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“One word: Excellent!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mahekal Beach Resort

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Mahekal Beach Resort
3.5 of 5 Hotel   |   Calle 38, Entre Avenida 5a y Zona Federal Maritima, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico (Formerly Shangri-La Caribe)   |  
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Ranked #61 of 200 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Seattle, Washington
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“One word: Excellent!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

This small resort is located at the heart of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The management of the hotel has done a great job combining luxury with rustic features. The fact that you have the choice of 2 out of 3 meals included with your stay gives you the freedom to experience other restaurants around without feeling that you are wasting your money because you have paid for it already.

The staff is all about making things happen. From the moment that you arrive until the moment that you leave there is a constant but comfortable feeling that you are their top priority. To name some, Mr. Bolly, Alexandra and specially the General Manager, Mr. Emilio Palazuelos are extraordinary.

The food is great, well prepared, fresh and tasty. WiFi without extra charge is offered at the lobby and around the center of the resort which is convenient. Attention to details is a common denominator at this resort. From the personal hygiene supplies, indoor/outdoor lighting, room decoration, layout, furniture and dining areas are well planned and maintained.

We highly recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: Ocean front rooms are the best
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Hughes Springs, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

My review is very late, but I want to share anyway. We were on Vacation in November of 2013, the weekend before Thanksgiving. I did a lot of research before I chose the Mahekal. My husband and I usually do the all-inclusive and was a bit nervous but the hotel was great. We took our 6 yr old daughter with us and it was her first trip to Mexico so were looking for a place with the beach close and a pool that had the feel of Mexico that I remembered as a child. I have to agree with other reviews that there is not a bad room on the place. All the views were wonderful and the grounds were very clean. Security guards were along the beaches all night. My husband is a runner and the guards were there early in the mornings all the way up and down the beach, not just at the hotel areas.

The room: We booked a beach front because of our daughter. I wanted to relax on the porch and still be able to let her play. When we arrived our room was not ready. They allowed us to look (after I asked) at the ones that were available and choose ourselves. We ended up in Palapa 32 (awesome room and location!!). It was not beach front but it was about 6 giant steps (my husband is 6'4") to the pool from our front porch. It was perfect because our daughter preferred to spend more time in the pool than the beach. The room was clean with two beds, nothing glamorous, but nice. The beds were comfortable, no complaint. It had plenty of closet space but no place for folded clothes. I ended up using the seating area to lay our clothes on which worked fine. The bathroom need updating but it was clean and had the feel of old Mexico. There were the little bugs that others had mentioned so don't leave any food in the room. We got the mini-fridge upon check in and put any food items in there. The AC worked well but always ask for help if it isn't. They come quickly. Over all I would give the room a 4. I loved that it was a Palapa and separate from the other guest.

Food: With our stay we had two meal per day included. Breakfast was always good and the green juice was the best. The first night we had dinner at the hotel and decided to go out for dinner for the remainder of our stay. You can swap dinner for lunch if you ask. They were not to picky about telling them in advance. The waiters just took care of it. Lunch was by the pool or could be sent to your room. There was always plenty to choose from. Drinks were not included but my husband doesn't drink and I had 4 total. The bill was reasonable. We went to 5th Ave for dinner during the rest of our stay. There was so much to choose from and we always felt safe. The Italian style food was amazing. Some of the best we have had (tons of these restaurants...try them).

Beach: They beach is a public beach but it was not over crowded. The local usually stayed away form the hotel areas anyway. Further south from our hotel the water was prettier with the awesome blues. We figured out that about a 1.5 mile walk north (remember my husband the runner/morning explorer) of the hotel was a fresh water pool. It was up by a peninsula and had freezing cold fresh water coming from the ground. The locals come to the area during the day but early in the morning there was no one. Worth the walk. Further south past the last hotel, there were awesome sea shells.

Tours/trips: We chose not to do any trips because of my daughters age. There were none that were short and close to the hotel. It would have taken to much time and she was always worn out around 2pm and needed a nap. There were tons to choose from though and they could help you at the front desk. We did snorkel one day with a group from the dive shop. They took us south of the hotel with 11 people total. It was a 1 hr trip and perfect for us. The guys were very nice and funny. My daughter was scared but they were very patient with her. They looked for the cool things to show her. Good trip!! We also did the parasailing on the beach (the guys in the yellow shirts). My daughter and husband went up (yep-she parasailed but wouldn't snorkel..lol). They were nice and the trip/ride was about 20-30 mins. I think they charged us $45-50 us dollars for both, it was worth it.

Running: My husband ran every day early in the morning before breakfast. The beach had the guards out and there were always others out running, locals and tourist. He also did some exploring around 5th ave and ran the entire ave several times. It made me nervous the first morning but he felt safe and got in 15 miles one day (morning and evening run).

Shopping/town: We didn't do much exploring outside of the hotel area for shopping. We did visit 5th Ave every night. There was shopping and tons of restaurants. They blocked the streets off a little before dark and it was left for people to stroll up and down (kind of like they block the streets in NOLA) It was safe, clean, and kid friendly. You can tell that the local gov has been making a huge effort to keep things safe and clean to attract the tourist. The first day we found a little convenience store one block from 5th Ave and would always grab snacks and huge bottles of water before headed back to the room. The mini-fridge came in handy for this. As far as picking a restaurant, look for the locals, they know the good ones. We also asked people in the dive shops and they recommend some great places.

Cons: There was this smell!! It wasn't something that would make you want to leave. I would say that we defiantly noticed it but it didn't spoil the trip for us. As long as the wind was blowing it was not a huge problem. We were never able to leave the windows open at night because of it though. I think I like the cold air from the AC running more anyway. There was construction during our stay. We asked and they said that the majority of the hotel would be closed soon for updating. They also informed us that the hotel next door would be combined with the Mahekal in the future. You could hear the noise but it wasn't bad and all the workers were respectful of the guest.

What to bring: The room didn't have a clock and I vowed not to turn my phone on. So, we didn't know what time it was the whole trip, which turned out great. Also a small calculator would have been nice. There again, I use my phone for that normally.

Would we return? YES!! We actually looked to see if we could go back for New Years but the hotel was booked. I would recommend this hotel. It was warm and had a cozy feel to it while providing you with everything that a guest could want. The bill when we check out was much less than I expected it to be. It included the mini-fridge, 1 massage, drinks, and extra snack food.

Room Tip: Palapa 32 was awesome!! It was not on the beach but was very close to the pool and great for us and...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ely, Minnesota
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

After rereading the overall rating of the Mahekal nothing more can be said as the reviewers are correct in their description and reviews of the property and the hard working employees of the resort are right on.
I booked totally on-line early in Sept. to take advantage of the discount offered.On arrival transportation was waiting just as promised.Booking on-line always makes me a little nervous but contact through e-mails was precise and received in a timely manner.
We arrived at the resort at 12:00 and they informed us our room wouldn't be ready until 3:00.They offered us beach towels and would store our luggage while we waited for our room to be ready.We said that was fine as we would walk to 5th Ave. for lunch and get reacquainted with the area,as this was our 4th trip to Playa.On our return At 3:15 room still wasn't ready.We proceeded to wait until 4:30.You all know the stress this puts on you but everything turned out fine as we were placed in 7A which was ocean view and just perfect.
Now I'll get a little nit-picky which is just my personal opinion as it's hard to find anything really terrible that could ruin your trip.
First is the smell that drifts around once in awhile.Do I think its all mangrove swamp,NO,there is a problem with something somewhere but what I don't know .The smell seems to be in certain areas only and does drift with the wind.I have not experienced this at any other resorts I have stayed at and I have been to Mexico 15 times.
Food is average not bad but I have had better.The salad bar is lacking in a variety.As taste is subjective I'll leave it at that.
At first I was disappointed that you had to pay for water,a beer,wine,soda,at lunch and dinner but I came to realize that if I paid for full A.I. it would cost a lot more per day.As it was it came to under $100 for the two of us for the week.I'm not a big drinker but we did have a few beers at the beach and at the bar and in the long run I found it cheaper.
My wife found that she missed not having TV to watch the news in the morning but she got over that.WiFi in the lobby worked for us so no problem there.
The beds were soft the pillows soft the room cleaned everyday the shower hot what more could you want.
Will I be staying again.YES. Just remember this is not a large resort that you might be used to in Mexico but a quite restful place with no head banging music to spoil your vacation.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

We spent 8 nights here leaving Jan 30. All I can say is I will go back next year. We stayed in the garden area away from the beach. Nice and quiet with beautiful landscaping. The Mahekal Beach Club in December of 2013 merged with Las Palapas, the property next door to it, so it is now one property. The name will be changing in a few months. You can read other reviews for discriptions of the property I'll just say you won't be disappointed.
The new joined venture will close be down in May for 3 months to renovate and complete the merger. If you want to get a place on the beach request the Las Palapas side as it is nicer and there is no smell. The sulfuric smell some people mention comes from rotting vegetation not from sewerage but that is cold comfort.
Dinning is great for lunch at las Palaps beach. I preferred breakfast at the Mehakel location since you can order off a menus at ocean side vs a Buffett line at Las Palapas.
Check around for discounts, you can usually get a better price by not going through their web site. This is one of the best places to stay in Playa you would not know you were in the center of a bustling city when you are here.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boise, Idaho
Top Contributor
155 reviews 155 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

I paid for 8 nights in an oceanfront room. Upon check-in, they put us in a room that was not oceanfront. We had pre-paid, the document clearly stated oceanfront, and the hotel refused to give us oceanfront until we paid an additional $1600. This is clearly a case of bait and switch. In Mexico this is standardized corruption in service. We would have given this resort a 5 star rating if they had not played their little game. Their $1600 will result in the worst word of mouth marketing and online reviews we can manage without embellishing our story or straying from the truth. The oceanfront room we received for our 2-8 nights, it wasn't available for night 1, was extremely nice. This would be the best resort in Playa if they did not operate in a dishonest and corrupt manner.

Room Tip: Do not stay here. They cannot be trusted.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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, February 6, 2014
Dear Guest,
we are surprised to read your comment about your stay. As per our records, you booked an Ocean Front Room via a travel agency and you were checked-in to 32P, which is room type you booked, when you arrived. Room 32P is one of our few bungalow ocean front rooms and it is located only a few steps away from the beach.
The other room type you refer to is a Deluxe Ocean Front Room, which is a higher category. We now have five rooms like this in the resort and due to their unique design, location and outdoor private plunge pool, are more expensive than the regular ocean front rooms. Our receptionists always inform our guests about the extra amount they would need to pay to stay in a higher room category, as was the case when you took this room.
We had the impression that you left the hotel with nice memories about a pleasant stay, because you expressed this at the time of your departure.
We regret you now think you were cheated, however this was not the case. Our staff acted in good faith and the hotel never intended to mislead you or any of our guests. In case you still believe you paid more for the room than its published rates, please contact me directly, and I personally guarantee to you an immediate refund if it so happened.

Emilio Palazuelos – General Manager
Mahekal Beach Resort
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

We spend 3 nights in a Garden Palapa View Room. The room was cozy with a nice view of the hammoc and the garden outside. The room was clean and the food included was fine. Nothing fancy but well prepared and alot of different dishes to chose from. Service was great, very friendly in both the restaurants and in the reception.

Two things (which really can't be blamed on the resort) annoyed us with this place: The smell at the beach (rotten egs) was not very nice. Plus the smell in the room from the palapa roof was bad. We solved this problem by letting the fan on so the air was "recycled".

Would recommend this place, if you go to Playa, as it was quiet and located in a great area.

Room Tip: The Garden Palapa was great- however the palapa was quite smelly. We stayed in 51B wich had a great...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

Recently stayed at Mahekal for four nights and attended a wedding on premises. Mahekal is a blend between glamping (glamour camping), a hotel and a resort. It is not a traditional hotel, it is indeed very rustic as the majority of the "huts" have thatched roofs. There is no phone or TV in the rooms, but they do have electricity and AC. As far as my review, I'll break it down with pros and cons and I'll also leave a grey area for anything that wasn't great, but wasn't terrible either. The wedding there was really nice, weather was perfect and the setting was great. The reception got a bit warm, so we made them turn on the fans. See below for food reviews. We had a nice stay, but we were also in a paradise tropical climate, so Mahekal was adequate, but would have fallen below the mark if the location wasn't as perfect as it was.

Pros:
Awesome location... right in Playa, very close to 5th Ave which is loaded with Bars/Restaurants/Shops
Large private beach area... first come first serve, but plenty of lounge chairs on the beach
Cheap drink prices... I was surprised to see how modest the drink prices were and the drinks were stiff
Food... room comes with daily breakfast buffet and a choice of lunch (menu options) or dinner buffet
Hammocks... each unit has a small porch or deck that has two hammocks that are perfect for naps
Service... they responded to everything professionally and courteously
Shuttle... prompt and on time, had to wait a bit before we picked up everyone at the airport, but otherwise, the bus was comfy and the AC worked well
Value... for $250 a night, probably can't do much better

Gray Area:
Food... it was mediocre at best. I've had worse at resorts though, so I'm not saying it was terrible. That said, they did have fresh items and the fruit/vegetables at this resort seemed safe to eat. The fresh fruit juices in the morning are phenomenal.

Cons:
Flooded room... the hut was on a slant, the main room flooded after every shower (not every hut, just ours)
Thatched roofs... keeps out water, doesn't keep out noise... I now hate birds and you will too come your first experience with them every morning starting at about 6:45AM
Smell.. there is a sulfur type smell that comes in waves from the water (your guess is as good as mine) it was not pleasant and hits you when you open your door, but you get used to it
Mosquitoes... they get into the rooms, so if they hunt you like they hunt me, you're going to want to spray up before bed... hotel provides some natural bug spray.
Landscaping... the whole look and feel of Las Palapas (resort next door owned by mahekal) seemed to be a lot nicer and cleaner (lush grass, nicer beach area, nicer outdoor lunch area, etc...). I envy the green towel.

Room Tip: The rooms in the bottom half of the two story huts are the best bet for filtering some of the mornin...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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, February 7, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to write your feedback about your stay. We find your comments very useful in order to get a picture on the services we could do better.
We are sorry for the inconveniences caused by the sulfur smell of the mangroves that sometimes happens after a heavy rain. There is not much we can do with the song of the birds and is difficult to control the mosquitos, as the flora and fauna are really reach around the resort, at the same time we are trying to do our best to keep our beloved nature outside of the guest rooms. We are going to work on the areas you listed under your Cons, at the same time we are glad that you have enjoyed the location of the resort, the beach, our breakfast buffet and other services.
We hope to see you soon again in our tropical paradise,

Emilio Palazuelos - General Manager
Mahekal Beach Resort
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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:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#17 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#38 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Mahekal Beach Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 121
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Mahékal 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 121 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 Mahékal 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 television, radios or telephones. 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. ... 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 Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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