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“Windy place...................... Cuban people are so friendly........................”

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Islazul Villa Don Lino
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Rafael Freyre
Hamilton, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Windy place...................... Cuban people are so friendly........................”
Reviewed 26 March 2012

We were in Cuba this January that passed and had a great time my hubby came home from work and told me that his company was shutting down for a week due to the weather and for me to book a trip, again I picked Cuba [ Feb,26th-March 4th 2012 ] I picked DON LINO this time not knowing what to expect. This resort is small but really nice and clean with friendy staff that will help in anyway, we were given one of the older bungalows near the beach very small and very windy,we asked to be moved to the new bungalows and was well worth it.The new bungalows have small wooden balconys it reminded me of a two story cottage it has a fridge,deep bathtub with shower our Canadian hair dryers plug into the tv outlet, we had a flat screen tv and everything is solar powered so you always have hot water. There is horse back riding that is included we rode down the street to a beautiful beach we did give a tip after the ride you must see someone near the pool and book your time, also free bikes to ride .We grabbed a cab to a little town and changed our money at the bank not much to see but the people are so friendly.The food in the resort restaurant is the same every day not bad but could be better by the way Barbara is awesome, the snack bar is only open till 400pm one can get fish,frys and sandwhiches and the odd time you can enjoy a pizza. The lobby bar closes at 930pm the bar is closed at 10pm after that everything is quiet if your looking for a party this place is not for you, thanks to all the people we met on this trip expecally the ones from Nova Scotia.We love cuba but wont be back to this resort sad to say but even at this resort young Cuban prostitutes shouldnt be allowed, if you book with Cubana airlines just remember that the plane cannot fly into the United states and it takes an extra hour because they must fly around the east coast side the food is not the greatest either ,if you need to know anything please feel free to ask.

Room Tip: We were given a old villa near the ocean very small and very windy,we asked to be changed into the n...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank suuezyq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (169)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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  • French first
  • German first
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  • Russian first
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English first
lachine
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 March 2012

I didnt know what to expect going there... but i was not disapointed. My cuban husband and I wanted a quiet place and we did get this. Food is the only thing i can complain about , was not bad but not much variety, lunch we mostly had fired fish and pizza at the bar. The staff was so nice not expecting tips. The room is the best ive seen in cuba... brand new better than the 4 stars hotel ive been ( blau costa verde and Sirenis playa turquesa) always chairs available on the beach. Entertainment was the same every night , same group, however we did have a beach party that was fun and we went with the staff to the beach party at guardalavaca ( lots of fun) horse backriding was great and free! snorkeling was good. I would not hesitate to return, however bring some games if you are travelling with young kids and make sure to bring snacks as well.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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5 Thank Annie34Lachine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 March 2012

I stayed at the Don lino mach 8-16 2012 with my kids 7yrs, 17yrs. We had a good time as the weather was great and the beach is beautiful. Staff were pleasent and helpful, rooms were clean and pleasently furnished. There was no safe in my room which was a little annoying.
I have only 2 complaints, the food was bad! Boring and had little flavour! The only vegtables I saw for a week were cucumbers and tomatoes. The coffee was great though!
There is also no internet connection so if you are bringing a teenager with you,beware!
I would visit this resort again just to enjoy the quiet, calm relaxing enviroment. This is not the place to go for partying all night if thats what you want.

Room Tip: Choose the older rooms as they have a front yard/patio. The newer units have less privacy and small...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sue M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
scarborough
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 March 2012

Had a wonderful week march 4th to 11th. A very small, but very comfortable resort.
Has everything we needed. I wanted to praise the manager, but he was off due to sickness.
The assistance manager Adrian was great, a very cool guy who to took good care of me.
Yes, I will return again for some Rest and Relaxation.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank bingee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nova Scotia Canada
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2012

Just got back Mar 13 2012,and again hated to leave, again we stayed 2 weeks and wish we could stay longer. The upgrades and changes are really taking shape, food was better then last yr,with some fruit and a few veggies but still a little boring after 2 weeks, BUT we never left hungry . BUT hay were there for the sun and relaxation,the rooms are still clean and tidy, the staff helpful and friendly, AND they dont forget you.. place still closes down at 10 pm , which is fine by us as were ready for bed before that anyways, Those that are looking for a all night party or a 5* , then look some wheres else, as this is not a 5 * YET , but the way there updating it wont be long, only thing they , will hopefully get internet for us that still need a little computer life, and more foods to accompany all the extra guests they will soon be able to handle.Horse back riding is still on site, not as many little animals roaming around , BUT they sure are cute when they are. If all goes well we will go again next yr, and take a couple of our kids and there families with us, as we sure missed are grandbabies

Room Tip: All the rooms , even the new ones have paper thin walls, so you hear everything, the older rooms hav...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank Vickie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2012

If you're just looking for a low key place to get some sun and feel completely comfortable, this is the place. The staff are great, and yes, I suppose it made a difference that I had one of the best rooms, right on the beach. As a solo traveller, I was happy just to relax with a book, but if I was looking to meet people or party, somewhere else would be better. There was no disco and the other guests were mostly older (even elderly) couples.
The horseback rides are scenic and 1.5 hours long- really nice. You can buy excursions to leave the property. They gave a katamaran excursion for free and I would skip that- was told it was 1.5 hours, but was 5 hours, most the time spent on the bus picking up people from other hotels.
The food wasn't great but also, never BAD. I never put anything in my mouth and thought "oh GOD!" It just wasn't very creative or varied but hit the spot.
The only disappointment was that it was quite windy on the beach most days. Poolside it was calmer, but the (sometimes) blaring latino music made for a distraction too. There's another beach 1km away that you can go to, but I'd recommend going with someone, not alone. Anyways, I found a couple quieter spots on the property once I got to know it better.
I'd heartily recommend this place to a friend who wasn't a fancy type.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank VacayAmy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
31 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 March 2012

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.

Room Tip: Ask nicely at the front desk for any options that may be available. Remember to ask nicely.
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
9 Thank ElToroLoco75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Islazul Villa Don Lino

Property: Islazul Villa Don Lino
Address: Playa Blanca, Rafael Freyre, Rafael Freyre, Cuba
Region: Caribbean > Cuba > Holguin Province > Rafael Freyre
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Rafael Freyre
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Islazul Villa Don Lino 3*
Number of rooms: 36
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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

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