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Review of Dolphin Bay

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Dolphin Bay
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 4, 2011

We stayed here just for a night during our honeymoon.
This small hotel is nice, rooms are clean, silent and tidy.

You can have your breakfast in the garden where you can pick up mango fruits from the trees!!

It is suggested for tourists traveling around, keeping the hotel as a base for your trip on the west side of Big Island

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
1  Thank msereno1970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 3, 2011

We booked 2 nights at the Dophin Bay Hotel in Hilo. We were off to see the volcanos, so we only booked the 2 nights. We wish we had stayed longer! It really is a little piece of heaven. The rooms are dated, but really clean. The owners and staff are very friendly and very knowledgable about what to see and what not to waste your time on. The grounds are amazing. Every morning you can saunter (yes I said saunter) down to the main desk area for complimentary fresh delicious Hawiian coffee and fresh pastries. They also have their own fresh fruit in a big bowl and you just help yourself. They even let you pick the fruit yourself if you can reach it!! After staying a week in "plastic Hawaii" in Waikiki, it was an absolute pleasure staying at the Dolphin Bay! Wish we had booked for our whole time we were on the Big Island.
The only thing that some people may find annoying is the chirping frogs at night, but they provide ear plugs if they are bothersome. Quite frankly, I thought they were just another part of the real Hawaii. They should rename this place The Dolphin Bay Villa!!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Muir2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2011

We stayed here for 2 nights as a base for exploring the Hilo side of the Big Island. While we didn't like Hilo as much as Kailua-Kona, we enjoyed our stay at this hotel. The room was clean and tidy - although probably needed a facelift, as at times I felt a bit like I was in the 1960s! Having said that, the kitchen was handy for having some meals in the room, and saving some money. The fresh bananas and papayas were delicious, and we enjoyed the pastries for breakfast each day. Our hosts were very helpful in recommending a lava flow walking tour, which we would not have come across otherwise and was one of the highlights of our trip. Overall, we were not disappointed in our stay at the Dolphin Bay hotel and would recommend it to anyone visiting Hilo, however, looking back we would have preferred staying in Kona a little longer, or moving onto Volcano instead, as we found the atmosphere in Hilo left a little to be desired.

Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
3  Thank imoani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2011

Dolphin Bay Hotel … Enthusiastic 3.5 Stars, but with Reservations!
My stay was on July 11th, 2011. As a Business traveler, In the past I have stayed at several Resort’s on Banyan Drive, and B&B’s in both Volcano and Hilo, but, this is my first time staying in a “hotel” (motel).

Pro’s - Things I Liked the best & why:
* Web site - Nothing fancy, simple to Use and Navigate. Most information and Photo’s is current or updated. EZ to select your Room or “Suite” choice, with concurrent Price Per Night information given. Reservations are quite easy to make, and Email follow-up and/or, Confirmation, by the Reservation desk is prompt.

* Front desk - Ms. Wendy was Friendly! Helpful! Informative! A significant Improvement over the other places on Hotel Row, but then this is family-owned operation.

* Location - Convenient! Although it’s located just North of the main downtown area and in driving there you will notice a somewhat “mixed” neighborhood, that seems to be in a state of transition, with other hotels, apartment buildings and private local-style dwellings; however, it’s actually closer to Down Town than how it appears on the map, and is within Walking Distance (about or less than 10 minutes), to the first North-end Bay Front Buildings, Shops & Restaurants.

- Cronies Bar & Grill, on Waianuenue Avenue, is “styled” after a Sports bar with TV’s & Screens everywhere, sports memorabilia, an large open bar, with friendly staff and service. The Burgers & Wings were very good, IMO.

* Floor plan - Clean! It’s a simple concrete block style of the interior space, it was very CLEAN, which earns high marks in my book. I stayed in a One Bedroom Apartment (#6), with Wall Fans (No A/C), and a living room with 2 twin beds, a queen & twin bed in the Bedroom, a kitchenette and large custom bath with shower. It also has an open air lanai, with a table & chairs, facing directly at the Dolphin Bay Hotel sign. That’s all they had at the time of my booking, even though I was a Solo Traveler. It has a small, but very functional Kitchenette & breakfast table, in the back, with a back door that opens into the main parking lot.

* Amenities - Free Coffee & Breakfast is one of the best amenities offered, for one, you just can’t beat the delicious coconut Danish from a local bakery, along with fresh fruit, like Giant Papaya’s (my favorite), Banana’s, grown on the property, and Two, their Divine Coffee is “divine”, Bold, Smooth and Tasted Great!

* Parking - Free and plentiful in the back of the hotel. I believe that the Parking spaces are Too Close to the Back doors & building, which contributes greatly as a Noise generator.

Con’s - Things that need to be Updated or Improved:
* The Hotel - is more like a typical 2-story, twenty room “Motel”, although well-maintained, I would say Overall, is a fairly old structure, with a mishmash of basic furniture and decor, and no air conditioning. Not sure much can done done here, but, it would be Important to know what you are getting.
* Price point - At $170/Night (with taxes), for 1 Person, it’s ‘Over-priced’, compared to other Hilo Hotels & even some Resorts, where I’ve stayed before. You may want to read some of my other past Hilo Hotel or Resorts Reviews.
I would say that my Expectations, like others here, were much higher, and as a Business Traveler, understandably so. Furthermore, I live in Hawaii, where
many other Business’s always Offer either/and, Perks & Discounts to locals; and this was not the case, even though the “Hotel” was filled to capacity,
and I was like a ‘last-Minute’ reservation.
* Internet Access - We now live in a modern high-tech World, where People visit from around the Globe, so you would Think that this place would have High-Speed Internet Service? This is a definite Minus for this hotel, you would also think that for $170 per night, I could get Free 802.11 “N” Wireless Internet Service.
- SUGGESTION - Strongly Recommend that they install the LinkSyS E4200 Dual-Channel Router, it has a much more powerful radio, and along with a “bridge” or two, that can provide much Improved wireless coverage, and it’s only $200 Bucks on Amazon!
* Bedding - The Bedroom Mattress was as HARD as Concrete, so I didn’t get any restful Sleep. Suggestion - Costco sells memory foam Covers, that would help out quite a bit. The Single beds in the Living Room were a lot more Comfortable, and is where I should have slept on.
* TV & Cable Service - My “Apartment” had a 22-inch Vizio LCD TV, which although appeared new, was a Standard Definition, lower-end television. The Cable “reception” was terrible, with lots of both “noise” & “snow”, on many channels. It could not be resolved by any ’tweaking’, whatsoever.
SUGGESTION’s - As an IT Consultant, I would recommend the following Upgrades to improve both Picture & Signal Quality: (a) Get a Technical Analysis, for any signal “leakage” problems, or hardware Issues. Or, if you are a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kind of person, then, you can take the following steps.
(b) Place “in-line” Signal Boosters, at and from the Cable Junction box, like the Electroline EDA-2400 Four Port Cable TV HDTV Signal Booster/Amplifier, (High-Recommended) or a Motorola Signal Booster 4-Port BDA-S4 Cable Modem TV HDTV Amplifier, both at Amazon.
(c ) Consider Upgrading to RG6 Low Loss Coaxial cable. There might even be a Business Rebate Program thorough the state for this upgrade.
(d) Try Wall Mounting the LCD TV’s, it actually makes them appear “larger”, Increases desk Space, and may prevent any falling over accidents.
Caveat - A strong cable signal will always make any TV look great!
Where the OPPOSITE is true, a Weak Signal will make even a Sony HDTV with 1080P @ 240 Hz, look crappy!

* Noise factors - Because, the hotel/motel rooms are “Open Air”, having the Old-style window panes, screens & sliders, with No A/C to drown out any extraneous noises, here’s a couple of the main Noise perpetuators: (1) Coqui frogs - these are a definite Noise-making Pest! Not much you do do here, since the County has given up on their Eradication Program, years ago.
(2) There is not much “Road” noise, however, the Biggest Noise makers, due to the Closeness of the Parking to the Building, are from Other Guests, which are either Arriving or Returning back, who keep PLAYING with their rental car’s ALARM Remote Control, or Shouting or Yelling at each Other and/or Slamming their Doors & Trunks, as some did during my stay there. This is probably not much of a ISSUE, if you are staying on the TOP Level, but if you are on the Ground Level, it’s BullS*#t!
SUGGESTION - POST some Visible SIGN’s, reminding Guests of this Noise Factors.

Summary - Overall, based solely on the Pro’s & Con’s, I would not give it more than a 3.5 Star rating.

Even, with the best Pro’s points to consider and having the charm of a local, family-owned hotel/motel, I would have to agree with other Reviewer’s, that when I do return to Hilo Town again, I will most likely pick one of the Resort hotels, that some have been in a ‘renovation phase’ now for a few years.
So, if I’m paying $170/Night, as a Business Traveler, I should be getting High-Quality: Bedding, Internet Service, HDTV/Programming, & A/C.
However, if possible at some time in the future, and if offered a Kamaaina rate, I would consider giving Dolphin Bay Hotel, a second go, which is more than I can say about other Hilo accommodations.

Stay Thirsty My friends … Aloha nui loa!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank whitetiger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2011

This is a sweet little family-owned hotel with amazing fruit for breakfast in the morning! The room we stayed in was very clean and charming. It had a small and functional kitchen, a bedroom/living area, a bathroom and large balcony. The hotel looks like it was built in the 1960s, and it is nicely maintained. This is not a fancy hotel, but it is really cute and the grounds are full of beautiful plants, including fruit trees. The owners are very kind, extremely generous in providing information about the area. Hilo is home to little Coqui frogs that croak at night (they chirp "co-qui? co-qui?"), and it really makes you realize you are in the tropics - we were able to fall right asleep to their call. We would most definitely stay at the Dolphin Bay again.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank ADJPDX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2011

We stayed at Dolphin Bay for two days in July. We were assigned Room #1, which included a spacious bathroom and a small kitchen. Unfortunately the door faces the interior reception area and is next to the coffee machine where pastries and fruit are available for breakfast. We were woken up by a few loud guests each morning.

The hotel is in a quiet residential area and a short walk to downtown Hilo. The grounds are lovely and tropical and we enjoyed seeing the many varieties of orchids.

The rooms are not air conditioned and windows need to be left open at night. This means that you wlll enjoy some VERY loud frogs as background noise. However, we found this part of the charm of the place.

Parking is free (as are the bananas, papaya and avocado that are grown on the property) and the staff were friendly and knowledgable about the area.

Overall, highly recommended!

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank justrrcgy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2011

I love trip advisor, we never would have found this place without them! This is little hidden gem. The owner is so helpful and carring about your time there you can tell he enjoys doing it. At first your going Cmon is this for real but it is. The hotel is quaint ,spotless ,quiet(except for frogs at night),within walking distance to town and farmers mkt. The breakfast is really unique , my wife got a real kick out of it. WI-FI worked great (free). There are good resturants nearby , the Volcano about 35 min. and other sites. We broke up our Kona stay and spent a night here and I will stay here again. We actually looked at the others while we were there , except for a bar NO competition plus you'll have money to play with. For a great dinner I would recommend the Ponds restaurant (Very Good)

  • Stayed: June 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank byrdman53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dolphin Bay

Address: 333 Iliahi St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2399
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Hilo
Price Range: $167 - $225 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Dolphin Bay 2.5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Seasoned guidance for a wide range of Big Island adventures. Walking distance to downtown Hilo. Clean quiet & reasonable. All rooms with kitchens. Free WiFi Internet available. Rated nicest small hotel in Hilo. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dolphin Bay Hilo, Hawaii
Dolphin Bay Hotel Hilo

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