our multiple emails. On the night you arrived we filled up, (we usually do), but fortunately we had a clean room for you, and yes all of our rooms are small, just like our prices. Regarding our patio breakfast our guests always look forward to it. People from around the world mingle in the sun or under our umbrellas enjoying what you mentioned in your review. We also have orange juice, milk and the local newspaper. Hope Patrick and yourself are doing well in Essex. Love to have you back with us in your upstairs harbor view room, hope to see you again. Best Regards Alan Murdock-owner with my dad. P.S. Occassionally I even take a " power wash " shower here on those late work nights. Glad you enjoyed the water pressure.P.S.S. We cut the muffins in half be cause they are so big. Cheers
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Watauga, Texas
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

I liked the Motel, We stayed 5 nights. I like sitting and looking out over the marina having my morning coffee or unwinding from a long day seeing the sites. Small, clean rooms, what more do you need. Management very nice, and helpful, IT is worth the money, Easy to get around town, Only thing I had a problem with it the volume of the TV it is locked and could barely hear. But I really wasn't in San Diego to watch TV. I was enjoying the sites, exploring Southern California, Would definitely recommend.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
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 25, 2013
Thank you very much Brenda for writing about our motel
This review will give future guests information on whether we are the right motel for them.
If all they are looking for is a place to sleep and enjoy San Diego, we are the perfect fit.
However, our rooms are small and some guests will say cramp/close together. After all, we are an older motel)
We apologize about the TV Volume limiter, it is a feature in all hotel/motel sets as we sometimes have complaints from neighboring rooms about noise.
Of course this is the common issue, and we do try our best to keep the peace & quiet
We do hope you call us few months ahead to ensure most availability and pricing.
Many thanks once again from all of us here
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Boulder, Colorado
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

The Dolphin is clean, that's for sure. But very basic. We had a night away in San Diego during a work trip and stayed at the Dolphin after all the good reviews. It is clean and the staff is extremely helpful and very friendly.

But its just not worth the money to me. Its tired. The air conditioner turned on and off all night, and it was very bright through the old curtains, as you are surrounded by parking lots and lights and signs. Its a neighborhood of hotels and motels, with just a few restaurants and bars to walk to. The rooms could use some creature comforts, it feels almost institutional in a way. There isn't anywhere inviting to sit outside and read a book, its mostly parking lot. I would rather take the same amount of money and stay in Encinitas and drive to San Diego's attractions if I was planning on seeing San Diego. I wish the owners all the best but I definitely cannot recommend it.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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 21, 2013
Hi JennyPN, I guess it's true different horses for different courses. I am sorry you did not enjoy your stay. Fortunately for us, we do have many guests (repeat) that do enjoy staying with us. But I am taking your criticism to heart, as a matter of fact we have new curtains being installed for all the rooms that need it. A "continuous" setting instead of "auto" will provide a smoother operation. I have to wonder just how familiar you became with our beautiful Point Loma neighborhood !? We are right across the street from San Diego harbor and the wonderful restaurants (Point Loma Seafood) and shops right on the water. Gorgious iconic Shelter Island is within walking distance. Some of our guests make that their picturesque jogging destination every morning. Beautiful Spanish Landing with it's sculptures, fountains, and open air harbor views is also within walking distance. A replica of the San Salvador, the first ship that sailed into San Diego Harbor is being built for the public to see and eventually will be sailed up and down the coast. Regarding reading outside, we do have chairs outside the rooms as well as on the balcony overlooks the harbor or if you prefer, our shaded patio where everyone comes to breakfast in the morning. Please see our web page. Creature comforts? Institutional? Yes we are a no frills, basic motel. This allows us to keep our rates low. White walls and bedspreads institutionally clean. Regarding the white bedspead and blanket--You know what you are sleeping on. Encinitas, yikes that is so far away from the major attractions. The gas expense will be prohibitive. There are closer hotels. Wish you would give us another try, ask for me if you make a reservation in the morning. I will make things right for you.
Best regards,
Alan Murdock, owner
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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
#3 On the Beach Hotel in San Diego
#7 Family Hotel in San Diego
#9 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#45 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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