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“Mahekal is "Magical!"”

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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #28 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 15 February 2012

My husband and I discovered Mahekal when it was named, "Shangri-La Caribe" and no matter the name, this resort is fantastic and one-of-a-kind! We have stayed at this resort several times with just the two of us, with our boys and with other couples. Every time seems to be better than the last, if that's possible.

Our last visit was in early December with friends and we had one of the beach view bungalows. Ours was the second row from the front and right on the pathway leading to the bar. We were upgraded to this one and it had a few extra amenities and upgraded decor pieces. Outside the patio we had two large planters and in addition to the normal hammock hanging on the patio, we had some pretty little lanterns, that staff would light at night, giving a real romantic and beach vibe to our little home.

Inside the room we had two double beds, small desk and chair, two large closets, and sweet, stylish bathroom. A wooden, sliding door was the entrance to the bathroom and inside was a funky, metal mirror and wooden pegs to hang towels and clothing. It was updated and just really simple and cool.

Keep in mind, if you are a regular at a "W" hotel or "The Ritz" then this may not be for you. The bathroom is small and simple, and yes, you will have a few tiny, teeny ants once-in-awhile around the sink. It's the beach. Little guys get in and no, you will not die.

I love the chunky, wooden blinds that open up to let the fresh ocean air in and sounds of the birds. This resort has all the amenities you NEED. Nothing extra. No tvs, no radios, no clocks, no telephones...it's Heaven.

The Beach. Let's get down to business. The Beach. I think the section of beach in front of Mahekal is some of the best in Playa del Carmen. Yes, it changes. In December there were sections of the beach that were just completely gone; right up to the porches of the beach bungalows. But I bet it's already changed again. The beach is just amazing. It's the best place to relax on the chairs under a palapa and people watch. Complete relaxation. And no beach vendors to ask you to purchase something. It's awesome. You can drink, eat, sleep, read, laugh, talk, play in the ocean, love your partner, hate your partner, play frisbee or just be on this beach.

Breakfast and Dinner. I LOVE Breakfast at this resort. I've said it before, and I'll say it again,"It's my happy place." I love walking down the beach to the pool area and huge palapa breakfast room or walking down the gorgeous, tiled pathway. Either way you get to take in all the beauty of the ocean and beautiful flora and fauna of the resort. The landscaping is amazing and so gorgeous. They obviously take a tremendous amount of pride in keeping up the appearance of the grounds and it shows.

We love sitting poolside and enjoying breakfast outside. You can either order off the menu, Heuvos Motulenos is soooo good! Or you can go inside and select a nice hearty breakfast from the items they have to offer buffet style. Dry cereals, breads, oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruit, meats, cheeses and fresh fruit juices. I think it is really good and a nice way to start the day.

The staff are all sweet, friendly and will do anything for you! I cannot say enough about all of them. They make a simple cup of coffee a real treat. I was really wistful when I enjoyed my last breakfast there, knowing that the next morning I wouldn't have the luxury of walking down the beach to have these wonderful people make my day brighter.

The Sunday night Fiesta is really good. Although we spend most of our time experiencing all that Fifth Avenue has to offer, the Sunday night is something that you should do. The array of dishes that are served are all delicious and give you a real taste of some traditional Mexican food.

Again the same wait staff are eager to make your Fiesta fun and they love to offer you a "tequila slammer" before being seated. It's cute how they watch for your reaction. We love to cheese it up and ask for another! lol

The best part of the evening is the Marache band that comes around to the tables and plays. The musicians are extremely talented and have a great sense of humor. When you get into it, they love it and get into it and it's so much fun!

Mahekal is truly a place to relax and enjoy yourself and your family. The staff are warm, welcoming and work so hard to make your vacation memorable. I am so excited that I am returning in April. Mahekal, here I come!

Room Tip: We have stayed in pretty much each type of room and they all have their pluses. I think it really i...
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with friends
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9  Thank Michelle V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Victoria C, Director of Sales at Mahekal Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 20 February 2012

Dear ChellinND

We thank you so much for taking the time to share your marvelous experience at our Mahekal Beach Resort, indeed re- named Mahekal for its magical effect on our guests. It is wonderful to know we were able to make your vacation a memorable event again. All of us here are proud to represent such a jewel as Mahékal where our goal is to please our guests. I am delighted that you enjoyed our facilities, meals, music, and beach and that we will soon see you again. Our friendly staff will be here to welcome you. I will share with them your kind words.

Thank you again for your comments and for sharing your photos. We look forward to welcome you back soon.

Victoria Campos
Director of Sales & Marketing

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Reviewed 11 February 2012

I have stayed at many, many hotels from rock bottom to ultra spiffy. Mahekal is not spiffy by any means but it is charming, lovely and has many plusses. First, the staff are wonderful. Everyone is friendly and they were very responsive to our requests. The setting is great. We had an upstairs ocean view room which was private and the view was beautiful. The rooms are simple but adequate and the beds (or at least our bed) are very comfortable. The grounds are well maintained and very clean. I did not miss having a tv or phone at all because my idea of vacation is really getting away from the world. The beach is great and is right there. Our only quibble here is that Wifi throughout the complex, as opposed to the bar and the lobby, would be great. The location is good ... far enough away from 5th Avenue to get away from the crowds but close enough to be able to walk there easily. Breakfast and lunch are good. Unfortunately, the two times we had dinner, the food was abysmal. The entrees included in the "free" meal are very limited. You have to pay extra for premium choices. Don't waste your money! The food at dinner was not worth it. However, lunches were fresh and delicious. My husband and I both had massages which were wonderful. The bar was a lot of fun. The bar staff was very friendly and efficient. As nice as it was, I would definitely not stay here during the rainy season. The palapa roofs are not waterproof!

I was disappointed with the town, especially 5th Avenue which is one long, often tacky, tourist strip. The restaurants on the Avenue are mediocre and way overpriced. Do not bother buying any basics, such as wine, beer, tequila, etc. there as they probably cost half at the grocery store or Wallmart. There are some places to note however. The restaurant directly across the street (Origines) is very good and they had great live music at dinner. The monkey joint up the street is also very good and nicely funky. And there is a nice place at the corner of 38th and 5th to get coffee.

If you are looking for upscale luxury, glitz and lots of action, don't waste your time at Mahekal. If you want a laid back and relaxing experience, give it a try. I would definitely come back to the resort. Playa del Carmen I am not so sure about as I prefer to have authentic experiences.

Room Tip: Stay away from beach front units unless you like half the world strolling 5 feet in front of your pa...
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank nolaChicago_Illinois
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2012

My husband and I hadn't been away without kids for 10 years. Mahekal was the perfect choice for us. We had breakfast and lunch at the hotel and we were able to explore the great dining options in Playa at night. The restaurant directly across the street, Origenes, was superb! One of the highlights of our trip. The snorkeling excursions from the hotel were very good. If your walk down the beach right past where the boats are and swim out to where the last one is, there is a fantastic reef right there. We've snorkeled in a lot of places and this was right up there with the best of them.

Breakfast was good, with limited options. Same with lunch. We ate dinner there one night and were unimpressed. Anything that we liked on the menu was "extra.".

Can't say enough about the people who work there. EVERYONE was nice. We had an ocean view room and we were glad we chose that instead of ocean front. The ocean front rooms were literally ON the beach, which is cool, but there are people laying out and walking past all day. Not much privacy. The rooms are simple, but comfortable. Would recommend this resort for adults more than kids.

Room Tip: 16a had an ocean view and was steps to the sand. 16b on the top would have stunning views and offer...
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Nancy929x
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2012

This resort is by no means a 4 star resort. I would say 2 1/2 at best. Secrets is a 4 star resort with 5 award winning restaurants! This is not even close.

Some things were good, not great:
*Comfy bed, great mattress
*Location on beach was pretty good, however, the resort is smack dab in the middle of a public beach access. Guess what, you get the overflow of families parking themsevles right in front of you blocking your beautiful view with their umbrellas. On the other hand, it is a short walk to the center of town and much better food.
*Staff was overall friendly and helpful. Did get the feeling that front desk was very full of themselves and not very accommadating or friendly.

NOT SO GOOD STUFF:
*ROOMS-yuck, A/C didnt work properly, porch ceiling leaked and you could see the buildup of mold, no fridge, no tv, no phone (they dont want you to bother them), no iron, NO INTERNET SERVICE except in lobby and bar area! OMG this is 2012. Get full service internet!

*The first room, 2P we had was small, no drawer space, with tiny bathroom and deck area looked right out into public access! We then took over our friends room when they left early, 1P, same price but their room had large bathroom, large living space, drawers, larger deck overlooking ocean.

*Rooms themselves were in need of upgrading. Original workmanship was crappy. Tiles didn't match, tiles were not even or level. I could have done a better tiling job after watching youtube!

*HAPPY HOUR bar-SUCKED! where do I begin. Not enough staff, not enough seating, lasted from 5-6. Too early for normal people. NO MUSIC, one TV, 80's style furnishings, inefficient staffing, bartender actually has to write down your drink order, give it to guy at computer to make receipt, make drink, give you receipt and wait for you to sign! In a word the MOST BORING HAPPY HOUR I'VE EVER EXPERIENCED. YAWN FACTOR WAS A 10. ARE YOU ALIVE PEOPLE?

*POOL, in need of repair and updating or at least a coat of paint. Hot tube was being used as kiddie pool! Not enough chairs at either pool. Pool not heated.

*FOOD-It was at best OK. Breakfast was same everyday! Small buffet with fruit and cereal. You could order eggs any way you want them. Nothing else. Nothing special. Felt like I was home. Lunch was passable with more options. We only did dinner once as it was so bad. I would suggest going into town for dinner. Much more exciting.

* People at this resort are so boring. You need to take a pulse. Think they were asleep by 9!

Basically don't expect to be living in luxury or pampered in any way. If you want a drink while on the beach, go to Walmart and stock up. It will be faster. Then you have to keep going to bar and ask for ice, but still better deal and service if you BYOB!

Also, they nickle and dime you at ever turn. Nothing is free and there are no perks of a true 4 star hotel. you are better off staying at a nice boutique hotel in town for between $80-100 USD and eating your meals on 5th ave.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Rebecca M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
EmilioPalazuelos, General Manager at Mahekal Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 20 February 2012

Dear Rebeca M,

We appreciate your taking the time to write a comment about your experience at our resort. We regret that Mahekal did not live up to your expectations. As many others have written, Mahekal is different from the sea of all-inclusive resorts found in this area and we recognize that it is not for everyone. Mahekal is a unique, 3.5 star beachfront resort that offers authentic palapa roofed accommodations and is intentionally without TVs, radios or phones. Free internet Wifi access is offered in the lobby and our Casa Club bar and around the Caribe pool. We chose not to offer it in the cabanas because this is what most of our guests prefer and is a significant component of the overall "unplugged" experience.

Our resort and its accommodations are intentionally basic and we have many types and configurations which adds to it uniqueness. We are not a typical all-inclusive hotel. We offer a Modified American Plan that includes breakfast and dinner, or lunch. Beverages and other meals and services are not included so as to keep the basic price very affordable. In fact, the resort was named one of the region's best values by a popular travel rating service. The happy hour you described as boring is, according to Trip Advisor contributors, is quite popular. It is where many of our guests, through conversation, form long lasting friendships with people from all over the world. Your comments about our wait staff were also very surprising as this group of men are continually praised by literally hundreds of people and families on Trip Advisor and other review sites. We consider them one of our most valuable assets as they are genuinely warm and caring, something that is hard to find these days. They remember returning guests and their families by name and greet new ones openly. Having said that, they did not meet your expectation and therefore we will continue to strive to make improvements in this area. In closing, as previously mentioned, our simple, relaxed and "unplugged" beachfront concept is not for everyone, and we are truly sorry it was not for you. However, I feel compelled to mention that there are literally thousands and thousands of loyal guests who have found the resort so "Magical" that they return with their families and friends year after year, many for over 20 years in a row.

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Reviewed 30 January 2012

If you want a taste of the simple life in luxurious settings, this is the place to go! If you want to experience nature in all its beauty, this is also the place for it. Our experience at Mahekal was unique in many ways. We didn't know what to expect, but chose it simply based on customer reviews and background information, and loved it! Our conventional acception of what a holiday should be was pleasantly altered. Days begin early at around 7 am or even earlier, and the sun sets at about 5.30pm. The resort offers special thatched roof houses called "cabanas" or "palapas", with all comforts included, and nice mosaic designs on the tiled floor and in the bathroom. Food is great and the views are fantastic, no matter which angle you look from. The sand is white, the sea is right on your porch, the staff is friendly, and the sun burns even when it's cloudy or windy. Time flies too quickly though, quicker than in mainland or at home. Forget about watching TV or talking on the phone or checking your emails, you'll soon ask yourself why they were ever invented. As someone travelling to Central America from Europe for the first time, we couldn't have made a better choice~ thanks to everyone at the hotel and do book all your trips with the hotel's travel agency, they are very helpful and have some of the best offers.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank sunsoaker83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2012

Our first visit to the Mayan Riviera (after many trips to the Pacific coast of Mexico) was enhanced by the Mahekal. How often can you stay in a cabin that sits on the sand, a one minute walk from the beach? Watching the sun and moon rise from the porch, listening to the surf and relaxing in the hammocks are special pleasures. The staff was consistently friendly and helpful and the food was good. The half-board system was ideal for us. We could eat either lunch or dinner at the Mahekal, and go out on the town exploring for the other meal (and Playa has some superb restaurants!). The location -- just two blocks beyond the 5th Avenue Promenade -- was ideal. And the price was reaonable -- good value for money. This place is highly recommended!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank d4vancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2012

We loved our stay here. The room was really great as was the rest of our stay. We loved the property. Never did we miss TV or phones-they just are not necessary for a relaxing vacation. the location is perfect-a few short minute walk to great restaurants and shopping! Staff is very helpful and it really was one our our best vacations ever!! Food was great-we ate breakfast and lunch every day and choose to go to town for dinner each night- and that worked our really well for us- We cant wait to return and plan to bring my parents for a getaway soon.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank PSilvain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mahekal Beach Resort

Address: Calle 38, Entre Avenida 5a y Zona Federal Maritima, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Shangri-La Caribe)
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#17 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#20 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: £142 - £307 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Mahekal Beach Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 196
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Mahekal Beach Resort is a legendary resort village located on 800 feet of white sand beach in the heart of vibrant Playa del Carmen. It has 198 thatched roof, palapa-style bungalows within steps of Fifth Avenue, the celebrated entertainment, shopping, and restaurant district of Playa del Carmen. The thousands of loyal repeat guests at Mahekal Beach Resort describe it as magical, memorable, and authentically Yucatecan. Our style is friendly and relaxed, a unique Caribbean experience where you can rock gently in a hammock on your private terrace and enjoy undoubtedly the best beach in Playa. Our guests love the fact that we have never compromised our truly unique ambiance and style. In keeping with that style, our rooms do not offer televisions. Instead, they feature original, brightly colored, Mexican tile bathrooms, private terraces with hammocks for siestas and star gazing, and locally-crafted Mexican wood furniture in an outdoor seating area where you can enjoy our magical sanctuary. The Resort offers meal plans that include breakfast daily and lunch or dinner. This choice gives our guests the opportunity to explore the many dining options in Playa del Carmen. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Mahekal Beach Hotel Playa Del Carmen
Shangri La Caribe Hotel
Shangri La Caribe Playa Del Carmen
Mahekal Beach Resort Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen

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