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“Expensive resort” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mahekal Beach Resort

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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #28 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Expensive resort”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2014

We paid nearly $700/night for a beach front bungalow that had no TV, Internet, phone (even to the front desk) and very little privacy. During a rain there was water on the room floor. The semi private plunge pool was cold. While the bungalow was right on the beach, beach chairs were set up right next to our entrance for others to use. It was a nice place but clearly not worth the price.

Room Tip: Just understand that there are very few services and it is very rustic and not geared toward privacy...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
2 Thank David L
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 review, 20 February 2014
Thank you for sharing your opinion with us. You have stayed in a Deluxe Ocean Front Bungalow, a unique unit within our resort. It, and all cabanas at Mahekal are inspired by the Mayan style of thatched roof, overlooking the ocean, having a king bed with organic fabrics and hand embroidered pillows. Furnishings are made of native tropical hardwood. Because of these factors and other details, this is the most popular room type within our resort. Based on the price you mention, it seems to me that you have stayed with us during the Christmas/New Year holiday season, which is the most popular time of the year at Mahekal and everywhere in the Riviera Maya. Our concept for over 30 years is “unplugged” and has been and remains very popular. However, we do acknowledge it is not for everyone and are sorry you were not aware of our concept before your arrival. We hope you might visit us again, perhaps during the summer or autumn season, when rates are more favorable on bunglows like the one you stayed in renting for under $500 for two adults.

Best regards,
Emilio Palazuelos - General Manager
Mahekal Beach Resort
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,455 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (641)
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English first
Boulder, Colorado
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2014

I am not a big all inclusive kind of a gal, so I love the smaller venues. Mahekal was romantic, clean and just what the doctor ordered. We were within walking distance of all the happenings on 5th avenue, yet we had the privacy of an oceanfront palapa with hammock included. They did offer in room coffee service for $5/day and you got a couple free bottled waters in your room, but no alcoholic drinks were included and only juices and coffee when you went to breakfast in the morning.

I would recommend the breakfast and lunch option and stay away from the dinner buffet…partly because I hate buffets, but mainly because lunch served under an umbrella always tastes better!

The food was okay, but the price makes it worth it. We love to explore and eat out on the town so it worked for us.

Reviews of the dinner buffet from other travelers were not good and I would steer clear of Asian night!

Enjoy your trip!

Room Tip: Oceanview worked perfectly for us!
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Amber D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Eindhoven, The Netherlands
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2014

We had a wonderful time here. Amazing environment, great food and helpful staff. We loved everything about this place. This is for You, if you are looking for a hidden paradise (not hotel-chain like). The location is perfect: right on the beach, very close to the main shopping street but in a quiet small street (opens from the main shopping street). We are a bit addicted to our phones but still, it was a big plus not having internet except for near the reception. You can relax and enjoy your stay much better in this way.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Dori28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boulder, Colorado
2 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2014

This is a great resort close to all the shops and restaurants of 5th Avenue. Breakfast and lunch are the way to go! And they will serve you lunch and drinks right on the beach! We never ate dinner but heard differing opinions. Better to go out to dinner in town. We spent 6 nights as a couple and really enjoyed this resort.

Room Tip: Ask for the side near the breakfast and lunch pool. Quieter and better beach, less rooms over there...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Cary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2014

So accessible from Cancun, the Mahekal offers you privacy, beauty, rest in hammocks or on the beach, hearty and healthy breakfast and dinners, just blocks from the hotel is miles of entertainment, food and shopping , and a staff that is so caring. It is the foundation of a perfect day.

Room Tip: The rooms on the beach are secure and the sound of the waves rock you to sleep.
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank Jana S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NH
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2014

We stayed at the Mahekal Beach Resort from 1/22-1/29/14. I had stayed there in 1991 when it was known as the ShangriLa Caribe. It has grown quite a bit under the present management, which has owned it for about 5 years and also owns the resort next door, Las Palapas.
About the resort: our opinion is overwhelmingly positive. They have a variety of options for rooms – some right on the beach, with the waves lapping under your front porch; others slightly set back, called “ocean view” and that is what we had. Others are “garden view.” We loved our room (16 Playa) – it was very large, had 2 queen beds ( I had requested a king, but they don't guarantee room types and we loved the room location so much that it was worth not having the king), and was furnished with a dresser, large closet, separate closet with safe, a desk/vanity with chair and mirror, a full-length mirror on another wall, plenty of electrical outlets, a nice tiled bathroom, counter space and excellent shower with plenty of hot water and good water pressure. There is a built-in shelf that extends along the entire wall behind the beds with two good reading lamps and more space for stuff. The wall across from the beds had three huge windows with screened casements that opened, another huge window that looked out onto our private terrace, and the terrace was about 10' x 12', outfitted with two hammocks, a lounge chair, a small round table and two chairs to pull up to it, a built-in banquette on one side, and a laundry line with clothespins for wet bathing suits, etc. Our room looked across one of the resort's two swimming pools and jacuzzi to the sea, immediately below the deck area on the far side of the pool, where you can eat breakfast and lunch (or sit around any other time). The room had a/c which we never used and a ceiling fan, which we did use. If I can figure out how to post photos here, I'll add some photos of the room soon.
The room was immaculate and was cleaned daily by a woman who left us very cute animals fashioned from that day's towels, adorned with hibiscus blossoms. Someone on Fodor's or TA said she left the maid's tip the first day with a note that said “muchas gracias”, because apparently they're not supposed to enter your room if there's money left out. I had a little notepad that I travel with and tucked a 50 peso note in it, with “muchas gracias” on the first page, each day when we went out. This was a good system and I appreciated the suggestion and pass it along.
The room rate included two meals a day, breakfast and dinner, although you can switch out lunch for dinner if you want to go elsewhere for dinner. We thought the food was fantastic. Breakfast was a buffet which included anything you could possibly want, from fresh fruit; yogurt/granola/raisins/cranberries; oatmeal; meats/cheeses; Mexican sweet rolls, croissants, and all kinds of pastries, etc. They even had a dispenser of lactaid milk, which we both use and never expected to find. Each table had a tent card offering various kinds of eggs, omelets, etc. that can be ordered , at no extra charge from the waiters, who serve you coffee, clear away the used dishes, etc. There was no limit to the amount of food you could take and it was nice to feel like you could take some fruit and yogurt, for example, and then go back and have a little pastry, etc., and not have to mound up your plate to get everything you might possibly want to eat in one trip. There were plenty of tables in the breakfast restaurant, La Loma, but you could also sit at one of the tables by the pool, with the palm trees overhead and the waves just a few feet away (caveat: there are not a lot of tables by the water, and they are very popular, so get there early and stake your claim). The waiters continually circled, bringing coffee, serving the eggs that were ordered from the kitchen, and were without exception, incredibly hard-working, genial, and polite. In fact, one of the most impressive things about this resort to us was the quality of their staff. They were just fantastic.
Dinners were offered in a variety of ways – some nights the entree was a choice of several items on a menu, served by the waiters in the main restaurant/dining room, with all of the side dishes on a buffet. Other nights, everything was a buffet. The buffet food was always a very high quality and never had that “steam table-been simmering for hours” mooshy texture. There were many choices, including vegetarian main dishes every night. One night, for example, a chef individually sauteed your choice of shrimp, vegetable, and type of sauce over your choice of type of pasta, to go with 3 or 4 different salads, empanadas, etc. All of the food was excellent quality, fresh ingredients, not overcooked, imaginatively prepared. There was always a choice of several desserts. I think there's an extra charge for alcohol, don't know how much. Some people on Trip Advisor complained about the charge for water and other drinks at dinner. I guess that didn't bother us because the charge was so small and the rest of the food was so good. Again, like breakfast, there seemed to be no limit to how many times you could go to the buffet, and what you could take.
We ate lunch several times by the side of the pool at the water's edge. It was delightful, and the food was excellent. I loved the Caesar salad with slices of just grilled and still warm, very tender and flavorful chicken.

We were taken aback by the small “propina” or tip included with the check that you sign at the end of dinner. It appeared to be calculated as 10% only of the items you had to pay extra for, so for example, there's no charge for dinner, but about 60 pesos total for a coffee and a coke, so a propina of 5 pesos is added to the bill. This is maybe 75 cents! There's a place on the slip where you can add an extra propina, and I hope most guests do, because the service is amazing and those waiters work so hard we were really impressed. They run from one end of the resort to the other, including serving guests on the beach itself, and they are without exception gracious and polite.

The pathways through the resort are lit by small concrete “mushrooms” with tile mosaic decorations that provide ample light during the evenings without ruining the mood. The reception area was large, also lit in a subdued manner, with candles and orchid plants on a central table. The reception folks spoke excellent English (and may well speak many other languages) and were very helpful in all ways. There are, as other people on Trip Advisor noted, many security guards both in the resort and around Playa del Carmen. The resort is at the end of a dead-end street and the public beach access goes through the center of the resort. There is a fence around the resort but the wooden walkway which traversed the public street from one section of Mehekal to the Playa section where we were does not have a gate. We never felt insecure or threatened in any way. It is clearly of major interest to the resort management as well as the government to have tourists feel safe, and we did at all times. It can be a little disconcerting when you live in a small New England town to walk or drive around and see machine-gun toting Federales patrolling but they were not demonstrative and we thought they were mostly just making their presence known, rather than for any particular threat. An added note is that the resort's security personnel did not appear to be armed, but very alert and paid attention to who came in and went from the beach and the various entrances.
The resort lined us up with transport via STP Caribe from Cancun airport. Even though our flight landed more than an hour late, the driver was waiting for us, smiling and holding up a sign with our name (unlike our experience in Italy where the driver didn't show up and after nearly an hour of waiting, we had to hire a taxi to drive us to Amalfi).
Boli, at the reception desk, also found us a driver, Gregorio Hernandez, to drive us to Chichen Itza, then to lunch in Valladolid and then to Ek Balam before returning to Mahekal. We appreciated being set up with someone who was trustworthy, a great driver, and an all-around nice person.

Room Tip: We stayed in 16 Playa, just steps from the pool and jacuzzi, with a great view of the sea. Second f...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank gailwNH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glencoe, Illinois
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 February 2014

Immaculate. Beautiful. Great service and food. Small and friendly. Great beach. Perfect location. Near enough to walk to restaurants and shopping but out of the hub-bub. The palapas are not luxurious (no mini-bar, etc.), but they are immaculate and the furnishings are very nice. Wi-fi in the reception area worked fine for sending and receiving e-mail and texts. My wife and I were here in January 2014.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jim N
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
#21 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 (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 
Reservation Options:
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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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