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Reviewed 10 May 2010

We recently spent 10 nights at Mahekal on our 4th visit to this resort, formerly the Shangrila Caribe. 2005 was the first year my husband and I were able to take a big vacation after 12 years of marriage and we honestly felt like we found heaven on earth. We returned in 2006 after hurricane Wilma and even though the grounds and palm trees had taken a beating, the staff was working tirelessly to get things back in order. Still paradise to us. We couldn't go back in 2007 because of a family wedding but were eager to return in 2008, especially knowing that this would be the last time we could go because of the sale of the property. We said our good byes to all the wonderful staff and more than a few tears were shed knowing we would probably never see them or this wonderful place again. So in 2009 we went on a smaller vacation in the states and thought we would never see the Shangri la Caribe again.

We were delighted to hear that the resort was indeed still in operation for another few years and we signed up immediately for another 10 day vacation in 2010. Please understand that this is the only vacation we take all year because of our jobs and the expense, but we find it worth every penny. Our friends try to get us to go to other resorts and we have looked at literally dozens, but we always come back to this unique, beautiful resort.

Unfortunately, our trip in April of 2010 at Mahekal was different. We stayed in 10P, which we have actually been in on a previous vacation. It is a beautiful,2nd story, ocean view room on the Aventura side of the resort. It has an amazing terrace and because of the ocean breezes, we never close the windows or use the air conditioning. We are from Wisconsin, and we just can't get enough of the heat, sun, ocean, and breezes.

We arrived on a Thursday and on Friday there was a wedding in the breakfast and lunch building right in front of our room. Okay, we can take a little noise one night, no big deal.
But when we saw the wedding arch going up the next day, we became a little concerned and went to the front desk to see if there were any other rooms available. Well, they offered a much inferior room on the farthest side of the resort, behind the dive shop. NOT going to happen! The manager assured us it was just a small ceremony on the beach, with no reception. Okay, no problem. We did inquire about how many other weddings were scheduled and he said there would be another one next Saturday so we figured, we could handle just one more sleepless night. We also inquired about the smell and were talked to like we made the whole thing up. A little honesty goes a long way.

Unfortunately, we endured 4 more sleepless nights in a row and had to leave for home the next day!! Wednesday night a group of people were swimming, splashing, talking, laughing in the middle of the night down at the pool, again in front of our room. I let it go for a while thinking that security would handle the problem. When I finally got up to see what time it was, it was 3:15 am!!!! It went on for a while after that before we finally were able to get a little more sleep.

Thursday the large wedding group came in and congregated at the pool later that night and again, we were woken up from sleep. My husband actually went down there and asked if they could keep it down a bit, but that didn't happen either. I think that went on until well after one in the morning. And then they took the party to the room above ours!!!
So we didn't get any sleep that night either. Friday we went downtown for dinner and went to bed about 10:30 and even commented on how wonderfully quiet it was. Until the after bar party began at 2:00 am in the room above ours AGAIN!! Okay, now that was 3 nights in a row and the wedding was the next night so we knew we weren't going to get much sleep that night either, and we had to leave in the morning the next day! And I will not even go into the street noise right behind our building because they have no control over that.

Please understand that we are not old fuddy duddies and we like a party as much as the next person. But we come to this little resort because it is little and quiet and all we want to do is relax, read a couple good books and just watch the ocean and enjoy each others company. I have never been here before looking forward to going home to get a good nights rest!!

I don't know what the answer for this is, unless it is being more considerate of the guests needs and perhaps keeping the wedding parties in one area. It really felt like it was all about the wedding parties and the other guests were secondary. They even had 2 of the wedding dinners right in the main dining room with the other guests. That was also distracting and noisy for those of us who just wanted a quiet, intimate dinner.

That all being said, this is still a beautiful property and I sincerely hope that it doesn't get too much like the other resorts. I feel a bit more planning of the room occupation may help the noise issues at night. The staff is wonderful and we were so very happy to see the same faces when we returned this time. I would like to give Mahekal one more try but would be very specific about the location of the room we are given. I know in the past, they do not take requests for certain rooms but perhaps for certain locations. We actually requested the Aventura side of the resort but would not do that if we ever decided to go back.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank SteveandEdie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 May 2010

just got back from a week at the Mahekal beach resort in PDC. We had a large group who traveled from all over the globe for a friend's wedding. Overall, a very enjoyable week. Very nice accomodations, although for the money, I think the units not immediately ocean front are better value (still get a peek-a-boo view of the ocean but much less/night). Two meals/day included, and all food was good with good value. Staff was outstanding-friendly and accomodating. Made us feel special and appreciated. Dive operation affiliated with the resort (Buceo Cyan-Ha) was top-rate, with good equipment and knowledgable and skilled staff and divemasters. Highly recommend this location and will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank SeaSport22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 May 2010

This is a resort located on the beach and 4 or 5 blocks from the famous 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen so you are near but not inside of the center of the action giving you a more intimate environment . The breakfast and the dinner are included in the price but you can always change your dinner for lunch. The quality of the food is not 5 stars but is very good. The waiters and the people working in the hotel are really nice and friendly. They will always try to please you and you will feel more like in a family than in a hotel. If you go to the 5th Ave. I will recommend you the mexican grill La Parrilla with greats meats and good prices. Also the restaurant Madre Tierra is very good. I will recommend you to visit Xel-Ha and to take the Sea Passion catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank egarenal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 May 2010

We used to come to this hotel every year when it was the Shangri-la Caribe. It was probably among my favorite places in the world, with the new owners, and managers it is a completely different experience. I would not recommend it nor I will never go back. The front desk staff is rude and truly shockingly unhelpful. I don't know if it is just a language barrier (if so, they need to hire workers actually fluent in english) but we were repeatedly quoted one price at the beginning of a transaction (price of upgrade, room rate etc.) and then charged radically more at the end. When confronted about this discrepancy the women at the desk, in collusion, deny everything and make you pay their price - what can you do? It is their word against yours. Get EVERYTHiNG in writing - or videotape all conversations... or avoid this maddeningly frustrating experience altogether. We decided to end our stay early rather than accumulate more unpleasant memories.

Stayed: May 2010, travelled with friends
4  Thank jessiebrawer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2010

We traveled to Playa for a wedding that was at an all inclusive resort. However, we are not "all inclusive" type of people and ended up at Mahekal on a suggestion from a friend. Glad we did.

Although I had requested an early check in via email we were not given one. I understand this policy when a hotel/resort is at capacity but I am 99% sure that this was not the case. We were only an hour early but they still made us wait. Luckily we had a car so we left our stuff locked up and headed to the beach.

The location is AMAZING. We opted for one of the cheaper palapas and were less than a minute from the beach. Plenty of chairs and umbrellas for guests to use and the towels that we were given were big and soft. Major complaint here is that the beach had a sulfer smell to it. I don't know if this is the norm or if something was going on, but we jokingly referred to it as "Egg Beach" all weekend.

Our room was on the second level. Some concerns: When sleeping with our heads by the headboard it felt like our feet were higher, which was very uncomfortable. The first night we ended up sleeping with our heads on the opposite side, which resulted in the air conditioning blowing directly on top of our heads. The next night we decided to just deal with it and went to bed normally and found that the condensation from the air conditioner would occasionally drip water on our heads while trying to sleep. No bueno!

The air does not filter into the bathroom and so it is very hot in there. There are bugs, but this was to be expected. Just tiny ants, not a big concern at all. Overall the room was a little stale smelling and there just wasn't enough wind to air it out.

The balcony was amazing and the hammocks that they provide are extremely comfortable and fun to hang out in. Bonus points for having an outdoor fan. We loved both of the pools and the bar with the swings.

Last but not least, the food is mediocre at best. The included food was a bonus for us, we did not book at this hotel knowing that we were going to get a breakfast and dinner. However, if this is something that is going to make or break the deal for you I will say that I would MUCH rather dine anywhere else.

So, if you are willing to put up with a few bumps in the road for an amazing location and access to great pools and a beach this place is for you. If you are picky about things like bugs or bad food - you may want to skip it.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Fab_Ham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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