I did not stay at this motel. A VT'er asked me about it and I went to check it out.
Seems that most of the reviews for this motel are very postitive and a very few were not. This is confusing and sets up red warning flags, so I understood the request for an on the spot opinion.
Dolphin Motel is independent, not connected to a "chain." This is sometimes a good thing or sometimes not a good thing. In this case I'd say it is a good thing. I did not meet the owners, but read a reply they made to a complaint on TA. The reply was to the point, helpful and respectful throughout. Which impressed me before even seeing the place.
Also I looked at their website and must say, they did not embellish the place with deceiving or glowing adjectives at all. The Dolphin Motel was just as they stated. Actually, it was better than I had expected it to be.
After talking with an employee in the Office (which is open 24 hours) and looking at a couple of rooms, plus noting the modest amenities offered, I would definately recommend this Motel.
It looks as if it was built in the 1950's, so it is old. A blast from the past. Yet, it appeared to be very clean. I think that the use of white bedspreads is clever because it is easy to see how clean they are and gives the room a "bigger" feel. The rooms are very small by present U.S. standards. The walls are on the thin side, so management is diligent in reminding guests to keep "the volume down" in consideration of other guests. It was quiet and peaceful when I was there, early evening during the holiday season.
There are no phones in the room, which is unusual, but in our cell phone society these days that isn't such a big deal. Though you should know that if you need a local phone, they will lend you one of their cells with unlimited local calls. That surprised me and I think, a pretty good deal. In each room was a small refrigerator for guest convenience. All rooms are Non-Smoking but I saw that they have comfortable Smoking Areas throughout.
At this time, 2011/2012, a single room with a double bed is about $50.00 per night. A double room, with a double bed and a single bed is about $10.00 or $15.00 more per night. During the summer the price goes up and during ComiCon it rises to about $140.00 per night. Which is still a bargin for miles around here.
The quality that makes this motel unique is that you get what you pay for. Especially for those who are on a tight budget and generally use a motel or hotel simply as a place to sleep while on vacation, this is a good choice.
It is located across the street from a popular Sports Fishing company and a few blocks from Shelter Island.
They offer free parking and the whole area, buildings and parking lot is monitored for security.
There is a bus stop just up the block at Garrison and Rosecrans, Bus 28 will get you around and to the SD Trolley station.
The amenities are modest, but thoughtful and it seems that they are not only willing, but also happy to help a guest out if it is needed. There is a free continental breakfast served out in the patio area every morning. Take a look at their website for the other freebies.
I would warn you that this is an older style, independently owned, motel. So it will not be like the more modern chain types. Yet, I'd say it is excellent for the price, if that is your consideration.
As they state on their website, "We are the combined, Highest Rated and Lowest Priced Motel in San Diego!"
I have not stayed at this motel because I live in San Diego, but will try to tell you enough about it to help make an informed decision. This is a budget motel. The price of a stay is less than you'd find at the Radisson or other mid to high-level hotels. If you book a room here and expect too much you will be disappointed.
You should expect a room in an older building, signs of wear but in general it will be basically clean with friendly/helpful staff. If your room doesn't seem clean, a simple discussion with the staff would most likely result in a different room being given to you or the cleaning staff called up ASAP to take care of the problem.
The price of a room here may be a bit higher than a Comfort Inn room in a more remote area, but for this area it will be much less that most.
This is a small-ish place offered at a low-ish price and good value for the money.
It is located in a convenient section where you'll find dining choices no matter your budget. It is not far out from downtown San Diego and is near a bus stop for those who will rely on public transportation.
However, if you will have the use of a car, the parking here is free which is a great thing because parking at many hotels and motels range somewhere between $18.00 and $30.00 per night!
Check out their website for the amenities offered and you will see that though this is a budget motel, they do try to add a few perks for their guests.
The Vagabond Inn is a standard motel, clean and affordable. The price is the big advantage here. On-line they offer $49.00 and up for a room. A few of the amenities are a continental breakfast, free parking, shuttle service and weekday newspapers. Also, all local phone calls are free.
Children under 18 years old stay free with parents and there is a swimming pool.
The area of Scott Street, where the Vagabond Inn is located, happens to be just at the beginning of Shelter Island. Noted to be America's Cup harbor, Shelter Island is full of hotels, restaurants and anything to do with boating; marinas, sail boat sales, repair shops and supplies, all within walking distance.
It is interesting that such modest priced motels are offered in this area. It gives those of us who are on a budget a decent place to stay without breaking the bank. This is probably due to the fact that losts of military personnel and their families might be staying in the area for a time.
There are lots of restauarnts in the area that are within walking distance and within various price ranges. !
Cabrillo National Monument is just up the hill, however, not within walking distance. Did I mention that they offer free parking at this motel?
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