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“Looking for a quiet , no frills vacation? This place was a good choice.”

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Islazul Villa Don Lino
Ranked #4 of 4 Hotels in Rafael Freyre
Duncan, Canada
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Looking for a quiet , no frills vacation? This place was a good choice.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2014

We needed a quiet 2 weeks, this place fit the bill. Although the weather was not very good , we had time to read and talk, to meet other vacationers and meet with staff. The pool is small , the entertainment was good when the weather permitted. The rooms were adequate. The food was fair, often cold and often dishes were empty , but if you asked they usually would replace fairly quickly. There was an Ala Carte in a covered area with sand floor a short distance from the dining room. They offered special seafood , but you have to order in the morning. The Sunwing representative , Fernando, was a great resource , and has a
Sunwing book and a pamphlet that gives great information on the trips they offer. We had rodents in our chalet, and had to get Fernandos help to change rooms. The hotel staff were not helpful with this request, Seems many of the chalets had rodent presence. The windows in room were blurry with smoke residue and tiles in bathroom needed a good clean up , the maids were friendly though, changing towels and linens regularly. The safe worked in both our rooms, some doors are affected by humidity, the best is to check the rooms before unpacking. Previous reviews have been very informative, no need to repeat. I would return to this resort.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank szszszszsz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (168)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Russian first
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English first
Kingston Ontario
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2014

It's a great place to go if you're on your own. It's small and so it doesn't take long for you to meet everyone. It's a two star resort (no al a cartes, no bank, no catamaran rides) but it has much to offer. We went horseback riding every day. The resort band is Wonderful and they are there every evening. If you're with kids, I warn you that some of the other shows were a bit risqué for my daughter and not very interesting for me. I had to get her out of there and I didn't mind missing the rest of the show. Don Lino is walking distance a small town (Playa Blanca) that includes a lovely sand beach and a fishing village if you keep walking. There is a house in Playa Blanca with a sign "Pescado Frito" and you'll likely see it when you take a horseback ride. If you ask, he'll serve you a delicious meal of fish, shrimp, rice and beans and beer. There were four of us, we were stuffed and it cost less than $30. Most of the staff are great. Some of the desk staff were a bit chippy and could have been more helpful but we didn't have to deal with them much so it wasn't a big deal. Change some money before you get there or you may find yourself without CUCs.

Don Lino is short drive to Rafael Freyre. A great place to walk around. The people are very nice. There's a restaurant there called Tulipan which I recommend.

Andn last of all, while at Don Lino, get Reuben at the coffee bar to make you a pina colada. Best anywhere.

Room Tip: Try to get one of the concrete cottages rather than a room in the two-story buildings they call the...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank sikitula
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg Mb.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2014

We travelled to Don Lino Jan. 6th to 13th 2014. It was a very last minute decision due to the horrible winter we were enduring. Being a 2 1/2 star in Cuba , I had not set my expectations very high .We were very surprised and very happy with this resort .It is quite small and intimate and quiet, not a party place at all so not good for the younger set . There were quite a few single travellers when we were there , but they managed to mingle very well due to the size of the resort..Our room was very basic but had everything we needed including a comfortable bed . Having said that , take a hair dryer with you if you need one , not all rooms have one .The food is very Cuban and average, however , the meat dishes were always very good , tender and tasty. A lot of cabbage , but also fresh greens for salad, fresh fruit, usually papaya, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. They always do their best with what they have !! The beach is a little small , and very rocky , shoes are a must !! The beach though is beautiful and very quiet and there was always a lounge chair available . Most of the rooms on this resort have an ocean view , there are a few that don't, but most do and it is a lovely view. The rooms are mainly bungalows, and some are right on the beach, but those are the older ones without a hair dryer or fridge , but a lot of the travellers preferred those rooms to the new ones . The new rooms are 2 story wooden cottage type houses with 2 rooms up and 2 rooms down. They have a balcony and some have an ocean view, but not all. There is a horse stable on the property and horse back riding is free . The horses are very well cared for and very docile. They are not highly spirited and are very safe to ride . The ride is about an hour long and is very worthwhile , I strongly recommend it. We took the horse and buggy into town and it was nice to see the Cuban residential areas and countryside. All In all, I would definitely return here for another stay. The staff are very friendly, the resort is always very clean and the grounds are very well kept .We had a very positive stay here and were very satisfied with every aspect of our trip . Do not go to this resort expecting 5 star food . It is Cuba and it is a 2 1/2 star. That is what you are paying for !! If you expect 2 1/2 star food , you will be very happy with this resort !! We loved it and we will be back !!!!!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 3 and had a lovely view right outside our door. It is one of the older bungalows a...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
16 Thank redredwine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2014

Before I go any further I want to remind you this is a 2 to 3 star resort. If you want all the amenities, go somewhere else, if you want a quiet place to chill and relax, this is the place to go. This resort is like renting a cottage. I don't recommend this resort for kids, there's not really much for them to do. We were there over New Years and had an awesome time.

Everyone on the resort is friendly, especially the bar tenders. Angel was an angel, gave me a kiss on both cheeks, lol. Ruben, Jesus, and Roberto were a lot of fun too.

Because this resort is remote, you can't always get money changed, take lots of $5's, that way you can still tip the staff, they can convert it to pesos. Ruben and the life guard will exchange money for you as well.

The shore is very rocky, so make sure you have water shoes. Do NOT swim at low tide, the water is very shallow, and there are lots of sea urchins. We did some snorkeling, the left side of the bay is the best. At first you won't see many fish, but if you are patient there are lots.

Unfortunately there aren't a lot of lounge chairs on the beach. It is very annoying that people will rush to the beach first thing in the morning, put their towels on the chairs to reserve them, and then they don't use them. I think this is my only real complaint about the resort.

Do not leave anything on the beach at night, it won't be there the next day.

We didn't see many of the shows in the evening, but the 2 we saw were great. On New Year's Eve we watched a water ballet, absolutely amazing. The other show was a dance re-enacting the Spanish concurring Cuba. We got our faces painted, and were pulled up to dance with the troupe. So much fun. It's a quiet place, not much for young people, we are both in our 50's so it was perfect for us.

It's very safe to leave the resort and wander, we took a walk over to Playa Blanca. It has a nice sandy beach, and the water is much calmer than the water at the resort. Every one we passed said Hola, and wished us a happy new year.

Ruben the bar tender has a taxi service, we used it to go into Santa Lucia. Our driver was Yuniel. He gave us a bit of a tour, then left us for a bit so we could wander around town. This is not a tourist town, other than the bank, and a couple restaurants, there's nothing else for tourists to do. Before heading back to the resort we stopped at el Tulipan and had dinner. My boyfriend ordered the lobster tail, it was 15 pesos, and filled the plate! I had a plate of shrimp. We had far more food than we could eat, I definitely recommend this as an outing.

Everyone told us the food in Cuba wasn't great, we don't agree. At lunch one day I had stuffed calamari! There is a station where you can get your eggs in the morning however you want them, and great omelets. The only thing I wasn't able to get was a decent cup of tea, we tried, but I was never able to get hot enough water. There is a grill at the bar, the only thing we had there were the fries, they were very good.

If you want a drink with ice, go to the lobby bar, the other one it's hit and miss. The lobby bar also has a coffee machine to make espresso, very good.

Our room was in one of the bungalows, if we were to go back I would pick one of the rooms on the beach. The bungalow is a little dark, and the outside sitting area very small. But all the rooms are clean. When they clean your room, they shape your towels into hearts etc, very cute!

I highly recommend both the resort and Cuba. The weather was great, hot and sunny, the people are friendly, and it is so clean there. It didn't matter where we went, everything is clean, no garbage, etc.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Lester_B23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2014

We are a senior couple and this was our second trip to Don Lino. We went Dec 3 to Dec 14. First the weather was perfect only rained at night and nice and hot through the day. We stayed the first time in the two storey wooden buildings and this time we wanted a stone room across from the pool and loved it. We could see the improvements that have been made since March and they continue to improve.

The food is just as good as any 4 star in Cuba as we have been going to Cuba for over 8 years and still resort is our favourite. If you want wild night life don't come here as it is a very quite resort and the entertainment is over by 11pm even through the bar is open 24 hours.

The resort is small but the staff get to know you and what you like, we made friends in March and we were invited to visit their homes and to see how they live which was a big shock. We also made friends with other Canadians in March and they were also back in Dec. We are hoping to get back for a week in March. Some of the Canadians go for a month or two and they do this two or three times a year.

you can go off the resort with no problems the locals are very friendly and will help anyway they can. You can get a buggy ride or go by taxi. There is no money exchange on the resort so change your money at the airport or you can get a buggy ride to the bank in town, or ask any of the bartenders and they will steer you to someone that will be able to change it for you. The Manager Julio is very nice and will help you in any way possible. Adrian is the food manager and is doing a fantastic job with the selection of food if you have any problems please go and see him in fact you will see him all the time coming and going at the restaurant. You can go bike riding and horse back riding for free and the horses are beautiful.

The entire staff are fantastic and I would not change any of them it is so nice to see so many smiles first thing in the morning including the gardeners and the men that are working on construction.

I can not wait for March to come wish we could go for longer. Remember you are in Cuba at a 2 star which in our mind is at least a 4 star.

Room Tip: We had number 8 across from the pool and loved it.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank Pauline583
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stratford, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 6, 2014

We enjoyed our stay very much. We were given and oceanview room,that was'nt acceptable. They switched our room, without any problems to an upper bungalow room, which we were very happy with. There was always lounge chairs around the pool. The food was'nt great, but there was always something we found to eat. The omelets, pasta cooked in front of you was very good.French fries and grilled cheese sandwiches,and pizza at the snack bar were good. good ice cream.
It was wonderful going on a bike ride and discovering the locals, they are so friendly. We enjoyed giving them clothes and markers, crayons etc. The area was neat to explore. We also went horseback riding, included.
The best part of the hotel was not waiting in lines for anything. Yes, we often poured our own coffee and went looking for forks, napkins etc. not a problem for us.
All in all a great resort for the price we paid over New Years.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Connie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berwick, Nova Scotia, Canada
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 5, 2014

This resort is really trying to improve and it shows. I arrived mid=November for a glorious month at Don Lino. This was a different time of year for me this time and there were very few Canadians on the resort in November so we got treated like royalty but then we always do. Tourists need to understand the effort that goes into every little thing to make our holiday a good experience. Nothing is easy in Cuba. We loved seeing our Cuban friends on and off the resort. More tourists arrived in December including my husband who joined me for the last two weeks. There was a group of us return family (7-8 of us in total) with most of us planning on reuniting in March again. The art work was the first thing I noticed and the EMO notices in each room. Also during our stay phone contact info cards and DO NOT DISTURB cards for on door knobs were left in each room with the standard environment awareness info for towels/linens which is pretty standard in Canada/USA. So they are really trying.

This is the best place to go for rest and relaxation. If it a night life you want with loud music go elsewhere. Remember this is a small quiet RURAL resort. Don't be afraid to go into the community the ppl there are just as friendly and helpful as the employees on the resort. Great snorkeling beach with a great white sand public beach 1 km away and a small one next door at the old Don Lino site.

The Manager is really trying to provide for all his guests. His name is Julio (hope I spelled that correctly) and is very nice and approachable so if you have a compliment or a problem go directly to him and if he is not there see Adrian. If it can be fixed or found they will do it.

Adrian, the food only gets better and better each time and your efforts do not go unnoticed by us. What you manage to do with each meal is nothing short of miraculous. Your presentation of the food really shows. Your entire staff from cooks, kitchen help to wait staff are a great bunch and we love you all. I have never been hungry and have always found enough great food to eat. Yes the food in more basic but it is fresh everyday. Thank you for all you do for us!!!

The entertainment is going thru a transition as the resort is trying to provide a variety to satisfy all ages, Canadian and Cuban alike. The band Ilusion is the best as I love the traditional Cuban music. The water ballet on Friday night is fantastic and the family dance troupe once or twice a week is really trying hard to provide a great show. If you are going and have any dance costumes, shoes or instructional media they can use any help you can give. They are trying to feed their families and like all other acts, play for tips so be generous. They also have tried to provide Karaoke and a few other bands, etc. Hard to please everyone all the time.

It is hard to know what is going to happen sometimes are there is not a posted schedule but they are working on that as well. Nearlet (pinkie) and Yury will go out of their way to make your trip enjoyable. If you need bikes or horses just ask them. Remember they only have a limited number until head office decides they need more.

Some of our best times were Spanish lessons at 2 pm in the main lobby. Pinkie is a great teacher. What makes it more fun is she is trying to improve her english as well. I have learned I have to be very careful of my pronunciation of certain words!!

We took some ball gear down and left it for future use and I believe they will have a game on Saturday morning for those who are interested. It was alot of fun and the Cubans take their ball very seriously so be prepared. We left soft balls as well but they can always use more. We will bring more gloves, balls and bats next time as well. Make sure you let Felix, the Hola Sun (wing LOL) rep know as he LOVES ball. Are you still sleeping with your new hard ball Felix? He also is great at his job and will be there almost everyday during high season to help you plan any outing you might want at reasonable prices.

We also plan on bringing board games, Bicycle playing cards and whatever other games we can to leave there. These things are hard to get in Cuba especially at smaller resorts such as this.

IF you bring something you would like to leave for the resort and not for an individual see Anita, the public relations personnel. She will make sure it goes where it should. She is a lovely lady who was a great help to us. If you need anything you can always ask her.

We stayed in Room 14 this time and it was great. Close to the restaurant, bar and pool but behind the stage enough that we were not bothered by any noise there besides all is quiet after 11 pm regardless.

CAN'T WAIT TO GO AGAIN,,,,,,SOON

Room Tip: I think all the rooms offer a view of the beach with the exception of those directly across from the...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Laura A
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
Location: 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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