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“Awesome stay overall!”

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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #27 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Awesome stay overall!”
Reviewed 31 December 2013

We had just an awesome time at Mahekal. We added on a few days here after cave diving in Tulum for some relaxation and beach time. This place was great. The staff is so, so friendly and helpful. Literally, every staff person we encountered, from the front desk staff to the waitstaff were great. Their enthusiasm really made the trip wonderful. Plus we loved our Palapa - we had a garden view palapa and, even though there are other palapas nearby, we felt like we had complete privacy and we loved it. The beach is absolutely beautiful, the water is warm and clear. The restaurants here are great too - the food is good, waitstaff is awesome and they have beautiful surroundings, and having breakfast and dinner included made it a great deal. We felt very comfortable safety-wise here, and the hotel has a policy - if the cleaning staff comes into a room and sees phones/money/etc., they will not clean the room - this actually made us more aware of what we were doing with our valuables, which was great. Overall we just loved it here and can't wait to return. They have outdoor yoga classes 2x a week!

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank mojo_92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 December 2013

When/Where/Why

December 22 -29, 2013 Mahekal resort, Playa del Carmen, Cancun Mexico.

My fiancé and I (in our 50s) have visited several resorts, most of which were all-inclusive, in the Cancun region over the past years. This was our first time at Mahekal. (Please see below if you are interested in transportation from the airport.)

As you can see from its website, the rooms at the Mahekal resort are in thatched huts – similar to those associated with Polynesia. We had seen the resort during a previous visit to Playa del Carmen and decided then to try it, as we were looking for a lower-key, less pretentious resort than the more traditional all-inclusive (eg, Secrets, Luxuriance, Le Blanc). Also, a friend who had previously stayed there recommended it. In Mahekal, we found what we are looking for and would return. Overall, the positives greatly outweighed the negatives.

The Positives

We enjoyed the relatively quiet environment, with no staff pushing drinks or “entertainment.” We also found that a week without wifi or a TV in the room was very restful. The beach water was perfect – temperature and beauty. The staff were helpful and pleasant, and the massage at the small spa skilled and relaxing. Even though this was not an adults-only resort, we found that, perhaps by self-selection, the overall feeling remained mellow, not dominated by boisterous kids playing, as other hotels have been.

We welcomed the freedom of the flexible eating plan – breakfast and either lunch or dinner included with the room charge. All drinks (soft and hard) cost extra. We usually ate lunch at the resort – which was a la carte and offered tasty Mexican fare – and ventured in the town for dinner. Our extras for the week at Mahekal were about $150. We found several good restaurants in town – including Diez (10), Kampai, and another Italian restaurant further from the resort on the right with great homemade pasta (forgot name); each meal costing about $60-70.00.

We opted for the “pent house” (non-delux) room, which was more likely to be free of screaming kids than some of the other rooms. The room was large, with a king-size bed and nice balcony. The A/C unit worked well -- but was not well-placed directly above the bed, blowing cold air on our faces. We would usually turn on the A/C before leaving for dinner to cool off the room and then turn it off for the night. The staff cleaned the room well each day.

The beach umbrellas were smaller versions of the thatched huts. While there seemed to be much more shade at Mahekal than other nearby resorts, there was still a bit of a competition to “reserve” the front row (by laying towels and personal items on the lounge chairs), especially after Christmas when more guests arrived. Even so, it never felt “packed” like neighboring hotels and beach resorts or the al-inclusive places we had been to.

We managed to escape Cancun before a major beach concert – scheduled for the 29th -- that would have kept us up until at least 2:00. If this noise is not your thing, we recommend that you do some research in advance about concert dates.

The dinner at Mahehal was always a buffet and the food was acceptable, with fish the best choice. We ate there only twice, as the Mahekal helpfully posted the menu each day – providing us the flexibility noted above.

The Negatives

Having coffee first thing in the morning is essential for some of us. The resort did not provide any means of boiling water in the room, and room service for coffee would have been $5, available only after 7 AM. We bought a small electric kettle and instant coffee at a nearby store, which helped get us going before the breakfast opened. There was no mini bar or fridge, which was not too serious given the many convenience stores near the resort.

The fines for losing items – keys, towels, etc – loaned out by the resort were way out of portion to their value. For example, a lost key would cost $50. This is especially ridiculous considering how easy it would be to misplace these items. (No, we did not lose anything, but the stress when we temporarily could not find something was not necessary.)

The closest gym was in very bad shape, as the usual one (still off the resort) was being remodeled. I used the gym’s weights for about $4.00 per visit.

During a heavy rain, the power went out. The ground-floor rooms of over a dozen guests, including a Swedish couple we met, were flooded with dirty water -- probably because the sump pump stopped operating. The rains seemed to tax the hotel’s laundry facility, which for several hours ran out of beach towels.

Transportation warning/suggestion

When you exit baggage claim, you will be approached by official-looking tourist advisors, who appear to be paid by the Mexican Government. They are not. Hotels and resorts pay them. While they can be helpful explaining the various excursion and transportation options (more below), they also might try to convince you to visit a “grand opening” by offering various incentives, be careful. I have strongly resisted participating in time sharing sales expeditions – taking you away from your resort for several hours to sell you on a multi-year package. The agent who “assisted” us at the airport claimed we would simply be visiting El Cid’s “grand opening,” for which we would get two free tickets to a park we thought we wanted to visit (roughly a $230 value). Despite my skepticism, we fell for it and spent the better part of day fending off three-levels of sales reps pushing a 20-year time share package. And, we did not use the tickets, as that would have consumed another 14 hours, beginning at 8:00am, of excellent beach time.

As for transportation recommendation, if there are 2 of you, we believe the yellow taxi with pre-paid return in the best option. While our round-trip was about $130, it was direct and the most efficient compared to any other alternative (e.g, joint van, private car); that is, you will save about $30 for two people if you take a van, but the time to your resort could easily triple due to drop-offs.

Room Tip: If your room is too close to the beach, you might find locals on your doorstep. Ground floor rooms m...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ralph I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SocialMahekal, Gerente at Mahekal Beach Resort, responded to this review, 9 January 2014
Greetings from Playa. Thanks so much for your detailed review and for choosing Mahékal. We love to welcome first time guests (as well as the many guests that come year after year) and it’s great to read that the laidback experience of our beachfront paradise was what you were looking for.

We appreciate your comments and are happy to know that our staff made you feel at home and that you were able to relax. The size and privacy of our pent-house rooms as well as their ocean views make these units quite unique. Our beach is one of the nicest in Playa full of palm trees along the coastline and offering shade to all our guests. We are addressing the location of the A/C units so they provide cool air but not directly to our guests. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the heavy rains. It has been an unusual season and we are doing all we can to mitage the effects of heavy downpours. This is another area we are looking at so once our renovations are completed the rooms do not flood.

Your comments are very valuable to us and I am sure they are valuable to others. We look forward to your next visit.

Emilio Palazuelos
General Manager
MAHÉKAL BEACH RESORT
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Medford, Oregon
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2013

Oh Mahekal, you are indeed a magical place.
We booked a year and a half ago and couldn't wait to see for ourselves this place that so many people are totally in love with. Well, it was as advertised, beautiful, well kept and quant.
Our party of 8 each had a room in the garden section but each was in a totally different place. Since there are no phones it was hard to keep track of each other. We suggested note pads in the rooms to at least be able to leave a note on your door.
From the time we checked in until the morning we left the staff was just amazingly helpful.
Shout out to Boli, Marcos, Alfredo and so many others who quietly work in the background to make sure everything is taken care of for you.
Our room was large and the air conditioner worked well. We had a different towel animal everyday. This was kind of funny because they use all of your towels to make the animals. I spent several afternoons dripping after showering looking for the camera to take a quick shot of the towel animal before I destroyed it to get a towel. It was kind of a standing joke with the towels.
Our beach was beautiful, really the best in front of all the hotels on our stretch of beach. They keep it immaculate, raking and sweeping. I have never seen so many employees working so hard to keep the sand in it's place.
The food was pretty good. I already miss all the great fresh fruit and juices in the morning. We did mostly breakfast and dinner. Dinner changed menus a couple of times and several nights were buffet nights and most were pretty darn good. Live music several night and that added to the ambiance. I just wish that water or coffee were included, that seemed like a nickel and dime deal. When we arrived we went up the street and bought an ice chest and water so we had plenty of water but who wants to carry your own water with you to dinner ?
WI FI is sometimes pretty good, sometimes spotty especially if several people are on line, pick off times to try.
Yes, there was construction and according to Boli there will be lots more in the spring. So, if that makes or breaks your vacation you may want to wait until they complete the remodel. It didn't bother me, as a matter of fact I enjoyed watching the process and getting to know some of those hard working young people who worked so hard from sun rise until after dark.
Mahekal is an incredibly beautiful place that is well taken care of. It is old and that is the reason for the remodel but they work so hard to keep things clean and maintained. The landscaping is so gorgeous and tropical. I didn't see that at a lot of other properties..
I feel in love with a wonderful little Senora named Julianna who paints pottery in the Casa Club. She helped me to create some amazing treasures to bring home. She doesn't speak English but somehow we managed to spend a week working together and bonding, I wanted to bring her home with me. We had a few rainy days so painting pottery was such a great way to spend the day.
The location is great, close to 5th avenue and a duable walk to Walmart if you just have to have your Walley World fix.
Yes Mahekal is a wonderful, small, intimate property and we can't wait to go back and see how the remodel has turned out.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cozette
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
61 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 December 2013

Boli, the hotel front desk manager, suggested when we arrived to try a different room than the Ocean View Palapa we requested, but we insisted, After a day of viewing construction on the palapas in front on of us we relented to his advice and went to room 29P in the Adventura (?) or Playa area.
This room was fantastic. Great ocean views and porch.
As in the past, the small pool was almost like our own private pool. The construction noise was constant but still not too loud.
Like always, the staff is fantastic; including Rogelio (whom we looked forward to seeing on this visit), Alberto, and all of the wait staff and bar tenders at the pool. Also the front desk staff of Gabriel, Edith, Luis, Boli and all of the rest are great.
Breakfasts are very good and healthy. Lunch menu is pretty much standard fare but easy to get at the pool or dining room. We did not have dinner because of all of the varieties in town (another reason this resort is a good choice - close to town).
Dinner choices in town that we liked are: Piola Pizza, La Cuevo del Chango, new Barrio Negra - across the street, Curry Om and OhLaLa.
We will be back in a year or two.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tim D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
29 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 December 2013

Just returned from a week in Mahekal. Overall an enjoyable experience, pity about the major construction works going on on the premises.

PLUSES
Location! The sea view palapas are right on the beach. You can go for a dip in the water in your bathing trunks directly from your room. The palapas are basic, but spacious and really have everything that you need.
A big plus for me was no TV, radio or internet (except in the main lobby). It is incredible how much you rest without the daily dose of tragedy and financial market crashes you get in the news. Funny thing is at the end of the week when you get back home you realise you have not missed anything at all.
A huge plus for me was the presence of a dive shop in the complex. I discovered diving during this holiday and it has become a new hobby. Very knowledgeable and friendly staff of the dive shop have made it a truly memorable stay.
The hotel staff were friendly and helpful. The food was decent. I was very worried about getting food poisoned based on accounts of friends who went to Mexico, but none of that happened.
The complex is a few steps away from the lively Fifth Avenue with shops, bars and restaurants.
It makes sense to rent a car if you plan to visit any of the sights, archeological sites and ce notes, as it works out more economical than buying individual day trips.

MINUSES
The complex is undergoing major renovation. It was quite noisy well after dinner and there was a lot of dust in the air in the common areas. Given the high room prices, comparable to five star resorts inCancun, one would expect more peace or discounted prices while such major works are underway.
The accommodation is in thatched huts. While charming and authentic, they have two downsides: humidity, which is practically impossible to get rid of from the room, and poor sound insulation (you can actually see through the place where the roof meets the walls and some of the windows have no panes). The latter can be an issue with the construction work and music in come nights from nearby resorts.

OVERALL
Despite the downsides, we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation at Mahekal and intend to go back in the winter.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Wojtek K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SocialMahekal, Gerente at Mahekal Beach Resort, responded to this review, 9 January 2014
Thanks so much for taking the time to write a review. We are glad to read you were able to disconnect from the real world and relax. Yes, it’s true, once you are back home you realize that you really didn’t miss anything from real life, and you feel reloaded and full of energy. Diving is one of the activities that attract a large number of visitors to the Caribbean because of the crystal clear water and the beautiful colorful species you get to see. It is great to know you have embraced this amazing sport.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the renovation and the humidity. It has been one of the rainiest seasons we have had. Phase one of our renovations has been completed and no renovations will take place during the high season. We will begin the second phase of renovations in May and the last, phase 3, will start in mid-August so by December 2014 the entire hotel, including what currently is Las Palapas, will be fully renovated. We are focusing not only on making our facilities better but we will also offer more services, maintaining the same essence of what Mahekal is. We look forward to your next visit so you can experience the new Mahekal.

Hasta pronto,

Emilio Palazuelos
General Manager
MAHÉKAL BEACH RESORT
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
52 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 December 2013 via mobile

I paid 551 dollars per night for a room and bathroom that is falling apart, is extremely small and noisy.

The hotel is undergoing construction and you see workers all over the "resort".

Food is of mediocre quality and limited in choices.

Staff, though trying to be friendly is inept and cannot solve issues, which you will encounter multiple times per day.

I would never recommend you go there.

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank HeyDude09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SocialMahekal, Gerente at Mahekal Beach Resort, responded to this review, 8 January 2014
We thank you for taking the time to write a review and regret you did not have a positive experience. While most of our guests like our resort the way it is, with its imperfections, we realized that it should be improved to satisfy all of our guests. This is why we are undergoing an extensive renovation to make Mahekal even better. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our renovations and hope you give us the chance to welcome you again, once these are done. We have completed the first phase of renovations and will be starting the second phase in May of this year. We are planning to have a fully renovated hotel by mid-December 2014. By then all rooms will be renovated, new pools will have been built and the entire resort will have a new look conserving our traditional relaxed atmosphere and friendly service. Should you decide to give us another try, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Warmest regards,

Emilio Palazuelos
General Manager
MAHÉKAL BEACH RESORT
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Clear Lake, Minnesota
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 December 2013

First time to Mexico with 3 teenagers. Loved walking out the door and being outside, no hallways! Didn't feel we were in a hotel amongst lots of tourists Plenty of food! The buffets must be a weekly rotation. The buffet food was typical of the area. Lots of fresh veggies and fruit. We love our meat and potatoes which wasn't the typical fare in Mexico. Air conditioners were loud and were on/off, no controlling temp. Service was excellent! We had one server who was so very friendly. He seemed to watch for us, knew our beverages and did what he could to please us. Breakfasts were amazing! However, I'd like them to open at 7:00 or 7:30 as we had to miss a few due to tours. Umbrellas available to borrow, one per room. They should label the umbrellas with room numbers because if someone accidentally takes yours at dinner you will need to purchase it. Area is beautifully lit at night. It was so quiet except for the construction one evening. I'd like to have stayed longer. Conveniently located to Real Playa which is a common stop for shuttle tours. We just walked. They speak English very well and were very friendly! My family's once in a lifetime trip to Mexico was great! There is a safe in every room so we could store our valuables. No vents in bathroom so they were steamy after showering.

Room Tip: Be sure you tell them whether you want a King bed or 2 queens. We had to switch rooms due to having...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Susan P
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

Property: 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
#19 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#22 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#22 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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