Dolphin Bay Hotel (le)

333 Iliahi St., Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, United States

1 Review

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Satisfaction Excellent
Very Good


Value Score No Data

Good For Solo
  • Families92
  • Couples92
  • Solo94
  • Business66
  • Dolphin Bay Motel


    Unique Quality: Off the beaten path and outside of the tourist area, but close to downtown Hilo. In a rainforest setting. The host is a photographer who has wonderful photos of the lava flows and great information. Check out the lava sculpture at the entry.

    Directions: 333 Iliahi St. Hilo
    From downtown Hilo - take Keawe St. (one way) across the bridge and turn left on Iliahi - the office is on the left hand side about 3/4 of the way up the street.

More about Dolphin Bay Hotel (le)

The best place to stay in Hilo

by TripAdvisor Member bengos

It took us a long time to select an affordable place to stay in Hilo. As almost is pretty expensive for the offered quality, we believe the Dolphin Bay Hotel is “acceptable” in a cleanness/quality perspective. Actually, we were very surprised to discover a lovely place and were very satisfied to stay there.

The hotel and the room are very clean. The standard room we rent is very pleasant, spacious, top clean and quiet. A full equipped kitchen adequately furnished is provided in each room. The bath room is clean and modern. There is a funny large tube to take shower. Fresh flowers picked up in the garden give tropical notes in the room. Fruits (bananas, papayas, avocados, etc) and coffee/tee are complimentary all day long. For breakfast, there are muffins.

The owner is a gentleman and he is very knowledgeable about the National Park, the surrounding volcanoes and will friendly advice the guests about the activities to do on Big Island.

The tropical garden around the hotel is very pleasant to take a rest, walk or even to lunch. By night, it is pleasant to hear the singing frogs and the wind blowing thought the palm trees. The town of Hilo is in walking distance just across the bridge.

Definitively, for the given price (80$/night), this hotel is a great value and highly recommended.

I do not recommend staying far away from Hilo. There is nothing to do, no restaurant and the weather is cold (even if rain is usual in Hilo).

What were the other reviewers smoking?

by TripAdvisor Member bluefan

First off, the Dolphin Bay is NO hotel. It's a MOTEL, and it's old. The furniture and smell emanating from them reminded me of Boy Scout cabins from back in the 70's. The bed and bedding are dated from the same era. The one bedroom we obtained could accomodate four, had a small kitchen and did have clean towels. But when you consider that certain better Hilo hotels along Banyan Drive have similar rates AND A/C (which the Dolphin lacks) it certainly doesn't appear quite the bargain. Even better, book one of the moderate Hilo B&B's which I believe would offer a far superior stay at similar rates. Basically, we stayed one night and were only too happy to get out of there.

This is one of the few times that the many positive reviews here on TripAdvisor has me concerned about the objectivity of posters.

We' ll be back

by TripAdvisor Member smachim

I was a little skeptical about this hotel because its web page is not the best, but we were pleasantly surprised. The hotel is located walking distance from downtown Hilo, nested in a garden full of tropical trees. Rooms are large, clean, big bathroom, cable TV and kitchen. We stayed in #10 and had a great view over the garden. Some rooms have lanais.
Read the About in its web site it's accurate.

But the best of the hotel were:
- The papayas: on the lobby besides the coffee there were always a big bunch of the best papayas we’ve ever had. Big, ripe, sweet….. Here in NYC they are $6 a piece and tasteless. We devoured them every day.
- The Manager: John is a genuine guy with lava flowing in his veins. He will seat with you and explain and advice what to do according to your preferences, where and when to go. But when talking about the volcano he gets really excited and you can feel all his love and enthusiasm for it. He even makes available for his guests walking sticks for the volcano hike. His advice was greatly appreciated and we sure will return to this hotel.

PA: we forgot several items and they kindly shipped them back home. TKS

funky and family-run

by A TripAdvisor Member

try to get a room away from the office. mine was right next door and it was kind of annoying since everyone comes by there in the morning and the supply closet for the maid service was right there. and since there isn't an a/c, you'll want to have windows and louvers to doors open. sometimes, it kind of felt like my room was in the middle of a well-trafficked hallway. it was a rather un-private room.

john, the owner, was quite friendly and helpful and knows tons about the island. the hotel is a bit outside the downtown area but it's just a few blocks away and the location means that you get to be in a much more tranquil setting. i liked it a lot but would definitely request a different room next time!

Great deal, enjoyed it immensely!

by TripAdvisor Member larana84

Best place I stayed at while in Hawai'i. The rooms were clean and comfortable (if a little warm), and the presence of small lizards on our ceiling were cute! (It's not for everyone -- if lizards make you squeamish, I would not recommend staying here. But then again, why are you in Hawai'i if you don't like the local fauna?)

The fresh fruit and muffins available every day was delightful, and the small gardens out back are a great place to stroll around (watch for falling breadfruit!). I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and would definitely stay here again!

spacious, comfortable and oh so friendly!

by A TripAdvisor Member

Our family of six stayed at the Dolphin Bay for two nights, as part of a six week holiday to the US and I can honestly say that this was the friendliest place which we stayed. Our two bedroom apartment, with kitchen, was older style but spacious and very clean. We loved being able to sit on the balcony and the kids loved the muffins and fresh fruit for breakfast. It's an easy walk to the shops and the tropical garden is a delight. The real highlight was found behind the reception desk You got the impression that nothing was too much trouble. We came to Hilo to see the volcano - and John (the owner) is passionate about it. He supplied us with sticks and torches and gave us all the advice we needed to set out on our five hour adventure in search of lava. He was genuinely excited the next day when we reported back to him about finding a lava flow. This was one of the highlights of our trip. We could not have attempted it without John's valuable advice.

Very basic

by TripAdvisor Member Jand12

This is more of a motel than a hotel. We stayed there just 1 night before spending couple of days in Volcano. It was ok for a night's stay. No A/C so you have to keep your window open and this makes it pretty noisy. On the whole very average and not worth the money ($109/night).

Not worth the money

by TripAdvisor Member epicsaga

This is a one star motel for a 2 star price. Think Motel 6. The place hasnt been updated in 20+ years. It's a far cry from a similarly priced condo or hotel.
Heres what you get:
Difficult to check in after 9 pm.
SMALL room only big enough for one. We had the "superior studio".
NO phone in room. What year is this?!
LIMITED parking.
NOT easy to find.
NO A/C, fan only.
NO cups for coffee-bring your own.
NO view.
NO pool and not near beach.
NOT private lanai.
Extremely basic furnishings and kitchen.
Mediocre neighborhood not near anything.
There is no reason to stay in Hilo unless you love rain. If you're forced to stay in Hilo, this motel is overpriced.
On the plus side the free breakfast was good.

Below average

by TripAdvisor Member rio96

Stayed at the Dolphin Bay for 3 nights. I have to agree with the previous writer who stated that the hotel should be rated 1 star. Stay away from room #1 as it is very hot (one small fan fastened to the upper corner), Manager was less than accomodating when asked for an extra fan. If you are able, stay somewhere else while in Hilo as this motel is overrated.


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 Dolphin Bay Hotel (le)

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

Dolphin Bay Hilo
Dolphin Bay Hotel Hilo

Address: 333 Iliahi St., Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, United States