From February 14th to 28th I had the pleasure of being booked at the Villa Islazul Don Lino, in Playa Blanca, Rafael Freyre, Cuba.
I've been in the Holguin province a fair amount of times before, and stayed at the Luna/Mares, which I also loved. This time I chose the Don Lino due to the affordable cost, and because it was quite small and easier to manuever. I also planned to travel alot so I needed an affordable option as a base camp.
The experience I had at Don Lino was amazing.
The drive from the airport is not overly long, the check in was quick and easy. I was set up in my room before I knew it and able to get cleaned up and check out the property....this will not take long, lol.
On the plus side for this resort -
The staff - are absolutely fantastic overall. The overall majority were very happy, friendly, attentive and just good people. The one or two individuals I encountered who were not, you will encounter anywhere, just in greater numbers.
The food - Once again, I found the food very good at Don Lino, similar to other lower rated Cuban resorts. The selection is not overly large, though what was offered was fresh, tasted good, and prepared well. Alot of food with nutrtion, so I saw many tourists confused as to what to do with it.
Location - If you are looking for a place away from the usual mega resorts, and near more authentic Cuba, then this is a great option. Quiet (when I am not there), peaceful and great for a easy going individual. The atmosphere is enough to get someone to release some stress and appreciate life.
Now - time to note a few of the important points, to me anyway, which can help one decide if Don Lino is for them,
The Beach - the beach here is small, rocky at points, and there are sharp shells and corral in many places. Water shoes are a must, However, there is good snorkelling, and one day I saw thousands of fish.
The Bars - I really liked both bars at Don Lino. I really did not like that they close around 10-11pm. I understand why they do, as they cater to a majority of older clients. My solution was to buy liquor for the evening, and try and find a spot to have a mini party where I did not disturb other guests. Well, I always seemed to disturb other guests, though still had some great mini-partys. I also went into the local towns at night often and let loose there in the evening.
Currency Exchange - Due to restrictions beyond the staff's control, getting money exchanged can be difficult at Don Lino. Also remember, bills with tears or writing on them are often not accepted. It is not the staff's fault, it is a rule they have to follow. I recommend going to a bank in the local towns through the day if you cannot get your cash there.
Tourists - In a small resort, you will get to see and make an impression of your fellow guests in a relatively short time. Most of the guests at Don Lino seemed like good, solid people. Out to have a quiet, relaxing holiday. This is one reason I left the resort often and cut loose elsewhere. However, also remember this. Cost effective, out of the way places such as this also attract another type of tourist. One who perhaps isn't there for the typical reason most people are. I did not see a huge amount of sucio hombre's here, though I did see a couple that I have run into in other provinces. Often, if you see two men travelling together, and they look awkward and out of place, take notice. After watching for a period, you may be able to determine what they are there for. Some are just everyday people who are ok. Others are not.
Fridges - I like to drink, and I like cold drinks. The Don Lino from what I saw of rooms is absent of fridges, so bring a cooler bag and ask for ice. Or drink lots of red wine.
I liked the Don Lino to the degree that I am heading back today. The overall package is just what I have been looking for, and for many others, I think it will be the same.
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- Also Known As:
- Villa Islazul Don Lino Hotel Rafael Freyre
- Hotel Islazul Don Lino
- Islazul Don Lino Hotel
- Islazul Villa Don Lino Holguin Province, Cuba