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“Simple,super,clean value.great location.great staff”
Review of Dolphin Motel

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Dolphin Motel
Ranked #41 of 279 Hotels in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 5, 2014

Point Loma is my choice for a perfect blend of access!shops!great fresh food and affordable lodgings just a block from the sport fishing harbor.I had a four day quick visit suddenly available and I watched hotel prices zoom from a city average of 200 to 385 <per the newspaper) with Pride and Comicon<150,000 visitors) in a couple of days.a friend recommended dolphin hotel ( $70-110 and I remembered Point Loma-cheap renta car is preferred. There is a bus. But airport is 5 min. Midway and museums ten and convention center is ten min!! What could be better..yes the dolphin is simple. Great simple yogurt and banana free breakfast...very clean rooms. Think red roof but clean. And every staff member is super attentive and knows your name..what could be better.. Everything you need. Clean value priced and nothing you do not need. And simple parking. Lot full but staff always finds you a spot. Do not panic they will get you parking...not using big lots in city-major construction has eliminated most city hotel lots-not only saved us $20 day but saved us an hour on each end of trip. Not to mention that dolphin was one third or less the price of the city hotels just a mile away. I'll take simple with a great staff every time. Particularly when I saved almost $1000 using the dolphin vs the marriott on a four day trip. I travel 60 nights a year and til now I never came home saving hundreds on food parking and lodging. Thank you dolphin and after son owners and staff. Semper. fi

Room Tip: No elevator. Not needed 2 story. Upper floor has breezes and views. But a heavy bag might be a chal...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Bill E
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 reviewResponded August 9, 2014

Thank you bill for taking the time to share on tripadvisor your recent stay at our motel.
Comic Convention is always the best (and worse) time to stay in San Diego: best in that it is the busiest & most fun. Worse in that prices are at their highest!
I agree with you: as an avid traveler, you know very well how far a dollar can travel.
It is also important to find a place that provides cleanliness & comfort, but at an affordable rate.
Our family-owned, family-operated motel provides a need in a "competitive & corporate dominant" industry. We consider every guest just as important to our business!
I recently read an article on the internet (and do agree!), finding a little family-owned place may be a better deal, as chains may not provide little extras, or be willing to give discounts.
Once again, it comes down to all future guests, who read tripadvisor & take some time to research their needs.

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213 - 219 of 1,120 reviews

Reviewed August 1, 2014

During the Comic Con weekend, my boyfriend and I stayed here at the Dolphin Motel and it was such an awesome experience. Last year when we attended Comic Con, we only went for one day and ended up staying in an awful motel very far away and it was a terrible experience. This year we scored weekend badges and really wanted to find a clean and safe place to stay. This place was MUCH more than that.

This motel is located in Point Loma right on the marina so right off the bat, there's a ton to do in the area. Great restaurants all around, very nice people, and cool scenery. We were already very pleased before we even checked into the room.

When we arrived at the Dolphin Motel, I stayed behind in the car to unload our bags while my boyfriend went to check in. Minutes later, he walked back to the car with two complimentary bottles of water from the employee who checked us in and a key with the wifi password on it. Already, everyone was super nice. While we were walking to our room, we noticed a sign on the side of the office with shuttle times. The front desk clerk came out and informed us that there was a free shuttle running all weekend that would take us back and forth to the convention center. We were stoked about that because parking in the Gaslamp District is expensive. He explained everything to us and told us where to go. That was very helpful.

Immediately walking into the room, we noticed how clean it was. Everything was white so you could see if there was any dirt or dust lying around (there was none) and it smelled so nice. The bed was very comfortable, the bathroom was clean and had a good sized shower, and the TV was really nice! Not to mention the awesome air conditioner next to the bed. Anytime the room would start to get stuffy, we would turn the air on for a couple of minutes and it would get nice and cool inside. The room would be cleaned everyday too! Every night that we came back from the event, we would have clean towels, new trash bags, and the bed was made.

Their complimentary breakfast every morning is simple but delicious! They set it up pretty early and it goes on for a while, which is very nice. A couple mornings we were up at 6am and the rest we were up around 9am and it was still up for grabs!

Not once was our sleep interrupted during our stay. This was a HUGE deal to us since our stay at a different motel last year went terribly wrong. We didn't sleep a wink last year because of how loud everyone else was. But everyone at the Dolphin Motel is SO respectful of others and we were so pleased about that!

On the morning that we checked out, we both walked into the front office and talked to the employee at the front desk. We thanked him for everything and he opened up their fridge full of drinks and told us to grab whatever we wanted. They also allowed us to leave our car in their parking lot while we spent our last day at the convention so that we didn't have to pay for parking. That definitely topped off our stay!

Overall, everyone here is SO sweet and it's a great place to stay. Great prices (even during CC weekend) and great location. We will DEFINITELY be staying here again next year!!

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
3  Thank Jordan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2014

Located in Point Loma, this no-nonsense hotel provides everything one need for a pleasant experience of Comic-Con. Quite near to the shuttle stop on Harbor Drive, free and hearty breakfast, very neat & clean rooms and a staff that goes out of the way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. I even got a special strong pot of cofee for breakfast every morning since I'm from Europe and prefer it that way!

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
4  Thank Bengt B
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 reviewResponded July 31, 2014

We are grateful you would recommend our motel to future guests!
Yes, you came to the owner & made a personal request for coffee and he was glad to oblige.
All our customers are important to us, we will give them the individual attention they deserve!

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Reviewed July 24, 2014

My wife and I were planning a trip to the San Diego area for a family wedding. The wedding would be in Temecula at a very posh resort, so for the four days before it and one day after (for airport proximity), when we would be exploring San Diego, we wanted to find a moderately priced hotel. We discovered that even the usually moderate priced chains were in the $150 per night range. Then on TripAdvisor we saw the Dolphin Motel.

The cost of the Dolphin was very low – suspiciously so. We wondered what kind of place it could be and where it could be located. But reviews were enthusiastic, so we decided to take a chance.

Our first “warm feeling” came when we called to make the reservation. The man who answered sounded professional and friendly and was able to answer all of our questions. Even so, as the date of our trip approached, we wondered whether we had made a mistake and would be better off switching to one of chains, even though they were much more expensive.

We stayed with the Dolphin and are glad that we did. And since it was such a “find”, I am writing a rather lengthy review of it.

The Dolphin describes itself as a small, family owned, motel. Some have called it a throwback to the motels of the 1950s. I can attest to that. We are in our 70s and have traveled extensively. I stayed in 1950s era hotels in the 1950s, and the Dolphin definitely resembles one.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly office staffer who seemed genuine in offering to do whatever he could to make our stay pleasant. He gave us bottles of water and told us that we could have more whenever we wanted. We dealt at different times with three different people in the office, and each one seemed genuinely interested in both the Dolphin and its guests.

Outside stairs led to our room on the second level which was entered from an outside walkway. The room was small. It was also bright, looked freshly painted, and was immaculately clean. The bed turned out to be very comfortable. There were night tables on either side of the bed and an open clothes hanging area with plenty of hangers. In the corner was a counter-height refrigerator. There were no lounge chairs or desk in the room, although there were comfortable chairs outside on the walkway. When I needed a place to write a toast that I was to deliver at the wedding, I used one of the two comfortable folding chairs and the small folding table that stood in a corner of the room.

The bathroom was also quite small and also new looking and sparkling clean. The stall shower was strong and had water as hot as anyone might want. Towels were thicker than we have found in most moderate cost chain hotels. There was soap, but as others have noted, no shampoo or other little bottles of goodies. Those and other convenience items were available in the office for a very nominal price.

There was a window in the bedroom and another in the bathroom, so we had cross ventilation. I noticed that the air conditioner was a Friedrich brand. Several years ago, we were shopping for an air conditioner for our apartment, we ended up buying a Friedrich even though it cost considerably more than more popular brands because it was the quietest and most efficient that we could find. Seeing this, I checked the TV which I had ignored because we almost never watch TV while on vacation. It was a good sized LG flat screen and had a beautiful picture. It was evident that the owner was willing to spend to get quality equipment. There was a notice under the TV saying that 9:00 pm to 9:00 am was “quiet time” and that guests should keep both the TV and their voices low. 1950s motels had thin walls, and this one was no exception. But in the four nights that we were there, neither we nor some friends in another room with whom we were traveling had any problem with noise from neighbors. Apparently people will be considerate when asked.

What the Dolphin might have lacked in room size, it made up for in service. It did not surprise me to see a sign saying that we could borrow a hair dryer or iron and ironing board. And the offer of guide books, while a little unusual, was not too surprising. But a laptop computer to use with their very good WiFi? Or a GPS? Or a cell phone? Yep. They were all available to borrow. I have not seen that before.

The included breakfast was served in a pleasant courtyard and was not elaborate. There was orange juice, three flavors of Yoplait yogurt, bananas, two varieties of muffins, and coffee or tea. If you want to supplement that, you can walk to a large supermarket or go to a Trader Joe’s about a mile away. There is that refrigerator in the room and a microwave was available in the breakfast area. Or you could walk about 100 yards to Mitch’s restaurant or a snack shop that sold bagels and such. Both open early to serve the fishermen.

Which brings me to the Dolphin’s location. When we told friends that we were going to San Diego, they all said that we should stay in the Gaslamp Quarter because it was close to restaurants and shopping. If we had found a reasonably priced hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter, we would probably have done that. And it would have been a mistake – for us. We are not inclined toward expensive restaurants, shopping, or nightlife. The Dolphin is positioned between two chain hotels located across the road from the harbor that is home to commercial and sport fishing boats. There is a new looking, attractive walkway along the harbor. On the walkway there are several restaurants serving fresh caught fish and other seafood. At Mitch’s, which I mentioned above, you order at the counter and wait at an indoor or outdoor harbor-side table for your meal to be delivered. We ate there twice. Each time my wife had a salad topped by a large piece of fish, and I had fresh fish tacos. Both were delicious. The tacos were very inexpensive. It was enjoyable to walk along the harbor and admire the enormous assemblage of boats. We were lucky enough to spot a sea lion who was hanging out near the restaurant. We also ate at Jimmy’s, a sit-down, moderately priced place where the food was also excellent. All of this is a very short walk from the Dolphin. An equally short walk away from the harbor takes you to a Starbucks. And a slightly longer walk leads to a kind of town center that we did not explore but that had a variety of stores and restaurants.

In contrast to the Gaslamp Quarter, where we read that parking adds about $20 to a night’s stay, parking at the Dolphin is free. And it is a short, easy drive to attractions like Balboa Park with its remarkable zoo and museums, the aircraft carrier Midway, and the Cabrillo National Monument from which there are spectacular views of the city and the sea.

We enjoyed our four days at the Dolphin then headed to the Ponte Vineyard Inn in Temecula for the wedding weekend. The Inn was beautiful, and when we walked into our huge, luxuriously appointed room, we laughed at the contrast. The Inn certainly knew how to do posh (at posh prices), just as the Dolphin knew how to do simplicity at a very modest price.

After the wedding, we returned to the Dolphin, were greeted warmly, and felt as if we had come home. When it was time to leave, we drove the few minutes to the airport.

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
6  Thank caribmike
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 reviewResponded July 31, 2014

This has got to be the best best reviews in our Hall of Fame.
We would give these good guests a personal 5-star ourselves!
It gives every detail about our motel: from the way it is runned daily, to the details about our owners & staff.
Yes, we are a family-owned, family operated motel for the last 38 years.
And every day our hard-working owners come down to give a personal touch to the everyday runnings of the business. They also take personal responsibility for any mishaps, and that reflects positively to our staff whom do follow their lead!
The one thing we cannot do is break down the walls to rebuild, thus the size of our rooms are small compared to more modern locations. If our good guests can look past that and reconsider that "size doesn't matter", we have a level playing field with the genuineness of our efforts towards our guests. We sincerely hope our straight-forwardness will be felt by all our guests, as we truly appreciate them staying here at this little motel.
Budget is also our strong point, (even though once in awhile some guests think their money is spent elsewhere) for the vast majority of our guests do appreciate the money they save, which can be spent on more "vacation related" things.
I did remember when you guys came back during the late afternoon, it was good that you booked far in advance to get the most availability & best price.

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Reviewed July 16, 2014

Essentially met all my basic requirements, safe surroundings, good location, clean sheets and fresh towels, quiet sleep, no frills, no problems. rooms are really small. But given the price I could definitely live with it. For a place like San Diego during summer you probably can't find a better valued place than this. Reception staff is friendly and helpful. There is a nice harbor with lots of yachts and fly fishing shops nearby, nice walk in the morning, it's 10 minutes drive to the USS Midway and also quite near Point Loma lighthouse and Sunset Cliff. Also there is free wifi.

Two things though. One, wish they have an online booking system. Being from anger country calling isn't always convenient, I did email but sometimes it's a bit confusing and I hesitated on whether I should disclose credit card details over email. Also I had to add additional rooms to my booking subsequently so it was a bit confusing subsequently. Online booking would probably make it easier.

Second, I thought one of my rooms was supposed to have an upstairs "harbor view". But in reality none of the 3 rooms that I booked had any view other than a view of the motel reception and breakfast area.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank tinywingz
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 reviewResponded July 17, 2014

Thank you guys for posting a review about our motel on tripadvisor.
I'm glad to hear our budget-friendly motel was your best family pick for this recent trip to San Diego. Like you mentioned: we may or may not be the right fit for future guests as our accommodations might not fit everyone's needs.
We do encourage all our future guests to inquire about our motel through phone or e-mail.
Being family-owned & budget-friendly motel, the owner adheres to tradition. We still do reservations the old-fashion way, with pencil & paper.
Unfortunately, we don not subscribe to 3rd party reservations, we would have to pay them a percentage and the savings won't be passed on to our customers.

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Reviewed July 15, 2014 via mobile

I normally stay on Shelter Island, but I was trying to save money this visit & Dolphin is top rated on Trip Advisor. It is exactly what it says it is...a clean, simple, friendly budget motel. It had everything I needed & was within walking distance to many local places. The only downside was thin walls & it is next to a well-traveled road.

Stayed: July 2014, traveled with friends
1  Thank proctor992
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 reviewResponded July 16, 2014

Thank you good guest for sharing our motel on tripadvisor.
You are very generous to us!
Your review is balanced & straight forward. All future readers will get an idea of what to expect from our motel.
This busy summer month is starting to get busier, as Comic Convention is approaching.
With the festivities comes large groups attending Comic Con, and we do our best to keep the noise down after 9:00pm.
We are an older motel, so our 24-hr staff regularly patrol the property to ensure no loud noise & T.V. late at night. We do what we can about noise.
Once again, thank you proctor992 for sharing our motel on tripadvisor.

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Reviewed July 12, 2014 via mobile

I would like to keep this little gem a secret, but judging from their high occupancy all the time, looks like the secret is out. I can only echo previous reviews. The location, value and cleanliness all first rate. Add helpful, friendly owners, and a really nice continental breakfast, and you have all you need for a really terrific stay in San Diego.

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank deadhead60
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 reviewResponded July 16, 2014

Thank you for writing about us: Right you are!
Tripadvisor has provided guests with insider tips on travel destinations.
It is also the most transparent mechanism that levels the playing field in the hotel business. All locations are subject to guest's evaluation: be it good or bad.
We hope all our future guests are as generous as you guys.
From reading about our motel on tripadvisor, any 1st-time travelers or return guests, already know which rooms are preferred & what to expect. That has brought many good things to our motel (as expectations won't be blown out of proportions) and our guests won't be surprised about what accommodations/features we "don't offer".
As always, please call us way in advance for the best availabilities, especially during the busy summer season.
Hope to see you next time!

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Additional Information about Dolphin Motel

Address: 2912 Garrison St, San Diego, CA 92106-2770
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > San Diego
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in San Diego
#7 Family Hotel in San Diego
#9 On the Beach Hotel in San Diego
#10 Romantic Hotel in San Diego
#44 Business Hotel in San Diego
Price Range: $74 - $190 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Dolphin Motel 2*
Number of rooms: 35
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 our staff over continental breakfast. - Please see over reviews. Thanks ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Dolphin Motel San Diego
Dolphin Hotel San Diego

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