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“Very Relaxing Place to Stay”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Dolphin Bay

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Dolphin Bay
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence
SF, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Very Relaxing Place to Stay”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 13, 2007

A really low-key, relaxing place. The people there are very friendly and helpful. The owner/manager was born and raised in Hilo, so he knows the Island intimately. He has swum and hiked in many parts of the Island and can, therefore, tell you the best places for your adventurous activities.

The rooms (we rented two: one for us parents and one for our adult children) were clean, and the windows (esp. room 11) overlooked beautiful plants and flowers.

They let us borrow their beach towels, use their laundry soap; and they even let another family borrow the ice chest for their outings.
Coffee and fruits (there were bananas and papayas) are always available (free), and muffins are there in the mornings.

The location of the hotel is in a quiet neighborhood, but close to (within walking distance) to downtown Hilo and the farmer's market.
I really liked this place!!!

  • Liked — The knowledgeable and friendly people there; the beautiful landscape
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank scuchief
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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658 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    335
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    16
    5
See reviews for
169
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (124)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bracknell, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
82 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 3, 2007

This was a nice little hotel, located in a suburb just outside downtown Hilo. It was about a 10 minute walk to downtown.

The staff were very helpful and pleasant. There is a little kitchen in the room, but the facilities are a bit basic and it's not realistic to think about using it for any major cooking. Our room was not huge, but was a decent size and they had a nice big bath/shower in the bathroom. There is an interesting garden at the back of the hotel and fresh coffee, muffins and fruit from the garden are always available in the foyer.

Because of the surrounding lush vegetation, it does get a bit noisy at night. It was a bit of a revalation as to how noisy tree frogs can be! The hotel provides earplugs though and this helps to block out the noisy wildlife.

The rooms do not have air-conditioning, which was a bit of a problem for me. Although there are two fans in the room that work well, it wasn't enough to combat the heat and humidity for me. My partner however, had no problem, so it comes down to how much a hot night affects you.

The hotel is certainly good value and the staff are very knowledgable about local attractions and less well-known places to visit.

  • Liked — Pleasant staff and it's location
  • Disliked — Lack of air-conditioning
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank FatClone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
virginia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2007

This hotel is close to downtown Hilo, but it's NOT large and noisy! The staff were extremely helpful not only for places around Hilo but for the whole island as well. We travel as 2 adults and 2 teens and were comfortable/snug in room #1 with a queen and 2 singles. It's very clean, has all the basic necessities and the most delicious breakfast of fresh coffee, danish, papaya and apple bananas!

  • Liked — Comfortable and clean
  • Disliked — A bit more than we would have liked to pay...
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank kopearson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Deerfield, IL
Level Contributor
78 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 26, 2007

Five of us stayed in the Dolphin's two-bedroom "apartment" in late June. We only could stay two nights, but wish we had stayed longer, because Hilo is the most beautiful and interesting place to be on the Big Island. We will definitely return to Hilo and the Dolphin if/when we return to Hawaii, especially having experienced the "tourist trap" of Kailua-Kona.

The Dolphin's location in a residential neighborhood, in a solid apartment-style building from the 60s, gives it a relaxed, homey feel. The rooms are simply furnished and kept very clean. The upstairs apartment had a high, plank-and-beam ceiling that was very nice. Wall and table fans do a good job moving the air; the tree frogs sing quite loudly at night, but with the fan on full blast we had good "white noise." (Ear plugs are tucked away in the bathroom cabinet if you need them.) Our bathroom had a nice, big corner shower. The kitchenette is spare but functional and is a real money-saver; a full grocery is just blocks away. Minor complaint: Towels could be newer/thicker. We had one gecko friend, but we also "hosted" them at other places on the island. Actually, we enjoyed them, as they are cute and harmless. (Named ours "Gomez.")

Great coffee, rolls and fruit are available in the little lobby each morning (along with free WiFi), so we brought our mugs down, filled up, and then enjoyed sitting on our balcony having our wake-up. Be sure to leave time in the a.m. to sit down at the desk with owner John Alexander. He will ask you what your ideas for the day are and then proceed to give you all sorts of solid advice on timing, costs, "inside tips," and directions drawn onto map forms that he keeps handy. These "consultations" with John are nearly worth the price of the room, which by the way was very reasonable to begin with.

  • Liked — Value; relaxed atmosphere; helpful owner
  • Disliked — Older furnishings, thin towels
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank retro1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oregon
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 18, 2007

My husband and I stayed at the Dolphin Bay Hotel for two nights at the end of May. We had been in Kona for the previous week and wanted to explore the Hilo side as well as visit the Volcano without the long drive back to Kona. My only regret is that we were only at the Dolphin Bay for a short time. I felt at home as soon as we arrived. The staff was very helpful and friendly.
Our room was very clean. It was nice to have a small kitchen. We never cooked but we used the fridge to store our food and snacks. We enjoyed the delicious fresh, homegrown bananas and papayas for breakfast as well as the fresh brewed Kona coffee and cinnamon rolls. Many of the guests would gather around the coffee area in the morning and chat. We would exchange ideas for what to do and see that day.
We were fortunate to hit clear sunny weather during our stay. We enjoyed walking downtown to the shops and Wednesday market. We enjoyed visiting nearby waterfalls and gardens within just a few miles. I can't wait to return. Next time we will stay longer.

Stayed May 2007
Helpful?
3 Thank martyecline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 14, 2007

This is an apartment style hotel. The staff is extremely friendly and
knowledgeable. You also get coffee and cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

The place is also close to the Hilo bay and downtown, although not within walking distance, but it is easier to find parking in Hilo than in Kona so that is not a big problem. There is a nice park/
garden adjacent to the property so if you have some time you can stroll around to see the tropical plants and animals there.

The only complaint I have is the loud noise from the tree frogs (an invasive species from Puerto Rico, as I was told by one of the staff people) at night, which is really not their fault, but it can drive you crazy. If you are not an easy sleeper, beware of that.

  • Stayed June 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank sailor123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
33 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 24, 2007

This was my favorite hotel that we stayed in for our trip to Hawaii. The place really feels family run, more like you are staying at a friend's home but with the privacy and freedom of your own studio apartment. The room was good sized with high ceilings (we had a 2nd floor room). No AC, but the ceiling and table fans were adequate. The kitchenette was great, including a stove and oven, fridge and freezer, and all the utensils that we could have ever needed. The staff were very helpful with maps and directions for places to eat, etc. There was plenty of parking in back of the hotel. I really liked the fresh fruit in the morning and the beautiful garden in back of the hotel.

I don't agree with the comments I've seen here about the place being overpriced. Our room was competitively priced compared to the other hotels that we stayed at. Be warned that there's a 14% or so hotel tax in Hawaii though. The neighborhood the hotel is in definitely isn't groomed resort-land, but I appreciated being in more of the everyday Hawaii instead of the dressed up tiki torch tourist strips, and we were only a few blocks from downtown Hilo. The Dolphin Bay was a good base for exploring the east side of the island and Volcanoes National Park.

  • Liked — The kichenette and gardens
  • Disliked — no complaints
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank ziona
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Dolphin Bay

Property: Dolphin Bay
Address: 333 Iliahi St, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720-2399
Location: United States > Hawaii > Island of Hawaii > Hilo
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Hilo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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