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This was my 4th trip to Don Lino, and 23rd trip to Cuba. However, I had not been to this resort in 6 ½ years, so there were a lot of changes – mostly for the better. I stopped going here in 2010 when they were building the first new wooden Chalets, because I liked the small quaintness of the resort at 36 rooms, not 100+ that it was increasing to. Not to mention ,as I kept reading in subsequent reviews, it took them 6 years to increase the facilities to accommodate the increase in guests – new Buffet Dining Room facility, where there were enough seats , plates, cutlery so that people were able to eat , and not continually complain about lack of these things – kudos to DL for finally doing this !On that note, I was always satisfied with the food in the past, the freshness, taste, traditional Cuban style, and sufficient variety expected at a 2.5 star – no complaints from me. But now, I found it even more delicious, fresh, plentiful, well presented, and yet still served up with the same Cuban warmth and hospitality by the Dining Room staff (most of whom were there 7 years ago). I do miss the open air of the old Buffet, as I am not in Cuba for Air-conditioning, and it is too bad they have nailed all the windows shut in the new facility. But it is what it is, and I am not a complainer... it is comfortable, bright, clean and, most importantly - sufficiently larger. I also must say that I read a few previous reviews from this year, and I honestly cannot understand the issues some people have with the food- yes, I saw the oxtails, beef tongue, or liver on the buffet, same rices, pastas daily, and chicken hash- but guess what, if you don’t like those foods, don’t eat them, simple –why complain? Besides those traditional variety meat dishes, there was ALWAYS at least 2 other choices of grilled chicken, pork, or fish. I had roast turkey, roast chicken, grilled chicken & pork tenderloin, fish, tender beef, fresh boiled potatoes daily, Brussels’ sprouts, mixed veg , and many other tasty cold & hot dishes most days , not to mention fresh fruit & veg, delicious desserts available at every meal- it is unbelievable to listen to these unwarranted complaints about food – Cuba is not Paris, please realize this, people!Someone else was kvetching in a review about the Lobby being disgusting and all ripped up when they arrived. Oh dear, how inconvenient for you! It was ripped up section by section, each day while I was there, and before the end of the week, it was finished & looking great, with brand new non slip tiles! Come on people- they are just making improvements for the guests!! The day before I left they had moved the Lobby Bar across the grass, to where the old Beach Bar was – to now reno the Lobby Bar – great idea! But again there were grumbles from the naysayers that week, too....Some other new changes for the good were the newly Reno’d Beach Bar, the games room, the A La Carte Restaurant, nightly entertainment, 24 hour Bar, Towel Center & massages - all the flora, foliage, shrubs and trees have grown and are more beautiful , well groomed, and healthier than ever. Most of the staff are the same as when I first started going there, and even though I had not been in that many years, they all still remembered me, and greeted me with warm smiles, great big hugs and besitos on both cheeks- this was a great feeling of comfort and security – it’s why Cuba always feels like my second home – the wonderful lovely people!My room was across from the pool, and had the same quaint charm as always, as well as being clean, comfortable for sleep, quiet , & air conditioned. It was nice to now have the option of seeing a nightly show, or going for a late drink at the Bar, if one chose ( No nightly shows in the past & Bar closed at 10pm). I enjoyed a delicious dinner for repeat guests at the new a la Carte restaurant, a 5 course meal featuring tender chicken breast. The others at my table had lobster, and beef tenderloin, also delish. All was served efficiently, in a friendly manner, with great care to detail – well done DL ! As for someone’s review comments on Cuban guests being loud & leaving garbage, there were several large groups of Cuba families there during my week. Firstly, they are paying guests and have as much right to be there as you! They had fun like the rest of us, maybe they are loud, but guess what – they are Cuban – just a passionate people! And as for garbage left behind, I saw none of that. However, I always take my empty cups, glasses, trash to the Bar when done, just the right thing to do – and it disgusts me at how many other non- Cuban tourists just leave a huge mess on their tables, and do not clean up after themselves ! Just sayin – check your own back yard before you criticize others.Having touched on the good stuff- I do have several Cons to point out:1. On Cuban Day, they had Cock Fighting - I realize it is a Cuban tradition, thus it is part of the celebrations, but I am one of those who do not believe in cruelty to animals. I know they had them protected from hurting each other, but it’s the principal of the matter. Unfortunately, there were some of us who did not attend the Cuban Day meal or celebrations, but that was our choice. Perhaps they could omit this part of the celebrations in future ... just a suggestion - not the end of the world if they don’t. 2. The other thing, which again could not be helped, was construction in the bathrooms at the Beach Bar, which are the closest to A la Carte Restaurant. I had to use the bathroom the night I was in the a la Carte, and was led by Kitchen staff, through a muddy puddle path (was raining) in the dark, to a bathroom behind the kitchen, without a door, & no lights. Ok, I can deal with all that – it’s Cuba after all – but there was not even running water in the taps to wash hands!!! When I questioned the kitchen staff, they just said sorry. Ok if this is the bathroom for kitchen staff – I truly hope they are washing their hands when back in the kitchen!! Again, for me, it’s just one of those hygienic things that some of us try to ignore, as it’s Cuba - but it does bear mentioning, as there are folks who would be extremely alarmed by this, so it really should be addressed!After a most relaxing and enjoyable week at Don Lino, I have to say Gracias de mi Corazon, to all the wonderful hard working staff at Don Lino ( too many names to mention), but especially Adrian , who has made a lot of differences in improving the resort, and for being so approachable and easy to talk to, not just to the guests , but also the staff - it really makes a difference ! After 6 ½ years absence, I will not stay away so long again, and can’t wait to return for my next relaxing week and see what new improvements await. Cuidate mucho, a mi gentes de Don Lino !
My wife and I travelled in January 2017 for our honeymoon. Flight with Transat was good as was transfer to hotel. When arrived at the hotel we were told there would be a delay on checking in as rooms were not yet ready, but I soon as I said we were there on our honeymoon, we were checked in immediately to a wonderful room (1050) in one of the wooden four plexes with a great view of the ocean and beach only 200ft away. Our first thought as that our one week stay was going to be an amazing trip.This was my sixth trip to Cuba and my wife's third, so we knew what to expect going in, but previous trips did not prepare us for the following regarding the food. We read lots of reviews and went in with a very open mind....the people that write reviews and say the food has improved greatly...We can't imagine what it must have been like before!!! Our first day buffet lunch and dinner were good, but it went down hill quickly after that. my wife and I are by no means picky eaters, but when you're served liver 4 times, ox tails 3 times, sliced beef tongue 3 times, a grey mystery meat and what was called chicken hash (looked like watered down sloppy joes) was served twice a day all week. The hot buffet selection was very limited and no bigger than a standard office desk. Same two selections of rice were served at lunch and dinner (hard and crunchy by dinner time), same as the cold pasta and watered down tomato sauce. Lots of deep fried items on the buffet for all three meals. The only great meal of the day was breakfast which had omelettes or fried eggs cooked to order, bacon, toast and fresh fruit and juice. the preboiled eggs were very under cooked. The buffet was supposed to be open till 10am, but many mornings we noticed they closed early, turning people away so the staff could make sure they had enough to eat as it appeared they got to have what was left over on the buffet. The young ladies who were supposed to be waiting on tables were more concerned about their hair and well done nails than the customers.....we had to go and find someone ask for coffee in the morning and beverages at the other meals...even if you tipped at previous meals, it made no difference in the service by the young ladies. The only good service was the last couple of days, we had a young man who was very attentive and would make sure we always had beverages etc, he would even come see us in the buffet line to see what we wanted if he didn't catch us when we sat down....the young ladies could and should take a lesson from him !! needless to say we lived off a hardy breakfast in the morning and something from the snack bar late in the afternoon......this was until I discovered that they brought the days supply of meat out to the snack bar in the morning and it stayed out there all day unrefrigerated until it closed before dinner. The snack bar was not open 24 hrs only between breakfast and lunch, then lunch and dinner. It got the point were we were flying out on a wed morning, the last meal we had was Tuesday breakfast, I felt nauseated and didn't eat again till wed night after we returned home and my wife only ate pudding and bread after tues morning. In fact it was weeks before my appetite returned to normal. The white sand of the beach was nice and the beach itself was relatively empty everyday, which made for nice quiet relaxing times, even with water shoes it was very hard to enjoy the ocean because of the coral and rocky bottom, we only when in the ocean once. The elderly gentleman cleaning the beach of seaweed etc every morning was the nicest and hardest working employee I meet....always a smile a wave and a friendly hello The pools was nice, but small. Always lots of people around, which made you feel like everyone was watching you when you went in the pool itself. There were two lifeguards who alternated days. The taller life guard seemed more interested in finding people who speak English so he could offer to sell them special Cuban honey, rum or cigars lol. Most of the guests were seniors and or repeat guests and gave the impression that they were better than any new guests and that this was their resort and they were entitled to be first in line, served first etc. The locals came to the resort on the weekend and took over the pool with their loud music and lack of respect/courtesy for other guests and leaving their garbage everywhere Prostitution seemed to be a popular thing at this resort. We counted around the pool alone one day five younger Cuban girls with five much older men, they all had all inclusive bracelets on and seemed to be staying with the men at the resort, but I saw when the men were boarding the bus to leave, the girls were boarding a local taxi for homeThe bar staff was great and never worried about a tip, always greeted you with a smile and mucho rumThe little store hours were very hit and miss. It didn't stock much but hand crèmes, soap, rum, toiletries and cigars. Very few souvenirs and no snacks, candy etc. and this is the only resort that has every made guests pay for drinking waterWould definitely recommend going for a horse and buggy ride, was a highlight of our trip If you are considering coming here....I suggest that you strongly reconsider and go somewhere else...........you wont regret your decision
We were at don Lino for two weeks when we arrived I was shocked at the place I wasn't expecting five star but this scared me at first the entrance going into don Lino was very rough looking when we arrived at check in I couldn't believe my eyes everything was all torn up I thought my god where were we at lol but to my amazement they were laying tiles at the new bar and front desk . We were given a room in one of the bungalows top floor first day there my husband pulled his back in bed for two days the balcony had a wasp nest just outside door the shower was in tub which was hard to get in and out then next day the shower wasn't spraying no water so we went to the front desk asked for a room change within in twenty minutes we were in one of the rooms across from the pool !, which was great the rooms before was very dark but the new one was so bright and cheerie the rest of the time went great !! The staff were great we met a lot of nice people the beach was beautiful very hard for me to get into but we found a way in finally that was sandy at the far right but I needed help in and out not many people in the water there but we were in every day lol the beach at playa Blanca was beautiful but there is no lounge chairs there it is a public beach but I think if there were chairs there people would enjoy it more .the food was good always something to eat cooks were very good and friendly now for the down side part .no where to change money at resort we were taxie to resort we asked to go to bank we got some money at airport but they only gave us ten singles and the rest $20.00 bills he took us right into resort when you go to desk it's either they ran out or only had a few. So we took a buggy ride into town to change for smaller bills .the weekend were not so great the locals come in for the day which was fine for me but they took over the place very loud and messy people garbage all over the place they even brought their own speaker turned up their music you couldn't even carried on a conversation with the person next to you.but I will say the staff was great and friendly but we won't be returning back .for those reasons listed
The resort is really old. Every part needs upgrading: furniture, walls, floors, bathrooms, lights. Food is the same everyday. Annoying locals around the resort leave garbage everywhere. The sidewalks are uneven so you have to be careful not to twist your ankle, especially at night because there are no lights. There is never ending construction to build new units. They started renovating the washrooms beside the bar for 2 weeks and there was no improvements, the process is very slow. It is very noisy everyday starting at 6am. From the bar, there's very loud music that keeps you up all night, as well as music from the neighbor resort which is local people. If you're not used to animals like cows, horses, wild dogs, don't come here. They leave scat all around the resort, including sidewalks. At the bar, you can only get 2 types of pop: cola and sprite. The water is "filtered", supposedly. The beach has dead coral so when you walk in the water you have to be careful since it's very sharp. There are also sea urchins everywhere. The food is always the same, mostly tasteless pasta and rice. After a week, you will be sick of it. All staff hound you for tips all the time. The only positive is the sunshine. If you want to do excursions, forget it because this resort has no connections.
If you like quiet and true isolation from daily grind this is it! Absolutely relaxing atmosphere with no pressures to be no one but yourself i.e. check your pretentiousness at the gate. Spent two weeks without Facebook, Tweets, Mobile phone, Fax, iPad or Tablet. Venir y unirse junto al cielo!
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.
Child pricing may only be available with select tour operators and valid for select dates and durations. Child pricing rules are subject to change without notice. Please contact one of our vacation specialists if you require assistance with child pricing.
Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.
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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