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Overdue review...Stayed there in February of this year. It really is the staff (Tony!) and closeness of the guests (Timbone!) that really makes this place what it is. That's why we gave it 4 stars. The grounds, rooms and amenities are nothing to write home about so set your expectations in advance. The beach is decent but definitely want some water shows. Snorkeling is great but don't be out there when the tide starts to go out, lots of huge urchins. Food was average, nothing that sticks out particularly good or bad for me. It was our first time here and we will be back at some point. We made friends both locals and Canadians...really a great time! A couple tips...-Ask Tony to take you into his wife's restaurant in town, wonderful couple and the best lobster you will ever have!-There is another restaurant that served us our second favorite lobster during our stay. It's close to the resort, take the first right when coming out of the resort. I can't remember the name, something Marlin? Anyway, you'll see the sign when you're heading down the dirt road to the other beach.-Great pizza at the other beach, can't remember the name of the place unfortunately but you can't miss it.-Rent a couple scooters and go cruising! This spot is amazing to immerse yourself in local culture and scooters were a great way to get around for that. i.e. into town.-Free guided horse ride is a bonus and definitely worth it.Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
I am a regular traveller to Cuba, first starting my Cuba journey in the big hotels but falling in love with the Cuba, the people, the sense of safety and untouched beauty, seeing as much as I can while I am there and meeting Cubans is like a breath of fresh air. From staying in the Casa particulars to finding this gem. It is tranquil very Cuban, ideal for a break off the beaten track about 90 mins from Holguin. It is up and rising from bad past reviews and management, refurbishments of the beach based bungalows, plus more new wooden chalets. The staff are more than friendly, they are Cuban!!. We will return soon thanks to the management.
We enjoyed our stay at the Don Lino only because we were together and it was a break for us. It was a nice place to get away because of the sun. The people were friendly but if you like to swim at the beach this is not for you. You cannot go into the water without getting hurt by the massive rocks. The water is very rough. While this is a nice, quaint resort there are a few things we really disliked about the Don Lino. From the moment you arrive and order your first drink you are dazzled by the senior bartender's one time bar tricks and his comments about not missing any tips. Sure you can let that slide off your back and laugh until you realize he really means it and you're actually made to feel ashamed to go and order a drink if you don't have any money to tip. There are two bars, and we witnessed constant pushing for tips by the bartenders to the point where they ignored guests if they didn't hear the clink of pesos going into the tip jar, and sadly, they will let the other guests know you're cheap. One night we spoke to a lady and she pointed out everyone who were heavy drinkers, big eaters and cheapskates so be aware that the bartenders and waitresses will talk about you no matter what you do. These people need to understand not everyone can afford to tip every time they order a coffee or a drink from the bar. It really is very off-putting. Yes this place has some great deals but they shouldn't expect and shame everyone into tipping all of the time. The cups are about four ounces and we wouldn't dare bring huge bubba cups that a lot of people bring to these resorts. We feel it just isn't right and gives the appearance of being far too greedy. We're not heavy drinkers, and are fortunate to be able to tip at our discretion but we witnessed the bartenders ignoring guests when at the bar and serving others because some weren't tipping. One bartender even told a junior one not to serve a man the rum of his choice because he didn't tip them. That's awful! He paid for his trip so why treat him like he's undeserving of what he paid for. At meal times you are lucky to get a clean table as the waitresses will stand huddled together, chatting before they clear a table for you. They will see you but just don't care to clean a table and you will have to get up and collect your own water and practically beg one of them for a glass of wine before they come over. The other thing is, everyone has a "friend" that will take you into Holguin City. Please just know the bartenders push drinks one day and have a car service for hire the next and they will charm you and make it appear they're doing you a favour. We paid 40 CUC's to go into Holguin. They know everyone wants to go to Holguin City but there's nothing there to see but a few stores and buildings and the Hill of the Cross. If you go with one of these "friends" they will take you to a souvenir market and they will walk in front of you and as soon as they walk in they'll wave their hand in the air and scream out, "is this the kind of store you're looking for?" to alert all the vendors that you're a tourist. Other things we experienced are the waitresses, bartenders, maids all will tell you they have a very ill parent so if you wear your heart on your sleeve be mindful not to get drawn into this talk. If you venture out to the beautiful Playa Blanca beach it's a half hour leisurely walk and there are signs to get you there and the locals are helpful and don't expect anything, but are ever so grateful if you give them something. One of the horse and buggies will take you there and back for 6 CUC. We preferred walking because we met so many nice people along the way. Also be aware there's a cigar black market in Cuba and everyone at the resort can get you Montecristo's cheap. They're not authentic so don't fall for it. If you plan to bring gifts go for a walk and hand them out to the locals and not the bartenders, maids and waitresses. They don't need them, but the locals do. The man who took us to Holguin ran a bunch of errands along the way which included picking up and delivering eggs, milk and picking up and delivering a bicycle for one of the senior waitresses, all on our fare. We didn't get into the city for two hours because of all the paid errands and favours he did for other people. This waitress lived in a luxurious detached house by Cuban standards. The last day we were there she told us her employment was terminated from the Don Lino and that it was her last day and she didn't know what she was going to do. These are all tricks to get you to give them money and they don't feel ashamed if you were to return and see them there. Regarding excursions. You have to pay for the price of the excursion plus you have to find your own way into Holguin City because the buses won't come to the Don Lino because it's about a half hour drive into Holguin. So you have to pay for your excursion plus 40 or so CUC's to get to a hotel in Holguin City where the bus will pick you up and the reps won't tell you that until you've paid for your excursion. Taxi drivers know after a long day of sight seeing you want to get to your hotel so they will charge you a lot to come back to the Don Lino. What's even more shocking is what happens behind the scenes. Locals drive up and fill their vehicles with boxes of food, fruits and alcohol for their own use, leaving guests with hardly any food at meal times. If you want the sun and plan on not going into the city or going on excursions this place is okay if you can get around the shaming to hand out money all the time, but if you want to see Holguin City pay the extra money and stay at one of the other resorts. There's a market for souvenirs and food items right across the street from these resorts.
simple accommodations,basic food,friendly staff,cozy resort on the sea,spent our days outside looking at the view,reading,napping,close to a friendly village...had a lovely relaxing week!don't bother paying for the fancier dinner it wasn't...overall great stay!
This is no 5 stars hotel. But then again it's not supposed to be. I spent a week there and will go back for sure. I like to hear the surf when I go to be and that's what I got. I even saw a whale blow right from my porch. (Yeah it was too far to see the actual whale)I could get out of my room, walk less that 100 feet and get in the water for a bit of scuba diving. I was in one of the very old original rooms.The room was clean and most of the stuff worked. Did not try the TV.The food choice was somewhat limited but always fresh ands tasty. Can't be fresher that piglet and chicken running around on the lawn all day. Sure they run out of ice every now and then. But hey! Chill out.. Even James Bond can't always have his martini ready for him.Entertainment is sort of ad lib but original and local.
Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).
If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.
Items not included:
- Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
- Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
- Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- 3 Meals daily plus snacks
- All drinks (domestic beer & cocktails)
- Daily activities
- Nightly entertainment
- Tennis courts
- 36 cabana style bungalows
- 1 Buffet Restaurant
- 1 Snack bar
- 2 Bars
- 1 Pool (with children's area)
- Games room
- Tennis courts
- Sport area for playing baseball and beach volleyball
- Horseback riding (fee)
- Bicycles (fee)
- 2 Twin beds
- Satellite TV
- Safety deposit box (fee)
- Bathroom with shower only
- Max occupants 3 (no more than 2 adults)
Resort Location Map
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Playa Blanca, Rafael Freyre, Rafael Freyre Cuba
Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.
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Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.
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