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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #29 of 215 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 7, 2013

Amazing resort, staff and town.

My husband and I have been back 4 times now and we're going again in April. Hands down, our favorite place in Mexico.

Mahekal is a very short distance to the main street, avenida 5 where you can go shopping, eat out or just walk around (wear comfy shoes!).

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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Thank kathidral
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 7, 2013

Wedding, honeymoon and vacation of a lifetime

I am not even sure where to start with this post, so I will get right to the point - Mahekal is amazing. We decided after our engagement in December of 2011 that we wanted to have a destination wedding. My fiancé and I have been to Playa before and knew this is where we wanted to get married, though we had never been to Mahekal. After deciding on Playa, the hunt began for a house, hotel, condo-resort, anything that would meet all of our needs (and trust me, the list was extensive). Finally after narrowing down the hunt to a few places, we decided on Mahekal for a number of reasons. Mainly because of their outstanding TripAdvisor reviews. I have read EVERY single one of them, as well as most of the reviews for every other accommodation in Playa - yes this took several months. Mahekal just seemed like the perfect mix of cozy, close to town, laid-back, but still beautiful and authentic. We knew we didn't want a huge resort or any of the 'all inclusive' options, but we still wanted amenities and great customer service (and a fabulous wedding of course). I was so nervous to arrive as we never went for a site visit - we just trusted our months and months of research and stalking their Facebook page would be enough to go off of. Mahekal exceeded our expectations in every way, more than we could have ever imagined possible.

The rooms:

We stayed at Mahekal for two weeks and had close to 50 guests. Our room for the majority of the stay was in the garden view caribe section (the furthest back from the beach). Furthest back meaning less than a 1 minute walk… The room was not only gorgeous, but huge! I mean huge - huge! We traveled with 4 suitcases, two large rubbermaid containers, a 100 lb robot, the wedding dress & suit, and our labradoodle. There was enough space in the room to completely unpack and store all of our luggage and NOT feel the least bit cramped. We did have an extra dresser brought in which provided the space necessary for all of our clothes etc. I would definitely ask for one if you will be traveling for an extended period of time or have as much luggage as we did (most of which was for the wedding). We loved our room in the caribe area! It was just perfect. Huge, comfy bed, super clean and the shower was very nice. The in-room air conditioner also worked amazingly well - it was never hot or stuffy in the room. Having as many guests at the hotel as we did, we also got to see at least one room in every section. The ocean front palapa roof rooms are incredible. We stayed in one for a few nights during the actual wedding - it was beautiful. Waking up literally 10 feet from the ocean was amazing. We had guests in 3 or 4 of the ocean front rooms, all of which were gorgeous. Some of them are larger than others with couches and seating areas. The ocean view rooms (at least the one we had family in), was nice, but it was definitely the smallest of any of our guests rooms. Also, the bathroom door opened into the sink area so it made it difficult for two people to be in the bathroom area at once. I would say either save your money and stay in the Caribe section, or spend the extra money to be ocean front :)

The resort:

I can't begin to say how much we loved Mahekal! The resort is just so beautiful and peaceful - I cried when we left… seriously. The grounds are immaculate - every morning the staff is cleaning the flower beds, trimming the lawn areas and keeping everything neat and tidy. I was astounded at how perfect everything was. All of the little planters made from fallen logs and the mayan 'statues' hidden in the plants are such a great touch. One day I probably spent hours walking around the little path just looking at each of the details and taking pictures - they really are beautiful and create the feeling of being in a secluded village. We would go every morning to casa club to work on wedding tasks and check email. There was always coffee in the mornings and it was the perfect place to re-connect before breakfast. I will say one of our concerns with Mahekal was not having internet in our room. We are super addicted and have several web based startups, so this would be a first for us. I figured this was going to cause huge issues, BUT I can't say how nice it was to not be able to be on email or Facebook every few seconds! It was a dream come true!! Trust me - it was SO nice to fully relax and be in our room and not online! We did spend quite a bit of time in Casa Club, especially the week before the wedding, but it was so nice and I couldn't have imagined a better place to get a few things done! The internet is a little slow (we live in San Francisco, so we are used to a really fast connection), but its totally fine for emailing and even Skype.

Mahekal is very secluded feeling, but very close to town and 5th avenue. Calle 38 is also just adorable! We actually enjoyed the restaurants just outside of the hotel more than anywhere we ate on 5th ave!

The Food:

This was another thing I was a little nervous about as there were not many reviews about the food or they were mixed. We always loved breakfast! The buffet with the fresh fruit was just delicious. We had poached eggs and an omelet every morning, and they were always freshly cooked and tasty. Mahekal also has great coffee - I drank WAY too much of it, especially the espresso at lunch - yum! We also LOVED lunch! The cevice, tacos and shrimp & avocado salad were our favorites! I miss having lunch on the beach or right on the deck of the pool. Dinners were always delicious as well, some better than others, but always really good! We stayed really busy in the evenings, so I think we only ate dinner at La Loma 4 or 5 times. I did upgrade one night to the Sea Bass - it was one of the best pieces of fish I have ever eaten and worth every penny of the upgrade price. I loved it so much, they even arranged for me to have it the night of the wedding :) Oh, the coconut ice cream - don't leave without trying the coconut ice cream!!!

The staff:

As many of the other reviews have talked about, the staff were just outstanding! We brought our labradoodle, Marley, and he probably had a better vacation than we did! Everyone just loved him and he was spoiled beyond rotten. The front desk staff are each incredibly sweet and helpful. The front desk can get really busy, and there are times we had to wait a little, but know that they will not rush you and attend to your every need. We were never bothered by waiting, and usually it wasn't very long. The waiters and bar tenders are all amazing as well - they always knew us by name and room number. I was going to name people in particular, but truthfully each and every staff member was memorable and went out of their way to take care of us.

Other stuff:

We always felt incredibly safe at Mahekal. I was never concerned about our personal safety or our belongings. There were several things that happened, which attest to what an outstanding place this is and their honest and loyal staff. First the room safes are bolted to the wall and use a pass code which you put in/create. Second, we were all hanging out on the beach near my brothers ocean front room. Most of us had wandered down the beach to have lunch and just locked the door without really checking the room. After a while, one of the staff members asked my brother to return with them to his room. It turned out a friend had left their camera out and the staff member wouldn't enter his room to clean it until the valuables were either removed or locked in the safe. This also happened a second time with a laptop. We all just thought this was a very honest gesture and really made us feel so comfortable. With that many people to entertain (and probably several drinks) its really easy for things to get left out or forgotten about. The last thing that happened was the night of the wedding, a few guests left some belongings in the reception room. They didn't even realize until the next day, and the guest came to me. I had already been alerted by the front desk of the items that had been collected and a list of the valuables. We were able to pick up everything, but the valuable items had been locked in the management safe, which could only be opened by the management. So we did have to wait until monday for those items, but obviously that was not at all an issue. Knowing that everything had been so carefully documented and quickly returned to the owner just says so much about the resort, its staff and its management. It would have been really easy for any of these items to go missing, but never once was that a concern.

Happy hour is from 5-6… Its awesome and a great time to meet other hotel guests! The drinks were made well and more than fairly priced, especially during happy hour!

Mahekal is dog friendly! YAY! What an awesome opportunity to be able to bring our dog/child with us! He is a part of the family and we could not have gotten married without him. The staff works incredibly hard to maintain a beautiful resort so don't forget to bring your clean-up-bags, and try to be respectful of the other guests who might not love your pet as much as you do. We were so grateful to find a pet friendly resort - we want to keep it this way :) Marley truly had the time of his life, and just LOVED Mahekal.

The Wedding:

As I said earlier, we had been planning the wedding for just over a year. Finding the perfect spot that would accommodate all of our families and friends needs was critical. When I first started communicating with Mahekal, there was a different wedding coordinator and during the transition after she left we were a little nervous if all of the information would get passed on etc. This happened probably 5 or so months out. After a brief period of communicating with general staff members, I was finally introduced to the new planner, Sofia! I can't even begin to speak highly enough of Sofia - she is absolutely amazing! She is super sweet and pays attention to every detail. We had probably exchanged easily 100 emails or so over the course of the last few months leading up to the wedding. I am super picky and definitely had an exact look and feel we were going for. We planned to meet in person the Monday before the wedding to go over all of the details etc. and I was really nervous to finally meet her and review everything. Finally, Monday rolled around and we had our meeting. She did not miss a single detail, not one! I was floored! Sofia arranged having my dress pressed a many other things which I was so grateful she thought of and took care of for me. The dress and suit came back from being steamed and they had laid it (in the bag of course) across our bed and never even bothered us. We just came back to the room to find everything all ready to go.

At the rehearsal Sofia had everyone in their place and it was quick and easy. We had our rehearsal dinner at Yaxche, which was delicious and in a very cool location on 5th avenue.

The day of the wedding everyone was relaxed and everything was just perfect! Sofia handled everything while all of the girls relaxed and got ready. She had suggested Styling Trio early on for our hair and makeup. They were fabulous! We just loved Adrian and his staff - I couldn't have been happier with them. We had the ceremony on the beach to the right of the Adventura pool. The wedding arch was set up right between two palm trees and that section of beach is set back a little, which made it feel very private, despite it being a public beach. For cocktail hour we had a mariachi band, passed appetizers and drinks. Sofia suggested we choose a signature cocktail during our meeting, which we didn't know would be an option, let alone included! We decided on a pomegranate margarita - it was so delicious. Everyone just love it (and probably drank too many of them!) After cocktail hour we got the night started with a couple who came in and did a salsa lesson for all of our guests. This was SO much fun, and I highly recommend it! Everyone really seemed to enjoy it and it was a great way to get the party started! We went with the seated dinner instead of a buffet. Our guests had a salad, choice of 3 entrees, dessert and wedding cake. The salad was outstanding. They plated two (caprese and spinach) on one plate - it was a beautiful presentation! All of our guests really seemed to enjoy dinner and thought all of the food was delicious. For dessert we had flan (I never actually had a chance to try it, but everyone said it was really good) and our cake was dulce de leche - its as awesome as well! We also served a late night snack - chips, salsa and guacamole, I am glad we did… At the last minute we also upgraded to the top shelf open bar - it was definitely worth the extra cost! Our guests enjoyed to beverages - a lot! Like I said, definitely serve the late night snack :)

I really can't say enough great things about how much we loved Mahekal as a vacation spot, honeymoon destination and wedding location! It was just amazing and perfect in every way! Everyone, even our pickiest and most nervous of guests had a wonderful time.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! We can't wait to come back for another visit!!!!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Battistak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013

Stayed for 7 nights in January. We had a 2nd level garden bungalow. The bed was very comfortable and the hammocks were a nice touch. The only thing we would suggest is some sitting furniture in the room. The staff was great and the meal plan was perfect so we could indulge in a few area restaurants. Would recommend staying in a bungalow a little closer to the beach. Be forewarned, the bungalows are basic and the roofs are palapa roofs, so it sounds like the birds are in your room.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Sconnieboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2013

AD Chicago, My husband and I returned from a week stay ay Mahekal Spanish for Magical. The staff is efficient and friendly. They were very accommodating in changing our room when there was an issue. The food was above exceptional in quality. The ecological minded resort is cleaned without use of heavy chemicals and is immaculate. Daily bottled water provided. The internet site should be updated to reflect fee changes for refrigerators (daily charge). No in room coffee makers but readily available at onsite restaurant. We had also looked forward to complimentary yoga but there was also a newly established fee. Small glitches as compared to upside which is tremendous! Loved the no TV no phones! Unwind relax and refuel. While family friendly no TV lends itself to adults atmosphere. 5 minute walk to 5th avenue and night life. Beautiful live music performers at dinner add charm. The organic toiletries are heavenly smelling. Can opt out of dinner and exchange for lunch with no fees. Very helpful in arranging off site excursions. Beachside wait service. Prices are extremely reasonable.Individual Palapa roofed bungalows with hammocks and decks are beautiful!

Room Tip: All rooms are equally attractive you can request those without stairs to climb if stairs are a probl...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank Ann D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SocialMahekal, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Mahekal Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 1, 2013

Mahekal appreciates when guests value our eco-efforts. This vision matches our green surroundings and natural details.

Will confirm your suggestions to website, in order to offer complete information. We hope to welcome you at the Caribbean soon, for some relaxing mahekal days.

Thanks for listing special amenities, such as half-board lunch/dinner option. These little details help other travelers plan their trip.

Gracias,
Social Media Team
MAHEKAL

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2013

A wonderful place to stay. Right on the beach, excellent bungalows, and unlike some of the mega resorts in the area, you're within walking distance of 5th avenue in Playa del Carmen with all of the shops and restaurants. Friendly staff, very helpful with booking excursions. The bungalows are a little ''basic'', without televisions and wifi but that just helps you to enjoy your stay and relax even more (free wifi available at bar and lobby area). Definitely worth it.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank MEJOK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

We just returned from a 6 day stay at Mahekal Beach Resort, and I could not think of any way the stay could have been any better. We stayed in 34P ( on the Playa side ), which was very private and 20 feet from the beach. It was also very close to the pool and breakfast restaurant.

The rooms have no TV, phone , or internet.It takes about 5 minutes to see the beauty of this. You can get internet in the lobby if you need it. Bring your cell phone if you need to make a call. You can watch TV at home.

meals....our room included 2 meals , normally breakfasts and dinners, but dinners can be substituted for linches..... breakfasts are excellent, lunches are very good, and the dinners we had were so-so. The play seems to be to sub lunch for dinner, and walk to nearby 5th avenue for dinner. Although we did not try any, there are several interesting looking restaurants on Calle 38, on the way to 5th avenue. ...no phone in room, therefore no room service, but you won't miss it

The beach.... it is wonderful. very accessible to the resort and well patrolled by resort security guards. The 2 sides of the resort are bisected by a public beach, but it not a big deal even though there seems to be a bit of spillover onto the resort property. The public bathers provided us some good restaurant recommendations.

resort location....as I said before, it is a short walk to the beginning of 5th ave, and a pleasant 20-25 minute walk to the Walmart if you need to stock up on supplies. ( you can cab back to the resort for 50 pesos )

drinks, etc.......drink prices are very reasonable. There is also a 2 for 1 happy hour at the bar from 5-6 pm. The bartenders get a bit overwhelmed during happy hour, so order early.....if you are a wine drinker, you may want to hit 5th ave and buy a few bottles ( and a corkscrew ). The house wines are acceptable, but nothing special.... we rented a mini fridge ( $10 us / day ) . Since we were right on the beach, it worked well for us. Otherwise, the drink service on the beach & near the pools

"rooms" ...simple and great, and our housekeeper did a wonderful job. One day we left a few e-readers out, and we received a note saying that we needed to have valuables locked in the safe before they came in to clean. The folded our clothes, made very nifty little "towel dolls" every day, left a few bottles of water and generally impressed us with how hard they worked.all the rooms had patios with hammocks, chairs and tables.

evenings....pretty sleepy, dinner and the bar/game room ( pool, ping pong , cards). No loud thumping music.....

All the employees were friendly and attentive. With many, english was more of a challenge but the effort was there.

spa...we only had limited experience with the spa, but they were great. The prices seemed reasonable.

I can understand why so many people come year after year...

Room Tip: I don't think you can go wrong, but if you spring for a beachfront you will not be disappointed
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Jay C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SocialMahekal, Director de Relaciones Públicas at Mahekal Beach Resort, responded to this reviewResponded May 1, 2013

Greetings from Playa, as you already thought about, many of our guests come back year by year. Location, layout and specially the service, is what they prefer and like.

As you experienced, valuables security is an important issue, we will always try hard to protect them.

We hope you become one of those repeat guests. Playa is never the same :)

Social Media Team
MAHEKAL

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

When my sister and her family invited us to join them on their trip to the Riveria Maya, we were reluctant, as they were staying at a ginormous all-inclusive resort outside of Playa del Carmen. We have traveled all around Mexico and have had many authentic experiences both in regard to destination as well as our lodging choices (from a 100 year old rental home in San Miguel de Allende to a re-creation of a Portuguese stone castle in Todos Santos). So when I came across Mahekal on the web, it looked like we could STILL have a unique experience and hook up with sis during the week.

We booked it without hesitation. This was one of the best choices I have made in a long time. The property: colorful beach bungalows with hammocks on the front porch. There are also larger structures in the newer part if you are traveling with family or a group. A meandering path takes you through their lushly landscaped, meticulously cared-for property. Both pools are very nice. Small, unpretentious and transporting.

The staff: Friendly, always greeted our (then) three-year old by name and remembered us as well. After a few days, these folks felt like family and made excellent recommendations in regard to day trips (thanks for the tip on Akumel, Gabriel!).

The beach: Uncrowded, wide and probably one of the best stretches of perfect sand and water in Playa. Unpretentious and devoid of loud disco music found further south closer to the center of town. Also, there's a mix of tourists and local families, so the experience is a bit wider and less confining than a beach club type area.

Room Tip: Ocean Front seemed to offer the best value, to us. One of the rooms right on the beach would be idea...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank AGringoInMexico
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

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 Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#12 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#20 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#24 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $239 - $508 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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