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Dolphin Inn 2.0

Wildwood, Jersey Shore, New Jersey

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Clean, family-friendly motel with 1950s retro decor 
  • One block from the Wildwood Boardwalk and beach
  • Within walking distance of the Wildwood Convention Center 
  • Small kidney shaped pool and grilling area with outdoor dining tables  
  • Several room types, including efficiencies with kitchenettes 
  • Free lot parking and Wi-Fi 
  • Free coffee in the lobby each morning 
  • Doo Wop Certified property 

Cons

  • Pool area can get loud with screaming kids 
  • Air-conditioning units make a lot of noise 
  • Only open from mid-April through mid-October 

Bottom Line

A small motel one block from the boardwalk, Dolphin Inn feels both cleaner and more modern than many of its neighbors. The motel, which features 1950s retro decor, is Doo Wop certified by Wildwood’s very own Doo Wop Preservation League. Rooms are well-kept and feature simple furnishings, brightly colored walls, and original 1950s tiled bathrooms. Some units are efficiencies with small kitchenettes. There’s a kidney shaped pool that tends to get crowded with kids, as well as a barbecue area with gas grills and outdoor dining tables. Free coffee is served in the lobby each morning, and the hotel offers free parking (one car per room) and Wi-Fi. Travelers looking to be closer to the boardwalk’s rides and water parks might prefer AA Heart of Wildwood Motels -- though it’s not Doo Wop certified. 

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Scene

A “Doo Wop certified” property with a family-friendly atmosphere 

Anyone familiar with Wildwood probably remembers the Dolphin Inn as the notorious Eden Roc, a property that was often lauded with titles like “Dirtiest Motel in America.” Since 2012, however, the motel has come under new ownership and has been revitalized and renamed the Dolphin Inn. Today, the Dolphin Inn still maintains a retro, '50s feel, but boasts clean rooms and a family-friendly atmosphere. The Dolphin Inn is a certified Doo Wop property, a distinction acknowledged by the Doo Wop Preservation League (yes, you read that correctly) -- a local Wildwood organization whose aim is to “promote awareness and appreciation of the popular culture and imagery of the 1950s and 1960s” through architectural preservation. 

Guests can’t miss the Dolphin Inn -- on the corner of Atlantic and Bennett Avenues  -- thanks to its hand-painted dolphin insignia and funky light-up sign. The “lobby” is really more of a small reception room, and features with more dolphin memorabilia, sea foam green walls, and a small seating area in the corner.

Location

On Atlantic Avenue, near the border of Wildwood Crest 

Located on the corner of Atlantic and Bennett Avenues, abutting the border of Wildwood and WIldwood Crest, the Dolphin Inn sports a prime location. It’s one block from the boardwalk and the beach, and seven-minute walk to the Wildwoods Convention Center. There are also plenty of restaurants, convenience stores, and ice cream parlors within walking distance. Morey’s Pier and Ranging Waters Water Park are within a 20-minute walk, which might be inconvenient for some, but keeps the motel quieter than those located closer to the action.  

Rooms

All are clean and some have kitchenettes 

A far cry from their Eden Roc days, rooms at the Dolphin Inn are spotlessly clean. There are several different rooms types here, the major distinction being whether or not rooms are equipped with a tiny kitchenette. Paneled walls are painted in a beachy shade of light blue, while ceilings sport a sandy tone above the white crown moldings. Beds have motel-quality coral comforters with gold tropical detailing, which is accented by the light colored furniture throughout the rest of the room. 

Rooms are equipped with flat -screen TVs and seating for two. If a room is an efficiency, it will feature a small kitchenette with an electric burner, full-size refrigerator, microwave, and coffeemaker, as well as pots, pans, utensils, cups, and plates. Standard rooms, without the kitchenette, have a closet instead. Bathrooms feature the building’s original watermelon-colored tiles from 1957, which have been reglazed and restored to their original luster. Bathrooms are tiny though, and some show signs of wear and tear such as cracked ceilings and rusted fixtures. Air-conditioning units in all of the rooms are quite loud -- which can be a nuisance or a blessing, as they tend to drown out the noise from the pool outside. All rooms are non-smoking, but guests are allowed to smoke in designated areas outside.      

Features

Pool, grilling area, limited free parking, and free Wi-Fi 

The U shape of the motel creates a natural spot for a courtyard in its center. Within the Dolphin Inn’s center courtyard are a small, kidney shaped pool, multiple plastic-slatted lounge chairs, a few picnic tables, and a barbecue area with two gas grills. The courtyard can get quite crowded during the day, and easily fills with the noises of screaming children, crying babies, and the useless hushing by parents. If you’re not up for a poolside soundtrack filled with “Mommy, Mommy, watch me do a handstand underwater,” then maybe the Dolphin Inn isn’t for you (though you’ll be hard pressed to find a motel in Wildwood that doesn’t sound similarly). Parking at the Dolphin Inn is tight, so each room is allotted one space in the lot. There’s also free Wi-Fi, and free coffee in the lobby each morning. It should be noted that the Dolphin Inn, like many Wildwood motels, is a seasonal property, so it’s only open from mid-April to mid-October.  

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Address

5201 Atlantic Ave, Wildwood, Jersey Shore 08260-4403, United States

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