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“Highly reccommended” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dolphin Motel

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Dolphin Motel
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2912 Garrison St, San Diego, CA 92106   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 270 Hotels in San Diego
Auckland, New Zealand
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Highly reccommended”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

Travelling on a budget, we decided to give the Dolphin Motel a chance after seeing the great reviews on Trip Advisor and we are definitely glad we did!

Paying a little extra to have a second floor room with harbour view, being able to sit back and relax on the balcony looking out to the boats was very relaxing.

The rooms were exactly as described - small, but clean and cosy and air conditioned to beat the Summer heat. The motel was sold out for the first two nights of our stay, yet the area remained quiet and peaceful.

The staff were friendly and attentive, offering advice on locations to see and things to do in the area. While there was a free breakfast the selection was limited to chocolate or blueberry muffins, yoghurt or granola bars with orange juice, tea and coffee. However if the food on offer weren't to your taste, a supermarket or fast food options were a quick walk away. I opted to buy some cereal at the nearby Ralph's and use the Dolphin's milk.

Would definitely return to this motel if I'm in San Diego again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, August 23, 2013
Many thanks to you Sarah for making our motel a part of your recent visit to California
The owners Alan & Holly are so pleased to read your generous review
They keep to heart every input from our guests because they actively make the most of the limited resources available
Being an older motel, are fully aware of our limitations and we hope all our guests will see our motel for what it is
There are times we get guests who have high expectations and we would gladly refund them the money, since they would fit in more upscale luxury accommodations.
That being said, your review will help future guests get a good idea of what we have to offer
Once again, we may or may not have what future guests are looking for.
We hope all our future guests will inquire about our accommodations and see if we have the right accommodations for their needs.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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902 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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
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La Quinta, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

Being from the Palm Springs area, we look to escape from the heat. After reading the reviews, we decided to give a call. The staff is super friendly and were very helpful. We love our new find.
Alan and the staff go out of there way to be helpful and friendly. Something you don't get in the big hotels. We are planning our next visit already. Will request the second floor this time with a little sitting area outside the room. Clean, comfortable and affordable. I highly recommend this.
My only regret is that we only stood one night this visit.
Phyllis and Sal

Room Tip: High floors have a view of the harbor
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 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 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, August 17, 2013
Hello again Phyllis & Sal!
Your generous review brought a smile to the owners Alan & Holly as they are reading this
It is wonderful guests like yourself that keep our motel alive during these difficult economic times
Seems to my viewpoint that they big companies keep getting bigger, while average folks like us get boxed in
The vast majority of or guests have done research about our motel and compared it to every other place in town
"Why pay more?", if what you are looking for is a clean, humble, budget lodging, why pay more?
Our limitation is we cannot offer twice as many rooms as we have (We only have 33 units) for less than what the area offers
Please mention this review the next time you guys visit San Diego, we look forward to your return!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

Very good!! I loved this hotel the staff are so nice, any request they will do everything they can to make your visit the best. It's an older hotel and the rooms are small but you get used to it. We had a second floor room with a balcony that we had to pay a tiny bit extra for but it's way worth it, it's beautiful. We had our breakfast up there everyday. It's close to SeaWorld and downtown and other fun areas. Breakfast was a nice variety of things, I did find it weird how there was no cereal though, but it was a nice breakfast. Every day when you came back to your hotel, you would have plenty of toiletries and towels and everything was very clean and there was a comfy bed. I loved it!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
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, August 17, 2013
Greetings Savie_H
All of us here at the Dolphin would like to express our gratitude for your generous review!
You gave our little motel a chance to make your recent visit to San Diego a memorable one!
This will help future guests decide if we are the right fit for them.
We do offer modest accommodations: being a budget motel
It is our on-going mission to provide all our guests with their individual needs
Every little request have been heard and addressed here at the motel because we do our best for our guests
Attention to detail!
Our focus is on each and every one (even if it takes longer than what a higher chain hotel can provide)
I remember one time I was on the phone with an elderly couple for a full 25 minutes!
They had gotten lost and needed the comfort of someone staying on the phone every street, every second until they drove right up to our motel
Although this was an extreme example, that elderly couple were so grateful and it brought a deep satisfaction of "going the extra mile"
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2013 via mobile

The Dolphin Motel is the absolute best motel you could hope to stay in. It is 'budget' and 'no frills' like they say but this DOES NOT mean poor quality in any way! At the Dolphin you get what you pay for and much more.

The rooms were very clean and you can tell the cleaning staff are tip-top. The corners in the shower, behind the toilet, carpets, skirting boards etc were spotless. The rooms were also very fresh smelling too. There was working A/C which WASN'T noisy, crisp, fresh bed linen (on a comfy bed) and clean towels everyday if you wanted.

The room was small but not pokey, it fitted our 2 large suitcases in comfortably. There was a recessed wardrobe if needed and a fridge which was really handy.

The complimentary breakfast out in the 'courtyard' was great too. You could fill up or fill a hole till later on on muffins, yoghurt, fruit, juice, coffee and tea.

The best thing about the Dolphin though was the staff. You can tell that this place prides itself on great customer service and the staff we encountered were so kind, helpful and friendly. I was astounded by the amount of free services they provided such as: wifi, printing boarding passes, weighing luggage, local papers in the morning, bringing your luggage to/from the room and cold bottled water. All this with a friendly smile.

You could pay more for a 'fancy' hotel but I can guarantee that you won't have a better value stay for your buck than if you go to the Doplhin Motel.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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, August 13, 2013
Thank you for your kindness Laura!
You bring a smile to the owners as they are reading this review.
It is such kind-hearted & generous guests like yourself that make our day!
The owner has always advertised our place as a budget motel for budget-minded guests
We take every customer to heart
Being an older motel, we do our very best to keep the peace and quiet here
There is 24-hour staff on duty and we will help all our guests with ANY and ALL issues/problems
If you have any issues, please talk to our staff!
An example, I had some young travelers looking for a good club last week.
No problem! I called a popular one in downtown and got them in the club without paying admission!
We are here to help resolve their problems, that is what customer "service" means!
A few times we had unhappy guests who did not address to their problem and we feel dissappointed they didn't bother talking to us
We hope all our future guests read about our motel carefully, and see if we are the right fit for them.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2013

This was our first trip to San Diego and my husband took a lot of time to find the perfect place for us. The Dolphin Motel is rated very highly, and now we see why. When one speaks of value, they are talking about what you receive based upon the price that is paid. The Dolphin Motel is an excellent value

Just like our home, the motel is very clean. We have stayed in some "nicer" hotels that were not as clean as the staff keeps the Dolphin Motel. The main reason is due to the attention to detail that the housekeeping has in the rooms. Even the window sills were clean!!! This is not the level of detail that one expects to find in a motel.

Another thing to note is that, although the rooms are small, they give you plenty of places to store your items. We stayed in a "nicer" hotel in Las Vegas, and although the rooms were bigger, I had to put my luggage on the floor. I did not like this.

Finally, I must mention the staff. We were thoroughly impressed with the hospitality they showed us during our stay. They had a sincere warm demeanor which seemed genuine and unforced. This makes the entire stay worthwhile.

If you would rather pay more for the amenities, go right ahead. My husband and I will be staying at the Dolphin Motel and keep the spending money in our pockets!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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, August 15, 2013
Thank you so much Noni0920
We wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for honest kind-heart folks like yourself that support small family-run businesses
Your thorough review will give future guests an idea of what our modest little motel can offer
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
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

This motel really made our first trip to San Diego a memorable and positive one. It was one of the best stays we've had at any place, from B&Bs to 4 to 5 star hotels. One of the top reasons was the staff. We had the most interaction with Thomas, but all of the staff were second to none. They were always kind, friendly, and helpful. Thomas had some really great restaurant and shopping recommendations, and he would either write down the address or print out maps for us. The room that we had was clean and comfortable. The motel was in a great location too - it was within short walking or driving distances to everything we wanted, from the airport, shopping areas, tourist sites, restaurants, and the marina. I always felt safe. It was a great value. We loved the fact that printing our boarding passes, WiFi, parking, and weighing our luggage was complimentary. There was even a daily complimentary breakfast - even though my husband and I need to be on a gluten-free diet, we could have the yogurt, bananas, coffee and orange juice. Thank you to all of the staff for making our stay comfortable and enjoyable. When we return, we look forward to staying at the Dolphin Motel again.

  • Stayed August 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 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, August 10, 2013
It's so nice to hear from you guys again!
How was the flight back to the east coast?
It's so wonderful to meet you guys during the week-long "staycation", San Diego has so much to offer, and we're just as friendly as the people on the East Coasts
I did read the reviews you wrote and must compliment your straighforwardness and generosity!
Also kind of funny was the "copy paste" responses that management from other places posted on tripadvisor
Really wished they paid more attention to indivduals, rather than being a "number".
Thank you so much for supporting our family-runned motel!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Menifee, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

I had a seminar to attend at the Marriott in Gaslamp and they were sold out at $200 night plus parking and that didn't include breakfast! Thank goodness! I searched the internet for a nice little motel that wouldn't cost me a fortune and was close enough to Gaslamp. So happy I came across the Dolphin Motel! The staff was delightful. The room was clean. True, it is small, but it is a MOTEL. I just wanted a clean, safe place to sleep. I felt very safe there. The breakfast worked for me, coffee was fine and the wifi worked very well. No problems with noise from outside or TV's. Wish I could have explored the marina a little but didn't have time. I will be coming back with my boyfriend for a getaway. We don't need the high priced hotels for that! Apparently, the Dolphin Motel is full almost every night. Hope they don't get booked too far in advance! I will recommend this motel to my friends who don't care about the fancy frills of the larger chains and hotels.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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, August 10, 2013
On behalf of the owners and all our staff, many thanks Teruko949 for giving us this chance to make our motel a part of your recent trip to San Diego
I do agree with you in that hotels around the main downtown area charge for parking.
Space is very limited and there are transients, which makes guests worried about parking their car on the street.
As stated time an time again, we are a budget motel for budget-minded travelers
Business or family, we offer modest accommodations at very competitive prices, this derives from the owners whom have been in the business for 38 years
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 ( Wi-Fi ) 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
#44 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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