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Reviewed 27 May 2010

If you want South Beach ambiance complete with sleek Euro furnishings, a beach cluttered with beach beds and techno music thumping all day and night, this place is not for you. If you want renaissance splendor with marble and crystal, a Jacuzzi on your balcony, five restaurants where you line up at 6 a.m. to make reservations and pools where you can play the towel game to your heart’s content, then this place is not for you. If you want beaches where you’re lying inches away from someone talking nonstop on their cell phone, this place is not for you. And if you cannot live without television or a phone in the room for 24 hour room service, this place is not for you.

On the other hand, if you want a small, intimate, laid back beach resort with colorful palapa style accommodations where you can laze away an afternoon on your patio in your hammock; if you want beautifully maintained grounds where paths meander throughout, connecting the cabanas, pools, bar, and restaurant; if your idea of a perfect beach is lying under a palapa, far enough away from others so that there is a sense of privacy, then this place is for you. I would definitely describe Mahekal as barefoot chic, with excellent attentive service, whether you’re at breakfast, dinner, by the pool, or on the beach.

THE ROOM

We had a ground floor cabana in the Pueblo section, set in the garden and close to the La Loma restaurant. This was a very quiet section of the resort, and after seeing the other areas, I was glad we chose to be set back a bit. I felt that there was more privacy and less foot traffic of people coming and going past your patio. The room was small but spotless, and the A/C was the best we had anywhere. In case you get chilled like we did, there is an extra blanket in the top part of the large closet. Speaking of closet, there were tons of hangers, lots of shelf space, and a small safe that will hold passport, money, etc., but not your laptop. There was always plenty of hot water which came up very fast. The patio had two hammocks, and a table with two chairs. Every day we received a bottle of water, and some extremely creative towel art from the ladies who do the housekeeping.

THE FOOD

Having read the very mixed reviews, we were a bit concerned but need not have been. Breakfast was amazing, and so extensive that I do not understand how anyone can possibly have lunch afterwards, provided they took full advantage of the buffet. There were always two different kinds of juices (varied from day to day), fresh fruit: papaya, mango, cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple, bananas and grapefruit. They had plain and fruit yogurts, several different kinds of cold serial, and the most delicious hot oatmeal. There was also ham and cheese and sausages put out every morning, along with hash brown cakes and different kinds of bread. On top of this, you could order eggs any style: poached, scrambled, ranchero, boiled, fried, eggs motulenos, or toluquenos, (two delicious Yucatecan style), you name it. After all this food, lunch was not happening.

Dinner was almost always very good. We ate dinner out twice, once because we wanted to go back to Yaxche after a terrific lunch there last time (big disappointment), and the other night because the a la carte menu did not appeal to us (salmon with chaya and chicken with mushrooms). The other nights ranged from the good to the outstanding. They especially went all out for the buffets. Maya night they had Salbutes, which are little tortillas filled with shredded chicken, avocado, and onions, Yucatecan chicken, cochinita pibil, fish baked with achiote paste, fried plantains, rice and beans, fantastic little meat balls, etc. The Mexican BBQ buffet had the best skirt steak, so tender, and delicious, grilled chicken, grilled fish, ribs, sausages, and lots of sides like guac and pico de gallo, and rice. On another occasion they had fish in parsley sauce, steak brochettes (delicious), duck breast with mango sauce (wonderful), and pork with tamarind sauce (this was only ok because it was a bit too sweet for me.) I was disappointed in seeing the menu for the day we were leaving: Caribbean buffet with paella, shrimps in wine sauce, and some other things that looked really good. I would recommend not missing any of the buffets. Those were our favorite meals. They also make terrific soups: pozole, sopa Azteca, and a German soup with cabbage and sausages that we did not try but sounded good.

Menu for two days at a time is posted in the lobby in the morning, and you can switch out dinner for lunch if it doesn’t appeal to you.

SERVICE

Everyone, from reception to wait staff, housekeeping, grounds crew, and so on was very friendly, helpful, and professional. Special mention to Rogelio, Ignazio, Juan, and Ivan, but not mentioning any other names does not imply they were lacking. This was an incredibly nice staff, one that really contributed to making our stay special. There is service around the pool up front by the ocean, and also on the beach. So if you want to eat or drink something without leaving your lounger, they’re there for you. Security is top notch; there are several guards patrolling both the beach and the grounds around the clock.

There is free wireless access available in the lobby and the bar by the pool. Pretty zippy, so there is no interminable waiting for pages to load. There is also a massage hut along with other spa services offered. Bikes are available for guests and are a good way to get around.

POOLS

There is one pool by the bar where they hold happy hour and another up front by the ocean, where the Aventura restaurant is. We preferred the one by the ocean for the view, the water was cooler, and it was deeper. Plus it was just a hop to the beach, so you can go back and forth between the two. The other pool heated up very quickly so it was more like sitting in your bath tub. Plus it tended to be more crowded, and the water is very shallow. That makes it better for children.

DRINKS

Between 5 and 6 drinks are two for one and the frozen margaritas are outstanding. They are 45 pesos each, except during happy hour, so even at regular time they’re a bargain. I loved the fact that they were nice and tart instead of the sweet mix so many places uses. I also had a pina colada at the bar up by the beach which was great and so strong there must have been mostly rum in it lol. Bloody Mary’s are also terrific, and the restaurant La Loma serves wonderful wine, both red and white, for 50 pesos a glass. A terrific deal for “winos” like ourselves  The happy hour bar could use a little sprucing up to make it more inviting. A few more tables with chairs, a some more bar stools would definitely help.

THE BEACH

Just beautiful, soft sand, turquoise water, gentle waves (except for the first couple of days), and perfect temperature. There are plenty of loungers with palapas, so you do not have to play the towel game.

MISCELLANEOUS

We didn’t spend much time in town, but it’s there if you need it for nightlife, dinner, shopping, seeing and being seen, etc. We ate once at Babe’s Noodle Bar, which was very good and very inexpensive. The restaurant Yaxche moved, and unfortunately seems to have left its Maya identity and food behind in the old location. I will review it separately, but it was a big disappointment after our last visit.

If you need laundry done, there is one on the right side of the street the hotel is on, between 5th and 10th avenue. Open at 8:00, and done in an hour. We paid 45 pesos for about 4 pounds of clothes.

All in all we had a wonderful time, and will definitely be back to the Mahekal. It certainly lived up to its name. For around 120 dollars per day we had a terrific room in a beautiful place, and breakfast and dinner for two. We felt that it was the deal of the century and glad we were able to take advantage of it.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank travelerNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2010

This is a quiet, laid back, no frills hotel right on the beach. It is an "old style" hotel of huts and cabanas laid out on winding paths. Tho it is not new, it is clean and basic (no phones or TV's) with large rooms, outdoor decks and moderate furnishings. Price includes 2 meals a day and the food is good. The beach is beautiful and not overly crowded like some of the other hotels. It has 2 nice swimming pools as well.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Roger040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2010

Great staff, great food, beautiful location, i would really reccomend this hotel to anyone!

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank S_G_Rome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 May 2010

My husband and I were married at Mahekal Beach Resort in April 2010. We had nearly 40 family and friends with us. All the comments we got back from our friends were positive, and my husband and I really liked it. The beach is great, the staff was awesome, and they did a wonderful job with the wedding, despite the rain. The location is ideal because it is away from the busier stretches of beach in Playa, but it is still a convenient walk into town. The food was also great. My husband and I moved to an all-inclusive in Playa for our honeymoon after the wedding. While the all-inclusive was certainly able to provide a bigger variety of food, just as a function of size, the quality at Mahekal was far superior. I had the molletes and lime soup at both resorts, and definitely enjoyed Mahekal's version better. I would definitely stay here again and would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for an affordable destination wedding resort. I can not say enough about how wonderful the staff and wedding coordinator/food & beverage manager were.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank jlp913
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 May 2010

We stayed here for 6 nights after staying at Cuixmala (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!) in Manzanillo on the West Coast of Mexico. It was a perfect finish to our trip. The hotel itself is great but the setting and the beach is even better and quite spectacular. The only thing that lets it down a little is the food and the interior of the room is a little dated (but still very clean). You are only a short stroll to the superb 5th Avenue restaurants and shopping. Eldiablo Cha Cha Cha and also Casa Abela is a must for eating/drinking.

The hotel is just outside of the strip although we saw this as a benefit and each night we took the hotel bicyles to ride around the corner to the bars and restaurants in 5th Ave. We enjoyed the ride each night to and from the hotel.

The beach was beautiful and we had an Ocean View (not ocean front) room and it would be recommended that you get one. The hotel was very clean and tidy and everyone was very helpful with every request. The concierge managed to arrange a last minute trip across to Isla Cozumel for scuba diving with a dive master that he knew. We got across just in time and had a private lesson with the dive master Edmundo, ask for him, his company is called Cha Cha Cha.

We would recommend this hotel because it was just outside of the busy strip but close enough to be a short walk away. It would suit man different people and young couples in particular. There are no tv's, phones, internet or radios in the room which we saw as a good thing but be aware of it if you need it.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Gilly0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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