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“Not the biggest, just the best.” 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
Hayfork, California, United States
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Not the biggest, just the best.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

I spend a week in San Diego this past July 2013, I had not been to my hometown in over 30 year. I wanted to be near the bay so I could see all the sight and visit all the attraction that it had to offer. I wanted a place that would be under $100.00 a night, so I got on the wed to search. I am glad that the Dolphin was listed and had a site. I arrived Sunday and found that the motel was near the water, across the street, and close to everything I wanted. The owners and staff were great. If I want anything they ere able to help me all the time. The room was CLEAN and was that way everyday. The Dolphin is small compared to the bigger places to stay in San Diego, but I believe that the service could not be any better. I hope it is not another 30 years until I can get back to the greatest city in California and when I do I will stay at "The Dolphin Motel again.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled solo
    • 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, Guest Relations Manager at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, November 10, 2013
Welcome back to San Diego HomerY, and thank you for choosing our motel among the multitude of available places in San Diego.
In terms of precedence, Mr. Murdock was here first: 1976
And in terms of value, we proudly advertise as most reasonable.
We are so grateful you took this opportunity to share about your recent stay to future guests
True to our word, we still hold on as a small family-owned, family-run budget friendly motel.
And it is because of such wonderful guests like yourself, that keep our business alive.
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (165)
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Kenner, Louisiana
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

Wife and I stayed there during our recent trip to California. The motel is at a great location and has on site parking. A little tight, but doable. People complained about the breakfast that is sparse, and I agree, but I think it is adequate. We didn't have to eat anything before lunch after our breakfast there, so I believe it is adequate. The front desk is very friendly and helpful, unlike many of the chain properties. The rooms are clean but sound proofing is not there. Probably that is my only nit, as we could hear when someone spoke in the front yard or next room. Overall a very pleasant experience and I will recommend it to anyone looking for a decent accommodation and great value.

  • Stayed October 2013, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Guest Relations Manager at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, November 9, 2013
Thank you for your recent stay at our budget motel, we always appreciate our guests sharing their trip with fellow readers on tripadvisor
We are inundated with varying opinions about our accommodations, thus it comes down to individual preference & what our guests' expectations are.
Our hard working owners recommend all our potential guests inquire about our accommodations before they book.
Being a budget motel, our prices reflect such. We are an older building & our rooms being small and preferably for couples on a weekend getaway. Families are ok (and maybe 2 separate rooms). That being said, thank you EnjoysTravelling_007 once again for making our motel a part of your recent visit. We hope you will come back to San Diego on your next "business-vacation" =)
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Workington, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2013

Hi I stopped at the motel in September. I booked orginally for three nites but booked an extra nite while I was there the first week plus an additonal three nites after my trip into California in the second week. I loved the place. The staff were friendly and helpful, don't get the review that said opposite? Sure the rooms were smaller than the other motels I went on to stop in but it was far from any hardship. The breakfast was great, eating out each morning with plenty of coffee and time to just think about the day without no hasse about moving on from the staff. The room staff were excellent and did a first class job.Tthe motel is central for all of San Diego but you do need a car. Loved it and recommmed it but if you want the Hilton forget it. But if you want a reasonably priced room, friendly staff, clean bedding with easy access to San Diego then try this motel.

Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Public Relations Manager at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, November 4, 2013
We appreciate you taking the time to write about us Dave
Tripadvisor is based on guest opinions and we (like all other places) have our shares of good and bad.
Although the majority of our good guests see our motel for what it is (a budget friendly location), we do occasionally get guests with higher expectations.
We hope all our future customers will contact us and inquire if we have the right accommodations for them.
We would love to have you come back to our location in the near future, the weather & lifestyle here brings visitors.
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Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013

I highly value trip advisors rating & have to admit I was disappointed with this Motel. Glad we only stayed one night. Front desk was not friendly when we checked in. Rooms are very small. Freshly painted but very old rooms. Make sure you bring your own shampoo & you have to ask for a hair dryer at the front desk. The bathroom light has to be on when you dry your hair. The old shelves for the tv are still up in the rooms with lots of cords hanging to the new flat screens.Breakfast is very small Continental style.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DolphinMotel, Owner at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, October 28, 2013
Yikes Theresa,

Wow, this may be the first time on Trip Advisor that a guest has mentioned that one of our desk clerks was not friendly. Thank you for the comment, I will take it to heart. Our front desk personnel are probably the most friendly and accommodating employees in the world. You never have to hesitate or be concerned about asking them to go the extra distance.

To address your points: As you are a Trip Advisor member, no surprise on the small rooms, almost every review mentions that?!
While most of our guests do bring their own shampoo and hairdryers, those that forget are welcome to use our hairdryers or have some free shampoo packets, which are all available in the office. (Just have to ask)
But lets not stop there. We don't believe in nickle and dime'ing our guests with hidden fees, so in addition to inexpensive clean rooms, a great location (across the street from San Diego bay), and even better customer service (please see past reviews) we offer:

Free parking; Free Wi-Fi; Free Cell phone use; Free local faxes; Free Laptop use, Free GPS use, Free use of Irons and Ironing boards.

We will even print your boarding passes and you can use our luggage scale for airline weigh in, NO Charge for any of this. Heck, if your cab is late to the airport, Dad and I (if we can) will gladly run you out on the spot in our own vehicles. We've been doing this for 37 years. Shoot, even our bottled water is free. I don't know of another budget motel in the United States that offers that!!! (or even regular motels).
And yes we have an all you can eat breakfast as well. Yoplait yogurt, fruit(bananas), very good coffee, hot tea, blueberry and chocolate muffins, orange juice, milk, and the morning newspaper. Sorry no bacon, eggs, and waffles but consider our rates are 20-50% under other hotel/motels in the area! And the Point Loma area is a beautiful upscale place to be.

I am sorry your expectations were higher than we could meet.

Best regards,

Alan Murdock and his Dad, Owners

P.S. I am sorry you had to turn on the bathroom light to dry your hair, but I always try to look at the bright side of things. You had more light to work with!!!
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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2013

great value and location was perfect for our visits to seaworld and san diego zoo. rooms are small but very clean. short drive to shops and restaurants. highly recommended! staff were very pleasant also.

  • Stayed October 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, Director of Sales at Dolphin Motel, responded to this review, October 27, 2013
We're so glad you had a pleasant vacation here at the Dolphin
Our hard working owners have read your wonderful review and want to take this opportunity to thank you for choosing our motel
Every morning from 6:00am - 10am we welcome all our guests to a complimentary breakfast comprised of coffee, muffins, orange juice, milk, yogurt, banana, tea
Our owners also welcome guests input on a daily basis, as we make the most from our limited resources. Without a doubt, we pride ourselves in the personal level of attention we give to all our guest. Since our motel is family-owned, we treat our guests like family!
we hope all our future views will give us chance, or at least inquire if our accommodations will suit their needs.
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Bettendorf, Iowa, United States
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

Great location; very simple, modest room; very clean; staff are great especially Thomas, Steve and Holly - very friendly. All staff (including owners) are very helpful, hoping to make your visit wonderful. Rooms are small but have fridge, wifi, and continental breakfast. So much within walking distance if you need; groceries, liquor, restaurants, Starbucks, etc. For us, it was perfect, very clean and great value. We would definitely stay here again.

Room Tip: Ask for the second floor harbor view.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 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, October 25, 2013
Thank you Mary for sharing your recent stay at our little motel to everyone on tripadvisor.
We strongly believe most travelers do read about a location before they commit to booking there
Tripadvisor offers good reviews (and bad) about a location, and we've had our share of both
Being a budget motel, our owners encourage all future guests to contact us and inquire about our accommodations
We may or may not have what future guests are looking for.
Once again our owners & staff thank your kind words of praise and hope you will stay with us in the near future
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
So.Nevada
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2013

We spent 3 wonderful nights at this small, family owned motel and when we return to San Diego, we will stay here again! This is exactly what we look for when traveling-a small independently owned motel that is operated by the owners or caring managers. They make you feel welcome and want to make sure your needs are met to the best of their abilities. The rooms are small but very clean and comfortable. There are chairs outside each room where you can sit and enjoy the view. The community patio area has tables with umbrellas and a microwave for guests to use. There are strict noise rules at this motel and we appreciated it. That meant we got a good night's sleep uninterupted by a neighboring TV or loud voices! This is not a motel for everyone, but for us it is the right fit! We look forward to our next trip to San Diego and our next stay at the Dolphin Motel.

Room Tip: The rooms on the second floor have a beautiful view of the harbor.
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 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, October 25, 2013
Good day to you CampingFoodies
If I'm not mistaken I believe the manager & owner were talking to you guys in the morning, and you mentioned finding us on tripadvisor
I also see you guys are avid travelers and avid tripadvisor contributors
We thank you for choosing our motel during your recent visit from Vegas
Living in the western United States, the weather is dry during these months
and that's what brings visitors to the California coast
(that's also why its so expensive to live here)
That being said, hotels/motels are also on the pricey side of things, hence our guests have balanced out what they should pay vs what they need
Our hard working owners pride themselves in running a tidy motel that caters especially to budget-minded guests
Like Mr. Murdock always says "we don't alot of rich guests"
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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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