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  • Hotel Villa Don Lino

    Villa Don Lino Hotel Cuba

    • Destination: Holguin
    • Address: Carretera Playa Blanca, Km 7
    • Phone: 53 24 30308
    • Accept child:Yes
  • Description: Villa Don Lino Hotel Cuba

    Surrounded by a reassuring ambiance, Villa Don Lino offers the visitor all the appropriate conditions to enjoy a pleasant stay. It is located 57 kilometers from Holguín’s International Airport and 30 kilometers from Guardalavaca Beach. It possesses a beach 280 meters long and 50 meters wide. Don Lino has become famous as The Great Little Beach because it boasts a thousand charms in a tiny belt of sand. The indigenous natural surroundings brighten up the spot in which coconut palms and caleta grape vines abound. 36 air-conditioned cabanas with telephone, satellite TV and security box. 30 of them look out over the sea. A la cart restaurant, bar-cafeteria, swimming pool for children and adults, game room, sports areas to play baseball, beach volleyball and tennis; day and nighttime animated shows, nautical non-motorized equipment rental, car, motorbike, bicycle rental, horseback riding, excursions to nearby places of historic and cultural interest organized by the Villa.

    • Current reservation summary
    • Reservation hotel: Villa Don Lino
    • Total pax: 2 Adults
    • Meal plan: Bed and Breakfast
    • Total rooms by type: 1 Double-Standard
    • Night(s): 1 nts

    TOTAL PRICE: €88

    For dates from 05/25/2019to 05/26/2019

  • Reservation form
    For reservation over 5 room you have to contact us.


     



  • Room facilities
    110 volt power
    220 volt power
    air conditioning
    balcony or terrace
    handicap facilities
    hot and cold running water
    private bath
    Satellite TV
    telephone
    • Airports next to Villa Don Lino
    • Airports: Holguin Airport

      Holguin Airport

      Frank País Airport (IATA: HOG, ICAO: MUHG) is an international airport that serves the city of Holguín in Cuba. It bears the name of Cuban revolutionary Frank País. The airport resides at an elevation of 4 m (13 ft) above mean sea level.[2] It has one runway designated 09/27 with an asphalt surface measuring 1,803 m × 44 m (5,915 ft × 144 ft)

    • Car rental offices next to Villa Don Lino
    • Hotel Playa Pesquero  Car rental officeHotel Playa Pesquero Car rental office

      Playa Pesquero, Holguin
      024433355 6km 798m

      Hotel Playa Costa Verde  Car rental officeHotel Playa Costa Verde Car rental office

      Playa Pesquero, Holguin
      024433804 7km 239m

      Sol Rio de Lunas y Mares  Car rental officeSol Rio de Lunas y Mares Car rental office

      Playa Esmeralda, Holguin
      024430045 13km 066m

      Hotel Paradisus Rio de Oro  Car rental officeHotel Paradisus Rio de Oro Car rental office

      Playa las Caleticas, Holguin
      024430014 13km 695m

      Agencia Guardalavaca Car rental officeAgencia Guardalavaca Car rental office

      Playa Guardalavaca, Holguin
      024400389 17km 354m

    • Restaurants next to Villa Don Lino
    • El Ancla Restaurants El Ancla Restaurants

      Playa Guardalavaca. Holguin, Cuba
      (5324) 430381 2km 908m

      Mirador de Mayabe Restaurants Mirador de Mayabe Restaurants

      Villa Mirador de Mayabe. Holguin, Cuba
      34km 925m

    • Currency Exchange next to Villa Don Lino
    • Hotel Playa Costa Verde Currency Exchange Hotel Playa Costa Verde Currency Exchange

      Playa Pesquero
      (5324) 433845 7km 239m

      Hotel Playa Turquesa Currency Exchange Hotel Playa Turquesa Currency Exchange

      Playa Pesquero
      (5324) 433880 10km 794m

      Hotel Río de Luna Currency Exchange Hotel Río de Luna Currency Exchange

      Playa Esmeralda
      12km 986m

      Hotel Río de Mares Currency Exchange Hotel Río de Mares Currency Exchange

      Playa Esmeralda
      (5324) 430089 12km 986m

      Hotel Ríos de Oro Currency Exchange Hotel Ríos de Oro Currency Exchange

      Playa Esmeralda
      (5324) 430079 13km 695m

      Hotel Villa El Bosque Currency Exchange Hotel Villa El Bosque Currency Exchange

      Ave. Jorge Dimitrov
      (5324) 481012 33km 199m

    • Clinics next to Villa Don Lino
    • El Cocal Clinic Clinic El Cocal Clinic Clinic

      Carretera Central, Km 781 Via Bayamo. Holguin. Cuba
      (5324) 468506 42km 218m


    • Reviews
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      • birdsofafeather1
        kupcake
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Awfull Awfull

        “Horrible ”
        I have travelled to various resorts in Cuba in the past. Therefore I was shocked by DonLino. I am not a picky person, and understand the economy and living conditions in Cuba. The room in general was acceptable, dirty floors, used soap, filthy windows etc, but very clean beds and linen. The food was pretty much un edible, again I am far from picky. The eggs were always undercooked and slimey. Absolutely no selection. Looked as though the food was recycled meal after meal. Bread was always stale. The dishes were dirty most of the time, or non exsistant. Staff was rude and didn't seem to like their job at all. I don't understand the reviews that people say the staff are so friendly. And yes I did tip...didn't make a difference at all. Bar staff would be to busy talking on their cell phone or fixing their make up or hair to serve you. When we arrived, we never even got a welcome hello let alone a welcome drink, that sunwing promises in their booking itinerary. No rum in the room, which again was promised by Sunwing. Our rep said they don't know why they promise that as they never have had it. We were also told by sunwing in writing that we could have late check out....another lie. You could get a late check out for a cost of one peso per person per hour. Two of the people that travelled on our flight, asked and paid for this as one of the people were disabled. Their power was shut off at noon...despite the late check out price being paid. Our AC worked well the first few days then stopped. While we were there the Resort overbooked twice, sending tourists to another resort with no notice, they approached several tourists on resort to try and get them to move resorts even...unacceptable. Bathrooms were filthy with no running water or toilet paper. Makes you wonder how the kitchen staff wash their hands. The beach was to full of coral and sea urchins to swim, but that's not the resorts fault. I was very impressed with pool guy Omar, he worked very hard and pool was always clean. The life guard was amazing as well and friendly. Entertainment was absent the entire trip. They advertised every day the fitness and dance lessons but never ever did them. I am deeply disappointed by DonLino and Sunwing. And yes I have been to a 2 and a half star before and loved it, so I am not unreasonable.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Kim K
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Awfull Awfull

        “Try Harder Not To Get Food Poisoned ”
        Recently, I have abit of an issue with the hotel I stayed in (Don Lino Hotel, Cuba) 7 days all inclusive resort with a private bungalow. I was sick for 3 days due to food poisoning from eating at the buffet restaurant. It was consistent from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner for the 3 days until I decided to venture outside the resort to eat. After that, I was better and was able to really appreciate the beauty of Cuba and its people. It was also difficult for me to ask for assistance from the front desk or manager. They did not change my Canadian money to CUC. One of the Canadian tourist who was also in the same trip as me mentioned that she had poor service too, when she lost her money and brought it up to the manager, he told her to try harder (?) I had to spend money out of my own pocket to eat out the rest of the time I was there (4 days) so I wouldn't get sick. In the end, it turned out great as I was invited by very kind, helpful villagers oustide the resort to come and have coffee, coconut juice, and lunches. I was able to meet real people and experience village life, instead of just staying inside the resort. I highly recommend going to Holguin and Santa Lucia. There's a beautiful, idyllic road to Holguin where you can find many fruit stalls dotting it along the way with wonderful pineapples, mangos, sapodilla, and many more exotics. It's also wonderful to while away a lazy morning in Santa Lucia, and have a Cuban coffee in the main square of the town near the local bank, and enjoy the bright sunshine and friendly people. In the evening, I sometimes go to Gonzales' Resturant near Don Lino Hotel ( as I prefer not to be food poisoned) and enjoy freshly grilled lobster and fishes that was caught that day. Gonzales, who is the amiable owner of that small restaurant, is the fisherman, and will grilled the catch of the day in front of you and sit down for a comfortable chat. As he said, it is the good life there in Cuba:)

      • birdsofafeather1
        Persephoneo
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Poor Poor

        “A long week at Don Lino ”
        I have been back from Don Lino for a week and decided to take some time before writing my review. I did not want to write too quickly, but to mull over my experiences before typing. I'd like to frame my review by sharing a little about myself: I have travelled all over the world, this was my eighth visit to Cuba, I've stayed in a variety of places in Cuba and I've never had such a mix of good and bad as I've had here. I am not a "picky eater" or any such thing, I am easy going and love to relax and meet new friends. Unfortunately, I found my experiences at Don Lino an odd mix of the good and the very bad and would not return. Staff: Most of the staff are very kind and friendly, beautiful people. We did have an experience with some staff that left a bit of a bad taste however. We were there from April 16th to 24th when we were told that the resort was slowly switching over from serving mostly Canadians and other nationalities to Cubans looking to vacation. My sister and I understood that the Don Lino staff were probably looking forward to seeing more of their fellow Cubans, but we found that we would be ignored at the 24 hour beach and snack bar in favour of serving other Cubans first. This would include waiting in line and being obviously there for a snack or drink and being ignored in favour of chatting with friends. We'd be waiting at the snack bar and the cook would make plates upon plates of food (fries, fritters, etc...), would pointedly ignore anyone else lined up and personally serve these platters to friends occupying other tables. Same would occur at the bar. At one point, my sister was attempting to order two beers in Spanish from a female bartender. The other bartender - Junior started mocking my sister's attempt to speak Spanish in a mean tone, right in front of her. My sister understood what was happening and said, "I know that I am not Cuban and don't speak Spanish, but I know what you are doing. I don't appreciate being made fun of and you should be ashamed". Junior obviously knew he had been discovered, hung his head low and avoided eye contact, but did not apologize. So rude. Food: It does not make me a "picky eater" that I do not enjoy eating the same reheated meatballs for breakfast, lunch and dinner - then served again, and again. I am not picky when I do not want mushy pasta that was made goodness knows when and served again and again. I am not being picky when I do not want to eat dried out mystery meat or dry rice and beans, the same dish over and over. I understand not wasting food, but having edible and tasty food is important. Having well cooked and thoughtful nourishment is important. Everything was overcooked, bland, and just awful. Paying extra at the a la carte restaurant in an attempt to have something to eat other than tasteless, recycled food and receiving a strange concoction of tiny canned shrimp and mushy, overcooked canned vegetables is not okay. The snack bar served disgusting frozen fries and fritters, cooked in a filthy deep fryer in oil that needed to be changed ages ago is not good. The resort would actually SAVE money by bringing in fresh foods and eschewing frozen and canned items. My mom stayed the week before at Amigos resort in Guadalavaca and she raved about the fresh food, especially the fries, and she only spent $30 more dollars for her trip. It can be done. The bars lack variety - no attempt to have interesting drinks, or any variety of drinks. It's pretty much beer or rum and coke. That's it. Bring a water bottle and have them refill it, you may only get eyes rolled at once in a while. Room - my sister and I were given one of the older rooms, one of the bungalow type buildings. We called them the Stalin bunkers because they were built when the resort was geared toward Russian visitors. The room was kept clean, the beds and pillows are flat and uncomfortable. I would fold my pillow in half, place a towel in between to fatten it up. We did not sleep well, averaged about four hours a night, because the bed was so uncomfortable. Bring your own pillow if you can. We experienced a few crawly visitors - two fist sized spiders, a big cockroach, and a bat. Not the resort's fault, but still startling. Pool, etc... - the staff works hard on the pool, it needs better filtration and you'll find it full of little bugs, but they try. There are little biting flies, we used bug spray but they still got us. We enjoyed hanging by the pool - reading and chatting. Probably the best part of our stay. The music would often play quite loudly, but we ignored it and just hung out. Our best moment of the stay was actually walking OFF the resort and visiting the nearby El Marlin restaurant - a family run small restaurant about a ten to fifteen minute walk away. Leave the resort, walk up the road until you get to the first paved road, take a right and soon you'll see a white sign with the El Marlin on the left. Go there for a decent meal - we ate like queens and felt revitalised. The tienda/shop doesn't stock much, and if you are a smoker they will often run out of cigarettes. We went to El Marlin and they sold cigarettes along with AMAZING food. Change your money at the airport, it's on the departure side of the building. If you are travelling with someone else, one should gather the luggage while the other runs over to change the money for both, as there was a long line up at the money exchange. While I would not return to Don Lino, I did enjoy spending time with my sister and the beautiful Cuban sun. There are some wonderful resort/beach dogs on site, a little fox looking gent named Taco and a bulldog mix named Jocko. Please be kind to these lovely dogs. I am not a picky person, but reasonable food, drink and staff are important for a good trip. I am glad people enjoyed their time at Don Lino, but a week of mystery recycled food, bad drinks, dirty food preparation areas (the kitchen is adjacent to the worst smelling bathrooms you will ever smell, by the beach bar) and somewhat snarky staff is not okay.

      • birdsofafeather1
        James T
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Poor Poor

        “Nice, place, to bad about the food.”
        Our SunWing flight, was an hour plus, delayed in Halifax, and longer than expected due to headwinds so we arrived much later than the 10:30 PM we had planned for. (On our return, the flight out was delayed over 2 hours, though the airport ETA/ETD TV annoyingly said it was "on time".) We knew what to expect in Cuba, but even by 2.5 star expectations, the food was a big disappointment. Never saw ketchup until the final day, and then only at the beach bar/snack bar. Butter was also absent, with a jar of unrefrigerated mayo left next to the bread table. At least two meals had nothing I would eat, and I was in the Marines so I can eat most things called food. You want to get to the buffet early, as buffet-table refills seem to be a maybe/maybe not proposition. Our one trip, to the one ala carte restaurant was very disappointing. The vegetables were one of the worst tasting things I ever put into my mouth. Zucchini and tomatoes with onion was the content. Not sure how they made it taste as bad as it did. The lobby staff were useless even by Cuban standards, with some not able to understand ANY English. They invariably gave bad or wrong information if you could get any info at all. The bar and wait staff were excellent and friendly any time I dealt with them, and I did often. We took a trip by cab into the local town just to get off the resort. Pedro, who spoke excellent English was our guide while his uncle drove the bright yellow Lada anywhere we wanted to go for 20 Pesos return fare. We planned to go to a restaurant with him the following day but my wife came down with a cold so we had to cancel. A week later, I still have the cold, and most people on the return flight seemed to have it as well with much coughing and hacking. Like flying in a Petri dish. So, we liked our room, after having to change from the first room, as the shower/tub had a drop of 1-2 inches when you stepped into it. I fell the first night and broke a rib when I caught the tub edge under my arm as I went down. The sides of the tub were VERY high too so older folks should be aware of this. We were in the "bungalows" which are newer, so not sure if the cottages are similar. All in all, I could barely have stayed at home for the cost of this all-inclusive trip, and I would go back on the price alone. I would just take a carry-on of non-perishable food with me. We met wonderful people, as the 2.5 star resorts garner a different crew than the 5 star resorts. Very little pomposity I found. Never ate alone, though I did sit without much food on occasion.

      • birdsofafeather1
        salsamama
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Poor Poor

        “Not what I had hoped for... ”
        Mayonnaise is NOT a suitable butter substitute for toast!!! LOL Having been to Cuba at least a dozen times, and after reading reviews and doing research on Don Lino, it sounded like a great place to vacation at despite it being a 2 star with a rocky beach and limited buffet. Convert your money at the airport - no on-site currency exchange and a cab or buggy into Santa Lucia can be time consuming and costly. Check in was a disorganized mess? 10 people arrived in the middle of the day, 1 girl at reception and she was having a hard time matching up names with rooms with room keys and safe keys. We were a group of 4, we had requested and were told we would have 3 rooms close together. That didn?t happen. We ended up in one of the old rooms facing the water and while the view was lovely, it took a few days for me to get used to the ?rustic charm? of the room. Always had lots of hot water and pressure and a few gecko visitors. Nice to have beach towels waiting in the room and I was pleasantly surprised at how new they appeared. I was also pleasantly surprised at how clearly marked the outlets were - several were 110V in the old rooms. And I really appreciated our room and its location in the afternoons when the force of the wind on the beach forced us to take loungers up to the grass outside our room - gave us shelter from the wind while still only steps from the beach. Stating that the ocean floor was rocky and you needed water shoes was putting it mildly. There are a few spots at the far end of the beach that you could enter without shoes, but once in the water the current was strong enough to knock you over and you certainly didn?t want to take the chance of landing on your bum in a bed of sea urchins - quite a few people inadvertently put their hands down on them. However, once past the obstacles of urchins and rocks it was quite nice. Just beyond the resort is the military beach where you really didn?t need water shoes, but there were no loungers or bathrooms so not a beach you could spend any time on. Another option was Playa Blanca and while beautiful, again, a local beach, no bathrooms, no loungers, and you either spent 3 CUC each way on a horse and buggy or walked the 2km each way in the Cuban heat. It would have been nice to see a drink menu at either bar. It would have been nice to see some kind of menu at the snack bar. The only thing that seemed to be available at the snack bar were hamburgers that they deep fried and french fries? croquettes were available later in the week. And for the life of me I don?t understand why the only coffee machine is located at the lobby bar instead of the central 24 hr snack bar bar. Coffee wasn?t available in the lobby bar til one of the bartenders came in - sometime after 7am - and then the pressure would have to build before coffee could be made, and the bar closed at 10 pm so no midnight Spanish coffees. As others have mentioned, the bathrooms by the snack bar should be condemned - no running water or soap but always flooded and always a sewer smell? staff used those bathrooms and I?m surprised no one has come down with some kind of botulism or something. As for the buffet itself, what they offered was tasty but very limited. No butter for toast, instead, a big bowl of mayonnaise that sat out in the heat for hours. Bring your own jam and/or peanut butter. Cereal only offered 1 morning that I could see, Surprised not to see more fresh fruit like bananas or guava - lots of papaya, pineapple, and some days some not very ripe watermelon. The ?salad? bar was cabbage, cucumbers, and tomatoes. That?s it. And no red wine for the first few days neither. There is, however, a new restaurant on the road to Playa Blanca called El Marlin Azul that we checked out. The food and the prices were fabulous and highly recommend you try it - easy 10 min walk from the resort. We also went to El Bambu in Santa Lucia one night which was quite tasty too. And I bought some wonderful little bananas at a roadside stand on the way to Playa Blanca. We did enjoy the evening entertainment - the house band played through dinner service 4 nights and they brought in a young Cuban rock band that we really enjoyed. The ballet/water troupe they brought in on Friday night was phenomenal!! Very impressed! What we didn?t know when we booked the trip is that the week we were there was also a Cuban holiday - within a couple of days busloads of Cubans arrived and literally took over the place. The bars were constantly running out of ice because the ice makers couldn?t keep up with supply and demand. Same with the coffee maker - kept losing pressure and sometimes would take an hour to build up again. So no ice for your drinks at either bar and no coffee or beer in the lobby bar. One morning I counted 22 children in the pool at 9am - we never spent any time by the pool because it was so crowded and busy. And the mess left behind was really sad. We met some great fellow Canadians - some there for the first time, some were repeaters. I loved the location of Don Lino, the size, the peace and the tranquility. The staff for the most part were fantastic (one bartender would spend more time on his cell and another was more concerned with her hair and makeup) but sadly, for the price we paid, we expected a wee bit more. Even though it?s a 2 star, the annoyances and inconveniences we experienced will prevent us from going back or recommending it. For a few dollars more we could have gone back to one of our favourite 3 star resorts and gotten a lot more bang for our buck.

      • birdsofafeather1
        jackson53
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Poor Poor

        “Diasppointed ”
        Upon arrival we took about 45 minutes to get checked in. There were only 10 arrivals in total but there was so much confusion and disarray at the reception. These rooms should have been allocated before we got there to avoid such confusion. Trying to find rooms and keys that went with the rooms was disastrous. The rooms were outdated but very clean. I was in the new bungalows upstairs, no bugs of any kind. The beach I found was not that good, even though we wore water shoes it was very difficult to walk easily. The first part of the week the food was poor but I will say that after the many Cubans arrived mid week surprisingly it got better. Go figure. ( I will add now that I have never seen so much food and drinks wasted by these people.They left plate after plate of food on the tables.). The ice machines both in the Lobby Bar and the 24 hour bar broke down frequently and unable to get ice for mixed drinks not good. You can't run a bar without ice. The coffee machines broke down frequently as well apparently something to do with pressure so no Coffee or Spanish Coffee during that time.Had to wait for the pressure to build back up before you could order. A major problem also was there was no running water in the bathrooms by the bars....hygiene problem....The entertainment was not good either. Outside of the house band thee were no Cuban little skits on stage, no Cuban dancers, no Cuban musicals which I have seen many times.at these resorts. I will say the bartenders were very good and very friendly. Also the girls in the buffet were very good too. I have been to Cuba a few times and have always stayed at 3 stars so kinda know what to expect. Just too many issues for me. Would I recommend this resort to someone else....No Would I go back to this resort myself.......No

      • birdsofafeather1
        Frank S
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Poor Poor

        “TAKE YOUR PESOS WITH YOU ”
        I have just returned from another 2 weeks at Don Lino. The brochure and description state there is a currency exchange. When I was there last year they had closed the exchange but due to pressure from the guests and the closest bank being in Santa Lucia (requires transportation via taxi or carriage $$$$$) were exchanging some money at the lobby desk. This year there is no exchange and it costs to get into town. There are very few opportunities to exchange for small denominatons (for tips) at the resort. The staff are not getting the tips they readily deserve due to the shortage of small currency denominations. Some tourists were giving loonies and toonies for tips which only adds to the hardship of staff trying to use their tips. Get money exchanged at the airport, if the bus driver or tour reps are rushing you, insist that you need to change money before getting to Donlino or it will cost you time and money from your vacation.

      • birdsofafeather1
        ilona b
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Poor Poor

        “Small hotel great staff bad food ”
        4 of us ladies went to this hotel being on a budget. Reading the rewies everybody was raving about this hotel. After our long winter and a great price we decided to try this hotel. you are an hour away from the airport and the long ride at 4 am was quite bumpy, but that did not bother us. Upon our arrival we checked in to our rooms. The rooms with the balconies are the newer buidlings and quite comfortable. We had a fridge but somehow it never cooled and our fridge was never replenished with drinks. You could go down to the 24 hour bar/snacks and bring some water in glasses. We finally decided to buy some bottled water and have lt daily filled up. You can not swim in the ocean as there are a lot of sea urchins, one of my friends got stung. Please take some insect repelent, there are alot of mosquitos and sand flyes. We were pretty badly bitten even after 3 weeks we still have marks. As for the food, I saw meat balls and spagheti for 6 days uppear at breakfast, lunch and dinner. You might want to try the a la carte restaurant and for extra 10 pesos you can get the lobster dinner, book early as there are only 20 seats and one sitting at this restaurant. If you want to see how the locals live you lcan take a horse and buggy ride for 15 pesos and meet some of the locals, dont forget to bring something for the kids. They don't have much and appreciate anything you bring. Colored paper, crayons, books, tshirts, pens etc. If you are on a fixed budget and you don't mind to put up with some inconveniences this is a great little hotel , where you will know everybody.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Yoemmie
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

        “Just okay ”
        I took a little while to write this review in the hopes of gaining a better perspective. Stayed in late March. Have been to Cuba before and would self identify as a low maintenance traveller. Badly in need if R&R the Don Lino offered a quiet vacation, with time to read a couple of novels, stroll on the beach and soak up the sun. If your looking to socialize - lots of friendly folks around. The resort is built on swamp land which is a fabulous host for bugs and critters. Bring repellent. The ocean is beautiful, and has a coral shore - and undertows. We were always able to get a good spot on the beach. The resort refers to bungalows as the two story wooden structures. The ocean front rooms are "rooms". The bungalows are well appointed, but a bit musty. We were moved once due to a room mix up and wasps - a nest by the balcony. The front desk staff seem more ornamental than functional. The food at best was so-so, but that didn't seem like a big deal. Hygiene not great - lots of reheats and unclean plates. We found the wait staff excellent. The bar staff were friendly too and able to arrange tours. We found this handy as our Sunwing rep was MIA. There's a 24 hour snack bar with fries, burgers and ham and cheese. Cappuccinos at the front lobby bar - start going by 7:30. If your an early riser take a nice stroll along the beach and head to the lobby....you can watch the classic car taxis, and horse and buggies assemble. We went to Guardalavaca to hit the market: trinkets aplenty and a large beach - good spot to noodle around. Hired a taxi from the front - a nice 55 Bel Air - about a 30 minute drive. The scenery is lovely. We didn't haggle with the fare or prices at the market - trying to spread around the $ around as best we could. Some other points: Get your money at the airport. Bring a flashlight to walk to your room at night. There's a nurse on staff The bands aren't connected to the hotel - so please tip The dogs of the Don Lino are beautiful mooches! Undecided if we'll return...may keep exploring Holguin....

      • birdsofafeather1
        travelb4idieguy
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

        “Petite and Perfect (for me) ”
        I did a lot of research on Don Lino and the surrounding area before I decided to book this resort. I perused about 100 of the latest reviews to get a general feel of what to expect and came to the consensus that it was a 2.5 star resort just as advertised. I had been to Blau Costa Verde which is only about 30 kms from Don Lino only 4 months prior so was acquainted with the general area of Playa Pesquero, Playa Esmeralda and Guardalavaca. I have been to Cuba well over a dozen times in the last 5 years and have been to resorts from Havana to Santiago so I have a general understanding of Cuban resorts and expectations. Don Lino had been on my radar as a possible resort destination for about two years now and quite frankly it was because of the awesome prices that were available from time to time. I paid $860 (all in) for two weeks, staying from April 8th through April 22nd. At this price I was not expecting to be pampered like I would have, had I been staying at PRDO (royal service) for 3-4 times the price. Flew out of Toronto via Sunwing on a packed plane that was over an hour late in departing and which also took a full four hours to arrive due to dodging some turbulence on the way. Airport security and luggage retrieval was quick. TIP --- I exited the arrivals terminal and entered the departure terminal so I could exchange Canadian currency for Cuban CUC. The exchange rate at the Cadeca was about 85 CUC for $100 Canadian. Don Lino does not have anywhere to exchange currency so doing this at the airport is a good idea. There are a few workers at the resort that may exchange money for you but you will pay a premium to do it if you can find them. TIP --- buying beer for your transfer to the resort is cheaper in the departures terminal than it is from the guy in the parking lot. Transfer from airport to resort was about 1 hour or ( 4 Cristal) and the time went quickly. Only 7 people were on the bus so check-in upon arrival at Don Lino only took minutes and a worker took luggage to room immediately. For the first two nights I stayed in room 11 which is part of the old section. The rooms are quaint but clean and acceptable. These older rooms do not have fridges and since I brought tons of food like kielbasa, cheese, chocolate bars and other food items that needed to be refrigerated a fridge was necessary. TIP --- Bring snacks. Inquired at the front desk if I could obtain a fridge, even if I had to pay, and was informed that only the new sections rooms had them. I next asked how much to upgrade to a new room and after crunching numbers on a calculator they came up with a price of $480 for the next two weeks. This was laughable as I could have upgraded when booking for about $60. Returned to the front desk the next day to discuss fridge dilemma again and new girl on desk upgraded me to new section for the rest of my stay at no extra charge. The old rooms are close to the pool/lobby/buffet/bar and the old rooms by the Sea have great views. The new rooms are nicer and have fridges, safes and a bathtub and nice balconies but as other have mentioned not very much sound-proofing. Fortunately I was not bothered by noisy neighbours probably because I was the noisiest and couldn?t hear them over my own music. The beach is fine and I did walk it barefoot several times but did have to watch my step. Do use footwear while swimming as there are rocks after entering the water. Several days the water did have waves but to me that made swimming all the more fun. The other days the water was calm and lots of families with kids were swimming. As others have already stated there is the option of going to Playa Blanca which is about 1 km away and can be accesses by walking either trails or on the road. There are also taxis and horse and carriages always right out front of the resort and the trip can be done for a few pesos. Playa Blanca beach is always calm and you can walk the beach or swim without water shoes. Pizza and beer can be purchased here but there are no chairs or palapas available. TIP --- bring your towel. A new restaurant (paladar) has opened on the road to Playa Blanca within the last two months. It is a safe 10 minute walk just down the road from Don Lino as soon as you turn right onto the road to Playa Blanca. The name of it is El Marlin Azul and I highly recommend it as the food and prices and ambience are great. Very close proximity to resort and a very nice change of pace for a good dinner, without paying for transportation. TIP --- bring a flashlight if returning after dark. This brings us to food at the resort. I will not go into great detail on this but will state some days/meals are better than others. You will not go hungry. I did not do the al a carte but this is booked through Adrian who is the food manager. I did talk with several guests who enjoyed it and apparently the lobster for an extra $10 pesos was delicious. Both bars did run out of ice on several occasions but this only latest an hour or two. The beach bar did run out of vodka once but restocked by the next day. TIP --- I bought vodka in Santa Lucia/Rafael Freyre (same town) that is 8km from Don Lino. Three pesos for a 26er!! I also bought cartons of real orange juice while there since the bars oj is more like Tang. You can get a taxi/horse & carriage into Rafael Freyre for $15 pesos return and they will wait for you while you shop/eat/drink. You can also rent nice new scooters to do this trip or others for $30 pesos for 24 hours. I took a scooter into a town called Fray Benito (about 20 kms) and had ice-cream (1 peso) from a vendor on the side of the road. Nice ride and scenery as well as a good dose of real Cuban life. Back to Rafael Freyre/Santa Lucia. Going to this town is a must for dinner. I went to El Tulipan twice for lunch/dinner and it was delicious. Had shrimp the first time (about 100 for 12 CUC) and had chicken cordon bleu the second time. The breaded chicken stuffed with ham and cheese was the best I have ever eaten in any country hands down. I also ate at EL Bambu which was also delicious and a must if you go into town several times. Drinking 1 peso Cristal and 1.25 peso Coronas with locals in one of the many outdoor bars was a pleasure and great experience. The city of Gibara is a one hour trip from Don Lino and is a fishing village on a bay. It is the second oldest city in all of Cuba and is a great place to visit and mingle. Fishermen were out in the bay catching shrimp and lobster floating on old inner-tubes from tires. There is a great lookout on top of the hill overlooking the city and bay with stairs (lots of them) leading all the way down to the water. I had lunch in Gibara at Las Terrazas. I ordered lobster (probably caught that morning) and it was very good and a very large portion that I could only eat half of. I gave the other half to my driver to take home. I also tried my drivers Marlin (something I have never tried) which was also excellent. The price of this excursion that took about 6 hours was 70 pesos. Manuel (part of the animation team) is the guy to see and he speaks perfect English and is knowledgeable about the areas around Holguin. Manuel also took me into Rafael Freyre for a new tattoo. I got a Cuban flag done (very nice) for 25 pesos. Being an ?inked guy? already I can state the same tattoo in Canada would have cost $150-$200. Needles are brand new opened out of a package right in front of you so no need to worry. Even Manuel got a little ink added to his. The staff at Don Lino, are great, and all you need to do is ask if you need something. You do not have to tip to get good service. Nightly shows do not always happen at Don Lino but the show not to miss is the water-show on Friday nights. The first Friday they did the whole show to Queen Songs and I was in awe of it. The following Friday show was just as spectacular. A local band plays stage/beach bar/buffet some nights and are also very good. TIP --- tip them as they are not paid by the resort. Small pool and was very clean until local Cubans showed up with their families over Easter weekend and ate/smoked in the pool. They left food plates and plastic glasses and cigarette butts all around the pool area that eventually blew into the pool. I freaked out one day calling them all ?pigs? and walked around picking up garbage yelling ?this is where you put your garbage? as I threw it all in the garbage bins situated around the pool area. Even the Cuban staff was disgusted. Air-conditioning in room worked fine as did the flat screen TV. Always had hot water for a shower no matter the time of day. I never had to wait more than 2 minutes for a drink at the bar. As stated by previous reviewers it could be a problem for early risers to get a coffee sometimes. TIP --- go right to the kitchen and ask when lobby bar not open early. Espresso machine broke several times but always seemed to get fixed within an hour or two. This is a small resort and you will end up making good friends. You can walk from one end to the other in 5 minutes which is nice. TIP --- bring toilet paper whenever you leave resort or even when you want to use resort washrooms. Lobby washrooms are clean but beach bar washroom leaves a lot to be desired and has no running water in the sink to wash hands --- not good. A special shout out to Dani on the animation team and to my new friend Manuel also on the animation team. I met some very nice guests and we had many laughs. It was great finally meeting Coral Queen (Santiago Destination Expert) and her King. I met several other Trip Advisor peeps that made my vacation that much better. In summation (I know finally ---10,321 characters later) I had a great 2 weeks at Don Lino and will definitely return. I had more fun here than at any higher star rated resorts I have been to in Cuba. This is not the resort for Princes and Princesses; this is a resort for common folk that are usually more fun. Know what to expect and do your research --- as you should for any resort --- and you will not be disappointed. If anyone has any questions as I am sure I missed lots even though this review was long winded --- you can pm me and I will try to answer/help. If you found this review helpful please give me a helpful vote. Until next time --- Happy travels no matter when you go. KELLY.

      • birdsofafeather1
        JWow2014
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

        “A quiet, relaxing vacation ”
        We spent a week at Don Lino in the Spring of 2009. The resort had been hit hard by a hurricane in the fall of 2008, but they had done a good job at re-building. The resort was tiny. About 30 bungalow rooms laid out along the beach, and the road behind. We had a room on the beach. It was incredible to walk out the door, and 3 steps later our feet were in the sand. The staff was fantastic, they really made everyone feel like family. Since the resort was so small, it really did feel like one big family. The entertainment was low key, but enjoyable nonetheless. A local band came each evening to play music. We all sat around in chairs and sipped our drinks and soaked up the music. The food was "as expected" for Cuban standards. The selection was minimal, but not a surprise since there were so few people there. The omelets were fantastic. However, I did eat a ton of bread and butter that week. There is a grill by the beach - they serve up hotdogs, hamburgers and french fries. We made a point of eating there for lunch each day. The beach is tiny and very rocky - make sure to bring good water shoes! That being said, the beach was very quiet, and not busy at all. At times, my husband and I had the entire beach to ourselves. The room was spacious - a front "sitting room" with the bedroom in the back. We had a window a/c unit, but often just opened up the windows and the door and let the breeze cool things down. In the evenings we'd wander up the road and see the locals. We handed out candy to the kids - they loved it! Don Lino was definitely a unique resort. It's great if you're looking for a quiet, private getaway. It's not where you wan to be if you're looking for night life and activities.

      • birdsofafeather1
        CORVAIR1965
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

        “Unexpected Gem ”
        We stayed at Don Linos from March 16 to March 23. We have been to other Cuban 2-3 star and have never been disappointed so far( do not expect 5 star and you will enjoy). The staff was excellent and friendly. We had room #2 (or 1002), nice room , close to everything, in room safe, no cards for towels, just provided in your room upon arrival. A small resort 100+ rooms, you get to know everybody, and we met many people who were there on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th or more visit. We did a day trip into Holguin,tour & lunch - nice, trip into Santa Lucia (by horse and buggy $20) - excellent. We walked several times to the closest small village and were invited into peoples' homes. There is also another beach, Playa Blanco in the village, nice sandy beach. You will need water shoes at the resort. Another comment, this is the first resort we have been to, that you could go to the pool or the ocean and get a lounger, anytime you wanted without reserving at 5 am with your towel (we have been to about 25 resorts) The food was good, just plain (don't forget you're at 2-3 star). Nightly entertainment was usually a local band, but very good. One evening they had a water ballet troupe in to perform in the pool.. It was excellent. I would highly recommend this resort to anyone looking for a nice place for some R & R

      • birdsofafeather1
        curioustravelor
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

        “Quiet, Quintessential, Quirky ”
        Quiet - The Don Lino is sleepy hollow, for my wife and I that was perfect, exactly what we wanted; no internet, no emails, just a quiet place to relax and recharge. The entertainment staff tried in vain a few times to organize a volleyball game or Spanish lessons by the pool. By my observation, over two weeks, these offers of entertainment were largely symbolic. Participation was sparse if at all and eventually the invitations drifted away on the ocean breeze. Most guests, swam, read, lounged and spent hours enjoying each other?s company. Days spent at sloth speed are encouraged by the atmosphere and you are not alone in the slow lane at the Don Lino. There are opportunities at the Don Lino, the included horseback riding is fun and the horses are in tune with the slow pace expected (one step above those petting zoo ponies that are chained to a carousel). There is reasonable snorkeling if you go out to the edge of the reef, offshore fishing and free bicycles are options. The beach is roughly 400 meters long but at Don Lino pace including frequent stops to chat with other guests and shell gather can take a morning to complete. There are tours, the Jeep Tour, Catamaran sail and Holguin City tours are all popular. I enjoyed the Catamaran and city tours, both are good value. Other tours can only be accessed at other resorts with the added cab ride hassle and expense. Quintessential - Get off the resort, the real Cuba exists just meters away from the front gate. The roads are travelled more by horse or oxen then by car, you are safe to walk and bike day and night. The villagers along the roadway to Playa Blanca get a lot of tourist gifts; please try to go a little further into the village, the fisherman past the Columbus monument are all in dire need. My wife and I are not fitness freaks and we were able to bike to Santa Lucia twice using resort bikes. It is about 7.5 k and is for the most part flat riding. Go early in the morning to avoid the heat. The farmers market in Santa Lucia on Saturday morning is a must see. You will be exposed to Cuba at its essence. It is an eye opening experience that will stay with you a lifetime! There is a small commercial area and you can buy pizza for 20 cents and a beer for a buck. Interact with the locals, they are good hearted welcoming people. The Buffet food is a little better than typical Cuban resort food and in fact it is good, but will be off-putting to some. It is best described as ?country cooking? - nothing fancy but prepared well. A few nights the main meat was unusual, rabbit, ox tail or goat are examples. Frequently the primary vegetable was squash or cooked pumpkin (both delicious) and a mix of boiled cabbage, peppers, onion and other assorted veggies - all tasty but to a picky eater maybe not so good. There was always fish, and often chicken, pork, ham or beef. Rice and beans at every meal ? very tasty and dessert was often puddings, cakes, and resort made ice cream. Again ? I implore you to get off the resort to eat. There are many restaurants in Santa Lucia and one in Playa Blanco that are excellent. The Marlin steak at the Marlin restaurant in Playa Blanco was excellent as was the service. The ala carte is worth the experience, the lobster is huge, the steak is tough, but the chicken was delicious. The snack bar was ok, typical fare with burgers, dogs and fries. One day they had spring rolls that would be a good regular alternative. The ham and cheese is good ? Cuban cheese is in my mind excellent. As another alternative consider eating with a Cuban family, it is safe, very good and a way for a family to interact with tourists and make a little money. Quirky ? Like all of Cuba sometimes you are left scratching your head in wonderment. There is a Cuban Rule that we have come to live by when visiting Cuba. ?We had some yesterday and maybe tomorrow, but none today? you will hear this or a variation of it every time you travel to Cuba. If this kind of inconsistency bothers you ? avoid Cuba, especially the lower star resorts. Don Lino is no different; for example - great tennis courts but no tennis balls and no plan to get any. The morning coffee hunt, you will read in many reviews the many challenges with getting a decent coffee in the morning especially if you are an early riser. You see, only the lobby bar has a good coffee machine and it does not open early. Frequently the machine was covered in a blanket as it was finicky working by its own version of Cuban time. Shortages of plates, cutlery, and wine glasses and so on are not uncommon. This can be frustrating but wait 5 minutes and they will appear fresh from the dish washer (person not machine). The lobby bar has no beer? The pool bar no coffee? No one could answer why. The resort had no Cuban convertibles or coins (get it from the bartenders) and change your money at the airport. Randomly top shelve liquor would appear in a one bottle ration ? one night I spotted a Bottle of Amarula (South African fruit liquor). The bartender did not know what it was or where it came from but it was a nice treat. If you can roll with the punches and tolerate some of these minor frustrations the quirks will not bother you and they will become part of the charm of your vacation if you let them. Unacceptable quirks -There are some quirks that are not acceptable (even for a Cuba Lover). The bathrooms between the buffet and the pool bar are disgusting, no toilet paper in most if not all of the public washrooms and in the pool bar washrooms there is no soap and or running water to wash up. This is a serious sanitation concern and should be remedied immediately as it is the bathroom closest in proximity to all of the food prep for the resort. Here are a few random Tips: 1.You can negotiate with the taxis and horse carriages at the gate 2.Tired of eggs they will make you a grilled cheese for Breakfast 3. An international call home is $1.90 per minute 4. If you want a bike for early a.m. use keep it in your room 5.The rooms all have ups and downs, it is a preference thing. I liked the Bungalows the noise comments below are very true 6.You must go to Playa Blanca for the 5 pizza?s for $1.00 cuc and a beer for a buck 7.The house band works for Tips please be generous this is their work for the year. They would really like USB sticks so they can record songs to make a new CD to sell. Summary ? This is a great 2 star working hard to be a three star but it is not there yet (I am 15 plus times to Cuba at every star level). More attention to cleanliness and sanitation would help a lot. Having said that I had a great time at the Don Lino and I would not hesitate to recommend it. I hope to go back some day. My last comment ? there is a joke in Cuba, ?How do you spell Millionaire in Cuban?? Two ways ? ?M A I D or B A R T E N D E R?. Don?t get me wrong these people work hard for you and deserve a tip, but please spread the wealth both on and off the resort. On my second to last day I saw the maids going off shift and waiting for the employee bus ? they all had shopping bags or cardboard boxes full of gifts they had received ? Please spread your gifts and tips around to the Cuban who don?t get to interact with many if any tourists.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Bella B
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

        “5 star experience. ”
        We travel 3-4 times a year so cost was the main factor for choosing Don Lino. Loved this place. No crowds. We stayed in a room 8 steps from the beach. Food was above average for Cuba. Staff was fabulous. The best part about Don Lino is the community around it. We walked, jogged and rode bike in the stunning country side. I highly recommend it to my friends and coworkers who don't need all the amenities of a large resort. It's a five star experience compared to the rat race we live in every day. We have already booked a second trip.

      • birdsofafeather1
        boissephil
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

        “Small with great service ”
        This is a small all inclusive hotel where staff were always pleasant and friendly. We spent 2 weeks in a room with two queen beds located on the second floor overlooking the ocean, far from the reception area. The building we were in, one of about 30, had 4 rooms, 2 on the first floor and two on the second. Each room has a balcony, TV, quiet air conditioning, refrigerator, desk and a safe. Rooms are comfortable but walls are thin, so hope that your neighbors are quiet. The hotel is located several kilometers from other hotels and near the small village of Playa Blanca. The hotel beach is small and sandy but once in the water it is rocky and you need proper footwear. Sea urchins abound. If you want a nicer beach you can go to Playa Blanca slightly over a kilometer away by horse carriage, taxi, borrow a free bicycle or about 15-20 minutes on foot. You need not fear walking to the village at any time, local people are pleasant and friendly. Bring clothing for children and other articles and you will be even more welcome. Make sure you bring enough cuban pesos with you because there is no money exchange facility at the hotel. The food in the cafeteria is ok but nothing fancy, arriving early ensures a good choice of food. Personnel are always helpfull - especialy if you tip. The a-la-carte restaurant requires reservation, but unless you want shrimp or lobster there is no additional fee. Service is great. The hotel grounds, floors, bar, swimming pool, lounge area and the complex in general is clean. A few dogs roam harmlessly about. The friday night water ballet is well worth seeing at 9 pm. Arrangements can be made at very reasonable rates (group rates 25 to 50 cuc) with taxi drivers or one of the barmen for travel to local attractions in Holguin or other locations of interest. If you are looking for peace and quiet, friendly service, and clean simple living then this is the place to go.

      • birdsofafeather1
        szszszszsz
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

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

      • birdsofafeather1
        Enlightened1
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Don Lino Resort”
        Clean, wonderful pools, took Spanish lessons, had an amazing body massage (They came in one day a week) for small amount of money...............Food was peasant fare, but the omelets were yummy in the morning, made special for YOU. I would highly recommend this resort............excellent value for the money.

      • birdsofafeather1
        suegiggle
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Awesome Time ”
        We had a great time here. It is small and an amazing place everything you need and the small not over crowded. We had the most amazing time ever. Again the people make the place and it was an awesome time. THANKS FOR A GREAT TIME The room are wonderful the views were amazing from the room beach front and water views love love love it. Cant wait till we can return .

      • birdsofafeather1
        Bea-Traveling
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Perfect for the price ”
        What can I say that hasn't already been said. Yes Don Lino is a very small resort with limited food and beverage choices, but still, I loved it. I went there with my daughter (27) for a week April 16 to 23, 2014 - we missed the cheapest rate (don't you hate it when you wait hoping it will drop just a bit more and bam the price goes up by $40) But for $560 including taxes I could barely afford to go camping at this price... think about it, a full service site usually runs about $42 a night at a provincial park then there is the food the beer the gas I'm sure you get the picture. Being at Don Lino was almost like camping, you rough it... you expect to rough it and you make the most of it and you'll have a good time. If roughing it is not your idea of a great time then spend the extra money and go to a larger newer place. One thing I learned was if the Cuban tourists are smart enough to wait out the approaching storm in their rooms it would be wise to do the same. But being the crazy Canadians we went to the beach bar to watch the storm over the ocean. It was AMAZING... but thatched roofs similar to the one at the bar are NOT weather proof - and THINGS live in those thatches... things like frogs! And during heavy rainfalls... well they fall out of the roof, in fairly large quantities - and they may jump on you... and if you scream, well everyone will laugh at you :) Take a horse and buggy or walk to Playa Blanco - it's beautiful and very safe Go into Santa Lucia, it's an eye opener Eat at El Tulipan - worth the money! Things I loved about Don Lino: 1. The small intimate size - we were in room 6 and only 45 steps to the pool and 95 steps from our door to the beach. 2. Meeting new friends (Shout out to my new friends!) 3. Taco - the cutest resort dog EVER! 4. Beach combing for shells and sea glass 5. Very friendly staff 6. Never EVER having to line up for ANYTHING! Ok we lined up at check-in but that was only for 15 mins and we were the last of 10 people checking in. 7. Very quiet beach. Things about Don Lino I would change: 1. The Pillows, I'm still not sure if there WAS anything in my pillow case - they were pretty flat! 2. I wish the beach had at least one nice sandy area but the snorkeling made up for that. 3. The food at the buffet could be a little more meal appropriate, but if you stuck to the grill area it was ok. 4. A better stocked store - it was our little joke when I went to get some cigarettes - I wanted Green Hollywood the storekeeper said "No green, No red - just Blue!" Ok I'll take the blue... do have matches? "No"... do you have a lighter? "No... just cuban lighter" and he hands me his glasses to use the sun's rays... Smarty pants! So if we wanted something that wasn't available... we would just laugh and say... no green no red... just blue. Go with an open mind and bring a few essentials and you'll be fine Things to bring Butter Peanut Butter Jam Hot Sauce bug spray for the sand flies Water shoes Your sense of adventure

      • birdsofafeather1
        Cookiemagil
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Sick of snow getaway ”
        We went in knowing what to expect thanks to the many reviews so for a ?I?m sick of the snow, lets get the heck out of here? moment, it turned out good. We did have a few room issues that I will talk about later, but overall it was a good week. I traveled with my sister. We got a great deal. One week with no snow for $548 taxes included. We flew Cubana Air for the first time, and it was ok. Our flight was on time going there and upon return we arrived ½ and hour early. The in-flight food was not very good so bring you own snacks. At Don Lino there is no currency exchange so when you get to the airport go to the departure area to the bank. Here we lost 15cents on the dollar. Try and get small bills as they are not readily available at the resort. We boarded the bus and were introduced to some new friends, Coral Queen and her King and a lovely young man named Gin. By the time our hour drive was finished we were like old friends. Check in was a breeze. We were given a room in the new two story bungalow section. The gentleman who took us to our room welcomed us to Don Lino, turned on our air and left. We settled in and went to explore the grounds and meet up with our new friends. We had diner then sat around the bar for a bit. When we returned to our room we noticed it wasn?t cooled down that much. It was late so we decided we would go to sleep and then let the front desk know in the morning. Come morning we informed the management about our air conditioner. They said no problem, they would send someone to look at it. After determining they couldn?t do a quick fix, they decided to move us. Moved to a new room and the first thing we checked was the air lol. A group of us decided to go the Playa Blanca to check it out. It cost us 6 pesos return in a horse and buggy. It is a beautiful beach, clear calm and very warm. You can buy a Cristal beer for one peso. Upon our return our new air worked so good that it flooded our room. On to our third room, second of the day. We unpacked again then noticed the bees living in the side of the building. As I am allergic to the little darlings, I was a little skeptical about staying there. Management came and sprayed them and stuffed T.P. in the cracks at the crown molding to prevent their entry. There should be no problem they said. After already moving twice that day I gave in and we stayed. Just meant I couldn?t sit on our balcony. We had no big problems with the bees for the next 4 days. The day before we were to leave, after an afternoon at the beach and pool, I returned to the room to change. The minute I opened the door I heard them. I looked and in the corner of the building that the lived, there were about 50 of them inside my room. Yes, I ran straight out of there and up to the lobby. They came again and sprayed. With only one night to go I really didn?t want to move again. We went away for an hour to see if what they did was any good. When we returned, another 10 were buzzing around so I said no way and we moved yet again for the sake of 12 hours but at least I could sleep lol. This all being said, we may have just had the crappiest luck in the room lotto. Many of our new friends never had to change rooms. Their rooms were good. As for the rooms themselves, there are very nice but somewhat inconsistent. All four of our rooms were the new 2 story bungalow. All had 2 double beds. Three had flat screen T.V.s. All had fridges (these are not stocked) and safety deposit boxes. Not all had both 220 and 110 power so bring your power converter. All sockets were clearly marked as to what wattage they were. Some had one bedside lamp some had two lamps. The beds were firm but not too hard. Water was never a problem in the bath\shower. No coffee makers in room so bring your own. ROOM TIP: 1057 air doesn?t work, 1086 infested with bees (there are several buildings with bees, do a walk around your building before you unpack) 1112 is a good room I think, only spent our last night here. Only the 2 story bungalows have fridges. You can walk from one end of the grounds to the other in less than 5 min. but nothing is crowded. The open air lobby has a nice sitting area, a bar (which doesn?t serve beer?) and a pool table. The table has seen better days, with the felt lifting in several spots but we still played on it. It just made it more challenging. If you?re going and happen to have chalk they could use it. The store is here also. You can by Cristal for 1peso or Corona for 1.25 pesos but no limes. Store hours are different each day. From the lobby you can see the ala carte restaurant. It is housed in a converted boat house with a sand floor so ladies don?t wear heels. You need to make reservations for here. The day we reserved, it was raining so we ate indoors in the attached room. Diner was excellent. You may have either beef or chicken. If it is available you can have lobster at an additional charge. Our party of five all had the chicken and enjoyed it. There is one buffet restaurant and one snack bar. As far as the food goes, it?s adequate. There is always soup, fish, rice and pasta. A chef grilled a different meat each night. Salad was usually shredded cabbage with various toppings. Fruit selection was somewhat limited. I was very disappointed that you never saw a whole fresh banana offered. It?s Cuba. You go off the resort and there are banana trees everywhere! At breakfast there were great ?made to order? omelets. Ketchup is rare so bring your own. I can?t eat my eggs without it. There is also a lack of butter. They would put out mayonnaise instead. The food wasn?t great but it wasn?t bad either, just bland with some exceptions. The beach spans the entire length of the property. There are lots of palapas, you will never go without shade. The water is very rocky so water shoes are a must. Swimming is better in the morning as the wind usually picks up in the afternoon. After lunch we would retreat to the pool. The pool maintenance crew always kept the pool area clean and safe for all. There are plenty of palapas and lounge chairs for all, until the weekend. This was when the locals came. Most of them were delightful people but like everywhere else (including Canada) there are exceptions to the rule. Some were eating drinking and smoking while in the pool. They ordered large amounts of food and just wasted it. Left their empty drink glasses and plated all over the place. Again these are not typical Cubans. After diner we would gather at the bar\snack bar area which is beside the pool and restaurant. Maybe once did we make it back to our room before midnight lol. The washrooms at the bar and the front lobby very rarely had toilet paper so have a stash on hand at all times. The staff throughout Don Lino is very friendly. Overall it was a good vacation, even with our room issues. The management always dealt with our problems promptly. We met many new friends who made our trip enjoyable.This is a good resort if you want peace and quiet and sunshine. There is very little for children to do. As long as you know you are not going to a five star resort, you should have a good time.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Tamara Q
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Small, quiet and lovely. Not for rowdy, party animals or fussy eaters ”
        I loved Don Lino. I was there from April 15 - 22, 2014 and had the best vacation ever. It was exactly the right size and environment, just what I had hoped form and expected after reading all the reviews. Small, quaint, comfortable. If you're looking for luxury, pampering and all the comforts of home then skip Don Lino and head to a 5 star instead. If you're looking for lovely staff, clean rooms and a relaxing holiday then Don Lino will not disappoint. There isn't a Bank to convert your money at Don Lino so be sure to go to Bank located in the Departures terminal of the airport before heading to the resort. Be sure to take enough money so that you can take a taxi (15 - 20 CUC) into Santa Lucia for a meal at El Tulipa one evening. The food is excellent. Entrees range from between 12 - 17 CUC. You need a reservation, which the front desk staff at Don Lino should be able to help with. The property is well laid out and easy to get around. The pool is small and could be bigger and/or deeper but still very lovely and clean (except for on the very, very rare occasions...read further). I laid by the pool and read my book every day. Some days it was tough to get a lounger, because people would save them and then wander off but most of the time it wasn't a problem. The first part of my week there I met a lot of lovely people and it was great to meet guests that were Cuban too. They were all so friendly and kind. The second part of the week was slightly different. A new group of Cuban guests arrived and they were very different from the first group. This second group took over and made quite a mess in and out of the pool. Food and drink everywhere, cigarette butts and garbage strewn about, even in the pool. It was a poor representation of Cubans because everyone else I ever met was not like these people. It was heartbreaking to the poor manners and destruction because the staff at Don Lino work so very hard to keep things nice. Omar, who takes care of the pool, takes great pride in caring for it, so seeing it disrespected in such a vulgar manner was upsetting. He worked very hard every day and always made sure people were comfortable and had what they needed. Be sure to say hi to him and help him practice his English, which is good but could be better. :) I didn't go on any excursions or participate in any entertainment/activities, though the staff were wonderful. Dani and Manuel are wonderful. Manuel's English is perfect and he is always willing to help answer your questions. I did go into Santa Lucia on two occasions, having a beautiful meal at El Tulipa and enjoying a local "cantina" (patio bar). Those were definitely highlights of my holiday. The food at Don Lino was ok, some days it was better than others. There was not a lot of variety, and often the food was "recycled", for example, if it was served at breakfast, you likely saw it incorporated into lunch, etc. So if this is your first time south, you will probably be disappointed. To be honest, for me, I eat less in warmer climates so it didn't make much difference to me. There was always a few things I could eat (and I have food allergies to worry about) but if I didn't fancy what was offered at the buffet, I would just get a grilled ham and cheese sandwich from the snack bar later. It was always delicious. Saying all of that breakfast was always delicious and the only thing I can really say is I missed butter! They only had a mayo available for your toast. If you are a snacker, take snacks or buy them at the shop in reception. Things everyone should know: - bring toilet paper, it is often not available in the public washrooms. - If you lose your beach towel the cost is $20 to replace it. - the new 2-story bungalows are lovely but if you have noisy neighbours it makes your stay a little less enjoyable. Not all people are considerate. Sad but true. - there will not be any bottled water in your room - you can buy that from the little shop in reception. And there won't be a bottle of rum either, as advertised by some tour operators. That was fine by me but other guests commented they were disappointed by this. - take a really good bug repellant if you plan to spend time on the beach in the morning or evening. Some people had terrible reactions that got infected. So be sure to also take some sort of allergy meds, Benadryl and definitely some Afterbite and calamine lotion. You won't regret it. Better safe than sorryl - if the snack bar has hours posted and it should be open but there is no one behind the counter, nip into the kitchen to find a chef. - if you're a fussy eater though, you will just have to suck it up or stay home. All in the all, the Don Lino ticked all the boxes for me. It was the friendly, unassuming staff that really made my vacation. Everyone was friendly but no one was pushy. By the end of the week the Don Lino felt like home and it was so nice to be greeted with warm smiles and friendly "holas!" wherever I went. I'm planning on returning in October or November for two weeks and I can't wait.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Russelltim
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Very Peaceful ”
        Although it isn't for everyone, we really liked it. The cabins on the water had a great view and a nice breeze blowing off the water much of the time. The snorkelling wasn't bad although the water is rough quite a lot of the time. The Aquatic show was very good but in general it was nice to be somewhere that was so tranquil. I wasn't looking for somewhere noisy and crowded and don't care too much about the nightly entertainment. Keeping in mind the star rating, the food could use some improvement in variety. I never good sick from anything I ate over 2 weeks which put's it way ahead of Playa Turquesa. The Spanish coffee's at the Lobby bar are excellent and the rest of the beverages about the same as most other places. I would go back - Great Price! Only complaint would be to Sunwing who charged us the price of a return flight to change our return date

      • birdsofafeather1
        LHOG61
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “I love my small but quaint and effient hideaway!”
        From mid-February to the first week of March 2014 I enjoyed a beautiful, relaxing and fun filled three week stay at the only place in Cuba for me! I know there are many lovely hotels in this country, as I've seen them inside and out. However for my money and my time spent alone with medical issues and still wanting to travel abroad, I find Don Lino to be both friendly, clean and super efficient! I don't visit the country with expectations of glamour or cruise-like buffets and know all too well that we get exactly the same as the five stars just not as much or done up as fancy, you must prepare your pallet before you think about going to a three star in a socialist country. Aside from that , the service I have always found to be that of a five star. Santa Lucia is only a five peso ride away, less by buggie, for a bank or fresh fruit and sight seeing. There is always a bike to ride if you are up for it. The best market for miles is half an hour ride at best, even better than the one in the city of Holguin. It is in Guadalavaca. The variety of local crafts will keep you busy, then there is a beautiful beach and a few spots to dine on fresh seafood or have your taxi driver take you to a Casa Particulaire and dine in private. This year attendance was down, don't really understand why, so what's holding you back snowbirds? Come see for yourself. The staff alone make all the difference and you'll make several new and lasting friendships Lots of tours to be taken privately or by the airlines each day, they are excellent and fun! Then when you arrive back there is always some sort of nightly entertainment.... This was my nineth time to Don Lino and still counting****Love, love, love it!!

      • birdsofafeather1
        IslandGirlForSure
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Got to appreciate the little things in life ”
        Decided to book at this resort as my sister, niece, childhood friend and her husband were going. We flew Sunwing out of Halifax after being delayed 5hrs.....Arrived at resort very late and only one person checking us in (long slow process) we were all giving a new bungalow. Mine was ocean view. The bungalow was very nice and clean. Room # 1070, bottom floor. Was very lucky to have quiet neighbours. It had a fridge that worked well but not stocked with anything. The AC worked very well. Room was cleaned spotless every day. The bed and pillows were very comfortable. You could sit on your deck and see the ocean. The safe is a bonus as it is included in your room. The beach is very pretty and had lots of waves. They claim you have to wear water shoes but I swam for the entire week and would not wear them. I did not cut my feet on the coral which there is lots of and did not get stung by sea urchins. Go to the far right of the beach to enter the water or just swim over the coral. Breakfast is from 7:30-10:00 Lunch is from 12:30-2:30 Dinner is from 7pm-9:30 Breakfast was my best meal....nice omelettes. I never did starve as there was always something to eat but would have to say the variety was just not there for me. (I'm all about food) the fruit was very tasty though. Adrian is the food and beverage manager,who makes a point to say hello to everyone....very nice guy. Can't comment on the pool as I don't do them at all but it looked well kept. The watershow on Friday evening was very entertaining. The locals who perform by singing throughout dinner don't get paid....so tip them well If you book the Al A Carte you can pay 10 cuc for lobster. The setting is beautiful overlooking the ocean. It has a sand covered floor also. Just don't get the beef. A nice feature about this resort is the free 1 hour horseback riding. Book at the pool area from Mingwell. The trail is beautiful. They also have bikes to use free of charge. Tootchee was our favourite bartender and if you ask nicely he will give you a big bottle of water for your room. In front of the resort entrance there are taxi's (ask for Jorge or Yoander and they will take you anywhere) also the horse n buggie's ( ask for Oshmel) The best part of staying at this resort is the community and people around the resort along with the staff of course. You can go 1 km up the road to beautiful Playa Blanca Beach to swim. There is also a nice restaurant (forget the name) it is a must !!!! You can also buy beer and pizza by the beach that is so good. If you need to go to the bank it is in Santa Lucia 8 km away. Take a cab and have a meal at El Tulapan.....so tasty. Also on Saturday they have a market there....great way to take in the culture and listen to some great Cuban music. In ending this review I must say that our group of 5 are all planning on going back next year again. If you are into enjoying the solitude of listening to the waves while laying on a beach and don't need all the amenities of a 5star and want to connect with the families up the road......this is the place to go My only wish for next year is a bigger selection of food......but still going back anyways.

      • birdsofafeather1
        ANGELA S
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Got Peace and Quiet + ”
        Small unpretentious hotel has the quiet, away feel I was looking for. Met some very nice fellow Canadians and enjoyed their company. We had the room upgrade, will not do that again. They are dark and musty smelling. I had requested a fridge and had to throw away the gluten free pancakes I had brought. The camarera will tell you to keep the setting at half way, it works better but, still not cold enough. The food was better than expected. Nothing grand or repulsive. Good ice cream. I even had rabbit a few times. Do not ask for egg white omelet at the grill, too much bother. Get boiled eggs and remove the yolk, if you need to.Twice we had no butter and it was replaced with mayo and not too many people noticed the difference. One day there were no eggs. The hotel receives what the government suppliers send. We all survived. The pina coladas were great! The ocean water didn't have an access without rocks to suit a non swimmer like me, others were fine and enjoyed the surf. The beach was nice. The pool doesn't have a step down, didn't get to go in it once. I suggested they install one in. Lots of wasps along some villa walls. Need repellant and antihistamine for the hejenes(sand fleas), water shoes a must. Several days there was no outside phone line available. Those with cell phones managed to get a signal near the tower by the pool and texted. We did not go to the a la cart, we were told not to bother and I prefer to pick and chose at the buffet. The front bar makes great cappuccino. Lots of repeaters, some for several months at a time. That is not a bad sign.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Jo B
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Terrific Time!!!”
        What can I say.... I had been researching this resort for awhile now and it wasn't until I read that they finally had a 24 hr bar that I said ok, I'm going!!! So glad I did. The people here are great!!! And for the most part most of the reviews I have read are pretty accurate. It is like camping, a little rustic. No you don't get any of those little bottles of shampoo or soap so bring your own. And I wouldn't recommend this for people traveling with kids because there is nothing here for them to keep them amused. I traveled with friends but I always get my own room. Because I am single occupancy I didn't have a choice of rooms. I was only allowed to take oceanview room (which was fine with me anyways, I loved my room except for the 3 large spiders I found on the last night). This was different for me(which is what I was looking for) Small resort in the country among the locals. I ate at 3 different peoples house. Which was terrific. We all went to a pig roast at Wilbers house down the road. Such a good time. I brought 2 suitcases down with gifts for people( alot lighter weight going home LOL) I went into the 2 classroom school and handed out tons of gifts ( crayons, markers, colouring books, pens, tooth brush and tooth paste) to the kids.It makes you feel good to help others. I even took the reins and drove the horse and buggy to Santa Lucia and back. And no one fell out or got hurt, so I passed my license. LOL I read alot of reviews about this hotel in the past about being only half full, which is why they opened up the bar 24 hrs. To bring more people so that they don't end up having to close the resort. The resort was booked to the max while I was there, as a matter of fact they had actually over booked and were asking some of the tourists if they would spend there last night at a hotel in Holguin (guess there not use to so many people wanting to come here), which is good because now the resort will stay pen and even be able to get upgrades now. I have nothing bad at all to say about this cute little resort except for the people that have nothing to do but complain...... Some people work hard so that they can have a holiday, whine down and have fun not everyone is RETIRED. Life's an adventure, enjoy life and have fun. You only live once. Stop complaining about people around you. I had a lady knock on my door on my last night there and asked me to keep it down I was in my room by myself getting ready to go to the bar. She said she had heard me talking outside my room the night before for about 1/2 an hour. I said to her I was in bed by midnight, she says I know but I go to bed at 9 pm. SERIOUSLY!! I can understand if I was making a lot of noise but commenting on the awesome looking moon that night with my neighbor and talking ( maybe a little too loud) but going to bed at 9 pm. Maybe you should do what I do, BRING EARPLUGS AND KEEP THEM BESIDE YOUR BED or if your that worried about noise at night Stay at home in your quiet little nest egg. Sorry but some people that like to cause trouble. I have never complained about anyone when I travel, and if I did have a problem I would just quietly ask for a different room. Other than that This little resort is awesome. And thanks to the group of west coasters that showed up that know how to have fun. Thumbs up to you guys!!! I WILL be back in Nov. and staying in the same area but will try to get the oceanview room closer to the bar. Thanks for reading guys!!

      • birdsofafeather1
        richiehere
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “An excellent budget resort ”
        Villa Don Lino is an excellent small resort which should appeal to many tourists looking for good value. This resort would most likely not suit someone looking for ?action.? During my visit March 11-25. Aside from several Cuban families enjoying some vacation days at Don Lino pretty much all the guests were Canadian, many of them retired. Some of the retirees were spending upwards of 6 weeks at the resort. There were several families with younger children and a goodly number of solo guests of all ages however not many teens. Considering that don Lino is such a small resort, 100 rooms in total, the food was fairly good and always had a choice. I often skipped the lunch buffet preferring just a sandwich and french fries from the snack bar adjoining the main bar overlooking the ocean. The a la carte dining room offered beef, chicken or lobster, the lobster at an additional cost of 9 CUC. There is also a lobby bar which offers excellent cappuccino or espresso and liqueurs, should you wish, ask for St Clair it?s a reasonable Cuban facsimile of Baileys. During my visit they had it periodically at the lobby bar where you can also shoot a game of pool. At the 24 hour main bar, if Reuben is working he can concoct a dangerously strong imitation of a brown cow. That was where many of us, a group I call the Gooders spent a lot of time. If you want quiet you wouldn?t want a room in close proximity to the pool and stage it can be noisy. Bungalow rooms are newer in two storey frame buildings and offer a bar fridge which the rooms don?t. A few friends who stayed in the bungalows found them rather noisy when guests were coming and going. The beach is beautiful, a guesstimate about 200 metres long, 20 metres wide, great for walking, shelling and sunning, lots of palapas and no shortage of sun beds but not so great to swim off, too many rocks and coral so take water shoes with you, however if you walk about 20 metres down the road from reception to the taxi stand do a left through a bit of bush you will find a beautiful uncrowded little beach for easy swimming however there are no sun beds there. Canadians, be sure to take a voltage converter. My first room # 1037 was great, very quiet, a short walk to the main bar and dining room, double bed, sitting area, satellite t.v., stand up shower, beach towels in the room, safe and lots of hot water, it had both 110 and 220 outlets. Step out my front door from 1037 and the beach was 5 metres away; unfortunately after a week a partier moved in next door, after being awakened the first night 11p.m. that wasn?t too bad but the next night it happened at3:45a.m. I requested a change and was moved to 1038 still o/v but not quite so close to the beach. It provided twin beds and was in a newer building but only had 220 so it required a converter to charge my camera batteries. My housekeepers were excellent, always providing fresh towels and keeping my room spick and span. A real highlight of my visit, a group of us took in a baseball game in Holguin about 45 minutes away, Holguin vs. Villa Clara, quite an experience. Loud and noisy from start to finish, when a Holguin player hit a grand slam home run it was really celebration time. One minor problem, the resort doesn?t offer currency exchange facilities so upon arrival if you have time before your bus leaves you could go to the exchange office the ?cadeca? in the air port check in area, take the first door on your left once you leave the baggage area and buy some Convertible Pesos. Failing that you could take a little excursion from the resort either by taxi or horse and buggy to a bank in Santa Lucia a town about 8 kilometres from the resort. Horse and buggy is a fun and leisurely way to do it snapping lots of pics, it?s a rural area so you?ll see Cuban farms, farmers at work some even using oxen, small houses smiling students, house wives and little kids waving a greeting, the cost should be about 15 CUC return, agree on the price first. Another little day trip by horse and buggy, 6 CUC return is to Playa Blanca only 2 kilometres away. It offers an attractive sandy beach for a swim plus a couple of inexpensive family restaurants. If you have the energy you could walk or make use of a free bike. Should you wish tennis courts and free horse back riding are also available. For the most part this is a great resort for getting off the real world, fantastic staff, always pleasant and eager to help.As for the guests it was also one of the friendliest resorts I?ve visited, possibly because the guests were as unpretentious as the resort, so lots of email and face book exchanges. If you can do without all the bells and whistles and have realistic expectations you?ll have a memorable visit and be making plans to return. Personally, I?m one of many looking forward to my next visit.

      • birdsofafeather1
        madgasOttawa
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Leave you party hat home, inhale, stretch your legs and wiggle your toes ”
        My wife and I visited this resort from March 12 to 19. This was our sixth time in Cuba and we were very much drawn to Don Lino by the combination of low price, (we had paid $800 each a month previous, although I would learn that if one waits until the last minute, a week could be had for as little as $450.00) and great reviews. We were in desperate need of a quiet getaway in the sun and this place seemed perfect; we were not disappointed! Having visited this establishment I can definitely concur with many of the great reviews. Instead of writing a full report I shall endeavour to add an addendum based on our personal experiences. Our first couple of nights were spent in 1028, one of the little cabanas, (or Stalin's bunkers, all concrete, all the time), a stone's throw from the beach. This is one of the original units, from the seventies, that has yet to be upgraded. It is Spartan, with very little space to store your belongings, and dark, having no lights in the sleeping area. There is no bathtub, only a shower stall. There is also a safe, but, unlike in the bigger resorts, it works with what looks like a bicycle lock key. Many of the tiles on the floor are cracked and there is a suggestion of mildew just about everywhere. The mattresses are revolutionary-era and ours had a few springs that were loose. There is a space for a little fridge, and forever it shall be know as such. Even though we were led to believe that one could request a fridge, they apparently meant it in the most literal way: you can request all you like but it will never happen. There is an air conditioning unit that is very efficient, but the digital display is bright enough to allow planes to land at the airport. If you like to sleep in the dark, like me, you might have to improvise and drape your underwear over it. It is tiny and somewhat dated, yes, but everything works, and you sure can?t beat the location. In fact, this was our first experience in Cuba with full water pressure and hot water on demand. Our second night we experienced a torrential downpour and our unit started to flood. NO, it was not through the roof, but rather, in a typically pleasant Cuban way, the water had made its way through the inside of the bathroom wall and was pouring out at floor grade. Conveniently, there was a water drain nearby and with my expert placement of our towels the water was safely directed toward it. Not a big problem. The fire ants, the following day, were, however. They are tiny little creatures but with a very nasty bite. We are country folk and very much accustomed to cohabitating with wildlife, but I was given the order to start packing immediately . Our next abode was room 1106, one of the new bungalow units. Forward thirty years and you have a bathtub, comfortable beds, with the mini me Delta Hotel body pillows that seem so popular with the ladies, an electronic safe, ikea lite accessories, and, yes, a mini fridge. Yes, our tv set was somewhat bi -polar and in need of an excorcism , the remote was not working, the volume controlled the channels, and sometimes the channel control turned the unit off, and one had to send out a diplomatic mission to the adjoining bee colony before lounging on our balcony, it was a very functional and comfortable room. One important thing for people who are allergic to varnish, these rooms are wood paneled from head to toe and had received a liberal dose of the stuff. Be sure to inspect the room before accepting it. I must add here how impressed we were with the front desk . It was no hassle at all to change rooms and the faulty safe in our new room was fixed in less than half an hour. The food was a little better than what we had expected at Don Lino. It was a fairly typical resort affair, with lesser quantity and selection. I was most impressed with the number of times the ?meatball? was resurrected , from breakfast to lunch and dinner. We did have fried fish one night and the Cuban rice pudding is absolutely amazing. There is a grilling station which serves omelettes made to order in the morning, fried rice and various meats for lunch and dinner. You?ll never have to wait in line for more than a few minutes. Service ranges from attentive to benign neglect. It is best to grab coffee cups and spoons as soon as you see them; they tend to run out of them on busy mornings. They will also fill your water bottles for the day. The washroom facilities adjacent to the restaurant are abysmal. I know that proper plumbing and socialism are still getting acquainted, none the less, no running water and soap to wash your hands before a meal is not acceptable. This has to be addressed. The snack bar serves up pretty good fries, sweet potato/plantain chips and those grilled cheese sandwiches that Tim Hortons just can?t seem to get right. Service tapers off after midnight and only sandwiches are available after that. The new A la carte serves chicken, beef and, for ten CUC , giant lobster. The building is almost down on the beach, with decorative sand covered tables and floor . The food is well cooked and presented and the young woman who runs the place is very pleasant. Tip accordingly. The grounds are well kept . Be on the lookout for early morning bovine and equine visitors and their telltale manurial souvenirs. The beach is very beautiful , and best access is by the a la carte shack. Bring water shoes, sea urchins abound, and a decent snorkel set; there is live coral, with all of its magnificent flora and fauna, just beyond the surf. At low tide one can easily walk there, however, there is a slight undertow at high tide, so it is best to travel in pairs. Don Lino has been the first place in Cuba that one does not have to engage in the pugilistic endeavour of securing beach chairs; they are practically weeds here. The main lobby is about the size of a closet in comparison to bigger resorts , but that is its main charm. If you are a poster child for the international introvert society, like myself, grab one of the tables out on the veranda with a book and a cigar. It is a great place to observe the interaction of the local taxi and carriage drivers by the main entrance. And speaking of cigars, Don Lino has none, unless you consider the ubiquitous Guantanamera brand a cigar. If you do not, plan on visiting the other resorts or the cigar shop in Guardalavaca, otherwise one is condemned to puff on Montecristo cigarellos. The lobby is also the only place for a specialty coffee, but only after seven a.m. The quality of the drinks varies depending on the servers: don?t be afraid to take your drink back, they will gladly fix it to your specifications/satisfaction. The little store is open whenever the proprietor feels like it; usually after nine up until noon and then from one until five, or six, or nine. Take your pick. What it lacks in cigars it more than makes up for in hair care products but curiously enough, is devoid of suncare lotion. Chips are also available, at 4.50 CUC, as are some waffle type sweets and salted nuts. 500 ml of water are also available but do not bother with these. If you do not have a your own water bottle then slip some money to one of the bartenders and they will gladly hand over a 1.5 liter plastic bottle of water which you can refill with filtered water at the lobby bar, the restaurant or the 24hr bar. The bathrooms here often run out of toilet paper and soap, it might be a good idea to carry a small supply of both of those with you. Entertainment is all provided by local talent and ranges from the lows of farts and belches of an ad hoc comedy routine to the highs of a pretty impressive water ballet troupe from Holquin. The swimming pool is of Liliputian design, slightly bigger that the tub I use to wash my dogs in and mainly used by Cubans who seem to enjoy eating their meals while in it. There is a smaller, shallower section, which is great for children. The much touted bicycles are there, yes, and much in use by the local staff. I would not venture past the front gate with them, however; they are distant cousins of the 1950?s automobiles that you will ride in but nowhere near as dependable. Do like others and bring your own bike, which you might be able to sell before departure to one of the locals for some CUC. There have been a great many suggestions made as to how to improve this resort. With improvements comes a higher rating , higher fees and more importantly more people. For me, an earlier coffee service and a fully functioning bathroom facility would be an improvement, but these are first world concerns. Don Lino is a great place to catch up on your reading and meet eccentric and eclectic people. Would I come back here? For $800, more than likely. For $600, absolutely.

      • birdsofafeather1
        tobyandhelo
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “An introvert's paradise. ”
        Don Lino is a small, quiet resort with entirely acceptable if not luxurious rooms, simple, well prepared though not too varied, food, friendly and helpful staff and a nice mix of North American and Cuban guests. The resort sits almost directly on the beach, so in the evening one can take a drink from the beach bar and safely stroll across the sand to perch on a lounge chair and stargaze while the waves crash on the shore. Upside: plenty of room to find a quiet corner to read a book, horse riding available at the resort, bicycles available to ride into the nearby village of Playa Blanca, uncrowded beach, lots of Cuban country life close at hand to explore, excursions to nearby towns easily arranged, great music both traditional and otherwise, staff who are like family to each other and who seem to really like their jobs, a safe environment, great place for families with young children. Downside: swimming is difficult (but not impossible) because of rocks (bring water shoes) sea urchins and a bit of an undertow. (However at low tide, there are cool tidal pools for little kids to play in.) 1 km away Playa Blanca is a great place to get that turquoise water, sandy floor, floating on gentle waves fix. It's walkable or you can take a horse and coach ride from a local driver for a couple of pesos. Another downside: shopping is not an option except by arranging either a group or solo excursion. The closest market town is about 30 min away by car. The pool is tiny and usually full of kids, not really swimmable, more for soaking or cooling off. The guests tend to be seniors, families with small children and people travelling solo. Not a party scene. However, if partying is not your thing, no worries. Also, there is no bank at Don Lino so change money at the airport upon arrival. This resort is not 5 star luxury in the heart of party central. It is intimate, offering ample opportunities for solitude and for meeting other people who like simple pleasures. It's clean and friendly and relaxed. I would definitely go back.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Tracy B
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Little piece of heaven”
        Just returned from our week at Villa Don Lino......If you remember it is a 3 star in Cuba and don't sweat the small stuff you will have a wonderful vacation. No line ups are a beautiful thing! Check in is a breeze. The grounds are clean as are the rooms. Remember that they don't have a Canadian Tire....so the carpentry is rough. We had ants half way thru the week...told the front desk and the cleaning ladies have spray...no biggy. Did have a couple strings of pearls taken from our room....reported it and lo and behold the cleaning lady found them! hmmmm LOL Oh well....partly my fault for leaving them on the desk....to much temptation. Long story short...after telling the "repeat offenders" and managers about it.... my pearls found there way home. The buffet restaurant is ok. Always something to eat. Great omlette bar there in the mornings. If that fails there is always the snack bar at he beach. French fries! The A La Cart is a dream! The chicken is good.....beef ok....and free whenever you want! For 9 Cuc have the lobster there a night tho....worth it and to die for! The resort also offers a free Catamoran trip...go...it was nice. If you want to go out and explore its nice to take a cab and make a day of it....see Ruben or junior (bar staff)....they both have cab buisness as well and will look after you. The anamation staff tries very hard. They offer free bikes, and free horse back riding as well. The house band is great! All the entertainment staff is pretty good....they work for free so tips are greatly appreciated! Also one of the nurses gives massages....she asks 15cuc but will do it for 10....also nice and relaxing. The beach bar is 24hrs. They will not skimp on the rum! The lobby bar will make coffee for you if you ask before the buffet opens in the morning at 7:30 if your an early riser!! So in conclusion....great vacation for the price. If you want 5 star then go to one....if you are able to enjoy lifes adventures go to Don Lino! We can't wait to go back!!!!!

      • birdsofafeather1
        ritafw
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Simple and relaxing! ”
        I stayed at the lovely Don lino from jan26-feb3 2014. This was my first trip to Cuba. The grounds and cabins were beautiful! The staff were helpful and friendly! The food was o.k and the drinks were plentyful!. Room- Was bright and clean. I wouldnt have changed a thing. Food- The food changed daily (although leftovers from lunch were often served for supper... but waist not want not) There was always rice,beans,meat,vegetables,yucca,soup,fresh fruit, puddings and cake. There was a made per order eggs station in the morning and at supper there was usually fresh fish or pork done to order. there was also a really lovely a la carte with 3 4 course options in a seperate building where I had the local rock lobster. - One of my best meals though was eaten in plya blanca with a local family. Consalo was his name. A very fiesty fisherman and his lovely family served up fresh caught red snapper,rice and beans, fried plantain and beer. He only charged 10 pesos but was worth much more. He would really like an Ipod to listen to music while he is fishin if anyone goes down there with a used one! Entertainment- There was a big lack of entertainment at Don lino. The band at supper was always great but it would have been nice to do some dancing in the evenings. Getting around- Hop on a buggy with Osmond as your guide! He has lots of enthusiam and has a radio hooked up for fun music where ever you go. I went daily over to play blanca( the nicest beach! buy a beer and some fried plantains and set up camp for a while) and twice to Santa Lucia. One complaint- the front desk crew could warm up a little! Not the friendliest bunch! One nice thing this place is quiet, clean and relaxing! A big hello to Jesus,Angel, Ruban, the breakfast woman, the nurses and the lovely woman with the white flower in her hair for there happy helpful energy!

      • birdsofafeather1
        holasun2011
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Great Vacation!! ”
        As mentioned by a previous TA poster, I was wary about booking a 2 star, but after reading the reviews I decided to give the Don Lino a try. The hotel is located in the country on a small beach, about 8 km from Rafael Freyre, also referred to as Santa Lucia. If you are looking to hotel hop or be in party central this is not the place for you. However if you are looking for a laid back relaxing time, read on. The location of the hotel is somewhat secluded with a small village named Playa Blanca located a short walking distance from the hotel. I found the hotel rooms and the grounds to be very clean. The pool and beach were cleaned every morning and had plenty of lounge chairs and palapas. The hotel store was open every day during my stay. Just know that a large tin Pringles cost more than a bottle of Rum...but this is Cuba...so bring your own chips!! The beach is rocky with coral and is accessible, however, some guests ventured out to the other beaches in the area. One beach is located next to the hotel on the former Don Lino site and the other in Playa Blanca which is a short walk away...15 to 20 minutes depending on how fast you walk. You do not have to worry if you are on your own, the locals are very friendly and welcoming. You can purchase snacks and drinks by the beach and fruits from the locals in Playa Blanca. The food at buffet was well presented and tasty, yes some of the items at the buffet were served daily, but I did not go hungry by any means. If you get tired of the buffet selection you can always go to the snack bar. The snack bar varies its selection of food daily and while I was there they offered hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, pizza, croquettes and sandwiches. Note that the snack bar is not open when the buffet is serving meals. The a la carte is a very new addition to the hotel services. Something to check out. The food was well seasoned and the plating is beautiful. There is a lot of food at each meal so make sure you are hungry. The lobster and shrimp dinners were 9 CUC per person. The chicken and beef dinners were served at no extra charge. Reservations are required and can be booked through the Public Relations desk in the lobby. Adrian and his staff are doing a great job. Keep up the good work. The coffee in Cuba in my opinion, is the best. As mentioned by others, coffee is not readily available before 7:30 am. Hopefully with the suggestions from the tourists, this will change. You will find that the staff are very open to reasonable suggestions. I did not participate in any excursions, therefore no comments on that front. As far as currency exchange, I arrived in Holguin late at night and was able to change currency in the departure area of the airport. The bus driver had no problem waiting. There is no bank at the hotel, so if by some chance the airport exchange desk is not open, speak to Fernando the Sunwing rep, as he provides an exchange service. The front desk will change CUC bills to change when it is available and the bar staff were more than willing to provide change from their tip containers. Overall I enjoyed my stay at the Don Lino, met some great people and had a great time. The staff are very kind and helpful, and service was always accompanied with a smile. There were several guests who were repeat offenders and I can see why. I had a wonderful relaxing time and would definately go back.

      • birdsofafeather1
        john m
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Wonderful Loved it ”
        My wife and I stayed at Don Lino from January 18th to Feb 1th 2014 and loved it. The staff could not do enough for you the room was clean and the food was well Cubian. If you are looking for a relaxing stay this is the place. We are taking our famliy including our one year old grandson back next year. If you want to go on a carrage ride find Yordanis out front of the main gate. He may not speak english, but a very nice and helpful. He took us into town and found everything we were looking for spending the whole day for 20 CUC (we gave him 50 CUC becouse he was so nice) Thank you to all the staff for being so great

      • birdsofafeather1
        rancholunagardens
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Don Lino - Feb 2014 ”
        Stayed at Don Lino for 3 weeks, Jan to Feb 2014. Beach has a lot of coral and is windy so you really need beach shoes. Staff is very friendly. Food is typical Cuban 3 star fine for a week but after 3 weeks was tried of it. A bit spread out so best to get a room near the pool if you don't want to walk. Village close by is interesting. Most of the tours are a hour or so away and it is up to you to find out what is available. Love the dogs there, keeps you from missing your own. Bikes are old and can be hard to get but they are free. Change your money at the airport as you can't at the hotel. Loved the group there, Punto Cero, great lead quitar. Water show is also very good. Weather was hot. Would go back.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Chris and Linda D
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “first but not last visit”
        We were hesitant to book a 2 star, but the great reviews tipped the scales and we spent 2 weeks at this little gem of a hotel. The staff were absolutely wonderful, and the repeaters were helpful and friendly. No request seemed to be too much trouble, everyone was willing to do what they could to ensure the enjoyment of their guests. One of the most surprising things for us was the food. We have traveled to many different areas of Cuba at 3-4 stars, but have rarely had food that was so nicely seasoned and well prepared. Although the choices at each meal are limited to 4 or 5 hot choices, each dish was well presented and quite tasty! Salad items were fresh and flavourful, soup was good. The grill always had pleasant surprises, turkey, ham, beef stir fry and chicken fried rice to name a few. One complaint - after the first week, I was unable to get coffee in the morning until the restaurant opened, During our first week there were carafes of coffee and hot milk at the beach bar, but that seemed to have stopped after a few days. The cappuccino machine in the lobby bar was not working a couple of days, but when it was it was great! Management was pretty quick to get the repair crew in to fix it when there was a problem. Book the a la carte at least once, the presentation is great, the service is 5* and the food is amazing. Beef or chicken is at no charge or you can order shrimp or lobster for 9 cuc. Book with Ana at reception. Our room was at the top end near reception in the older buildings. We had no problems what-so-ever with it, even during a few days of torrential rain. It was clean and bright with a great view of the ocean from the front porch. The walk into the fishing village at Playa Blanca is about 15 minutes with lots of friendly locals to speak to. There is a fruit stand about 1/2 way in and I highly recommend buying some bananas to enjoy. You get about 2 dozen mini bananas for 1 cuc! When you get to Playa Blanca there are a few stands that sell pizza (delicious), beer, pop etc so you can make a day of it and enjoy this lovely beach. If you enjoy fishing, ask one of the locals to take you. There are many places to fish from shore, or they may have a boat and are able to take you out. You can buy shrimp for a peso or two for bait. Take your own pole down or you can hand line fish like the locals. You can also visit the monument placed where Christopher Columbus first stepped onto land in the Americas. Most of the excursions from the hotel are roughly the same price. To go out on the catamaran fishing it costs approx 80 cuc per person, 50 for the fishing and 30 to get you to the marina. The same is true for most of the water trips. You can create your own trip and hire bartender Ruben and taxi through some beautiful countryside visiting points of interest. As an example, Ruben can take you to either Gardalavaca or Holguin for a tour then on to the gorgeous waterfalls and Unesco park, (after an amazing lunch - included) for 250 cuc. You travel through some breathtaking areas on the way. Four people max for this price, and worth every penny. I have posted some pictures of the waterfall and restaurant. The rain at the beginning of our trip shows an area that could be improved upon...there is no entertainment at all when the weather is bad. It would be nice to see games in the lobby or at the beach bar to keep folks entertained. Set up a dart board or organize card games, trivia games, bean bag toss, pool volleyball or anything to keep people from getting bored. They do have music playing all the time at both bars, which is a plus. While we were there we saw many of official looking folks who were assessing the hotel. After their visit, Don Lino was upgraded to a 3 star! The staff were very proud of this accomplishment, as well they should be. It is undoubtedly down to them that this upgrade was achieved. At the end of the trip the question is, "would you go back?" Answer.....yes!!

      • birdsofafeather1
        Matinee111
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “Great place! ”
        If you are looking for a great no-frills location, quiet, clean and friendly, this is it! By the end of the week you will know most of the people there. Taxis available at the entrance to visit any of the areas that interest you.

      • birdsofafeather1
        robertafrog
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Very good Very good

        “One of my favourite places ”
        My second visit and I immediately noticed the improvements. The addition of strategically placed benches, refinishing of the doors and new paint on the older units as well as ongoing on the newer 2 storey buildings, which I prefer. They are very modern with small fridge, bathtub and hair dryers. Although the balcony may seem small to some, it is a perfect place for a quiet read. Fernando and Felix, the two travel reps were fantastic and very helpful. Felix whom we met 2 years ago, recognized us immediately as well as several of the staff. Was quite a homecoming in many ways. The pool is not huge but one of the best maintained I have come across in Cuba, the countryside is gorgeous and the people very friendly when you go for a walk which we love to do. Food is on par with the star rating but the selection has definitely expanded, there is something for everyone. The soups are fantastic and for my part I would be quite happy with the rice, salads, fresh fruit and the awesome cheese. We ate twice in the new a la carte restaurant. MARVEOUS!! Beautifully set tables, excellent service and the meal presentation was almost a work of art. Adrian has done an amazing job and I wish him much success with the new venture. The 24 hour pool bar is a great addition that does not generate a lot of noise, it's just nice to be able to sit and chat a little longer over drinks. I realize the Capaccino machine is a major expense but hope they will consider adding one to the pool bar for we people who think COFFEE at 5 am. This location has been one of the best for me. Quiet, relaxing, and at the same time everyone was very friendly, visitors as well as staff.

      • birdsofafeather1
        RandySusan5760
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Excellent Excellent

        “par siempre ”
        Don Lino te amo if you go you will know. From the front entrance to the tearful departures it is our paradise you know who you are. Can't wait to get back! The locals are an amazing addition to your experience. If the amenities are your focus go somewhere else. Don Lino will always try to accommodate you if they can. There are friends waiting to be met there. There is no filet mignon or escargot but there is Caribbean lobster and lot's of fun if your into that no frills kinda holidays. You may like it we are still assessing every trip. See you there R+S.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Tay7
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Excellent Excellent

        “Well worth the money and very friendly people! ”
        My mom, aunt and my moms 2 best friends and I all took off to Don Lino from March 19th-26th! Are flight was delayed on the 19th, so we didn't end up getting to the resort until 2:00am. Wasn't the best frost impression, but as the week went along it certainly made up for that. It was my first time down south and next year when I go back it'll be at this resort again! The workers and locals are the nicest people you will ever come across. We all felt like one big family!! I recommend booking your horse and buggy rides with Oshmel, he is great! Also ask to meet his son, so sweet. His name is Isaac. If you are looking for a taxi ride somewhere's book with Jorge or his son Yoander!! They will take you wherever you would like to go and also hangout with you all day, spent 2 days with them. It was great!! Yoander took us to a restaurant in Santa Lucia called tulips, go there... Amazing food. Also if you like to get your nails done ask the horse and buggy guy named Oshmel to book you and appointment, only 5 pesos and just down the down from the resort! Only thing I wasn't fond on was the food on the resort (I am a picky eater) breakfast was always great tho!

      • birdsofafeather1
        gary c
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Excellent Excellent

        “very good hotel ”
        just returned from don lino after a 2 week stay staff was very helpful been there 6 times and only complaint is sunwing rep ferando he is useless he speaks 5 or 6 languages and is full of it in all if no money to be made from you he is not intrested no help at all but the hotel is a real pleasure and the staff are the best can not wait to get back will deal with cubana so not to have ferando as a rep

      • birdsofafeather1
        Bob C
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Excellent Excellent

        “Summer camp for adults ”
        I really wanted to give the Villa Don Lino a poor review. Part of me says that if I praise this little gem, then it may become too popular. It is not that we didn?t thoroughly enjoy the warm and friendly staff, or the meticulous cleanliness and maintenance of the resort, or the wonderful people we met who return to this place every year (the ?repeat offenders?), the real Cuban experience, or the charming summer camp atmosphere of the place, it is just the idea of people ignoring the star-rating system and it all getting overrun and spoiled somehow. Too bad in a way though. Let?s just say, we had a terrible time (not.. we loved it) and will never do that again (can?t wait to go back). Bob & Jane, Ottawa.

      • birdsofafeather1
        sikitula
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Excellent Excellent

        “Great for me, Great for my 10 year old ”
        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.

      • birdsofafeather1
        Peter
        Review about Villa Don Lino Hotel
        Average Average

        Just for a few days
        Surrounded by a reassuring ambiance, Villa Don Lino offers visitors all the appropriate conditions to enjoy a pleasant stay. It is located 57 kilometers from Holguín's International Airport and 30 kilometers from Guardalavaca Beach. The beach is 280 meters long and 50 meters wide. Don Lino has become famous as The Great Little Beach because it boasts a thousand charms in a tiny belt of sand. The indigenous natural surroundings brighten up the spot, which are planted with coconut palms and caleta grape vines.