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“I can't wait to go back!”

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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #28 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Santa Cruz, California
Level Contributor
32 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“I can't wait to go back!”
Reviewed February 27, 2013

My friend and I went to the Mahekal Beach Resort from Feb 9-16. 2013. My first contact was with the Oana at the hotel. I emailed her beforehand with details of our trip and special requests. Mainly that this was a celebration of life for my dear friend who has been battling cancer, and we were hoping for a peaceful, calm and restorative vacation. Also that we are both vegetarians. She assured me that would be no problem and that she and already told the kitchen. She appreciated having the information before we got there so they could be ready for us.
When we arrived we were greeted by the sweetest front desk person I can ever remember meeting. Not only was she welcoming with a big smile, she was efficient and knew her job too. Her name is Rosalio and she's fantastic. Every time we asked her a question or went to the front desk she was the same sweet, helpful person. Much appreciated by us.
Our room was 30b. On the second floor. The room was exactly like the photos show on their website. No tvs and it was lovely! We loved the hammocks outside on our private deck. We asked for 2 queen beds and they were very comfortable. (My friend is used to memory foam and was a little more "princess" like for the 1st night)! We loved the palapa roof, (which you would not have if you were on the ground floor), and really appreciated the air conditioning.
The beach was beautiful. We walked up and down the beach and were very glad we were at our resort. The others seemed full of singles drinking all day- and all that follows from that- but our place was mainly couples and very low key in comparison. We walked northwards along the beach- away from the pier where the ferry comes in- and just past the few small boats moored in view was a really calm stretch of water. It was beautiful and not as crowded. We headed there most days. We didn't use the resort pool. The ocean right at the resort can get really rough but like I said , just walk up the beach a little (5 mins), and it's a lot calmer.
The grounds of the resort are really beautiful- sandy paths with palm trees heading to the beach.
Ruben, El Capitan de Restaurante, checked in with us each and every time we went for breakfast or dinner. He was amazing. There was a vegetarian option on the menu every time with the offer to make us many other dishes not on the menu. There was always a buffet with salad options too. We felt special and as if nothing was too much trouble for us. Drinks are not included- not even water with dinner- so take the bottles of water from your room with you. The food was tasty and fresh. The bar by the lobby has a Happy Hour from 5-6- a real happy hour! We experimented and ended up liking the mojitos most of all. The good thing about only one hour for happy hour is that it doesn't encourage that "belly up to the bar for the night" mentality. Everyone pretty much disappeared at 6.02!
We walked to 5th Avenue- 1 minute walk up the street- every night after dinner. We found a couple of nice places for an after dinner drink- the cuban restaurant and the little place opposite the hotel had amazing music! I will review the restaurants we went to separately. There were some great places! We didn't fear for our safety in the area.
All in all this is a great resort and I will definitely go back. The location, the beach and the staff were all fantastic.
The only reason I didn't give it Excellent is because on our last day a large, rowdy wedding party arrived, broke the spell and shattered our peace and quiet. It started the moment they got there with woo hoos and talking like they all had a hearing problem. We talked to the front desk almost immediately as experience tells us that this behavior doesn't get quieter as the night wears on. They told us that they would remind them about the other guests but that also they were here for a wedding... They have weddings twice a month apparently. We could still hear them when we got back to our hotel around 11.30pm as they were still at the bar and still woo hooing. We talked to the front desk again- really we knew it was in vain but we needed to make our feelings known. And THAT'S why Excellent is not awarded - because even though there was a wedding party there, they should have been told right away that at THIS resort there is an expectation to be respectful. Nipped it in the bud. On the other hand 2 weddings a month is a lot of revenue for the Mahekal - I get it.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank FCsantacruz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

I love the location of this hotel. You have all of the benefits of being in Playa DC without the crowds and noise. The beach is absolutely beautiful. White sand and rolling waves. The resort is kind of a flashback to a simpler time but in a good way. No TVs and a nice library for guests. Many of the guests have been coming for years and the staff has been there a long time. We figured out that the dinner was better in town but its great because they allow you to have your lunch instead of dinner which was excellent.

The rooms are really nice- a tad dated but clean and charming. Especially loved the hammock. Before you unpack just make sure you have a working AC. We had a couple of minor issues which werent really the hotel's fault (another hotel overbooked us and we arrived grumpy) but at the Makekal they were quick to make things better and even gave us a bottle of champagne. When it was all said and done we were really glad that the other hotel made the error because we really loved the Mahekal. We'd return- it's a special spot.

Room Tip: rooms facing inland can be dark
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Deborah781
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 review, May 1, 2013
Thanks so much for your review, we appreciate the clarification you made and feel happy that our staff made everything to accommodate you.

We love to welcome repetitive guests and will always try to offer the best attention. Our services always allow you to choose lunch or dinner included.

If you are back in Playa del Carmen some time, please join us for some Mahekal days.

Social Media Team
MAHEKAL
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Level Contributor
147 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2013

My wife and I just returned from our 3rd stay at Mahekal. Once again, it was a delightful, relaxing experience. The resort was very quiet, despite hosting a large Canadian destination wedding. As always the staff were very attentive, although it did take 2-1/2 days to get the mini-fridge we requested. Mahekal is in a perfection location, a short walk down the beach from the busy and noisy beach clubs as well as a few blocks from the hustle & bustle from the restaurants, bars & shops of 5th Ave. There are plenty of beach chairs and palapa's for guest use and the 2 pool areas provide a good alternative on windy days. The 2 meals a day plan is perfect for us, as we typically opt to eat breakfast & lunch at resort and then walk down 5th Ave area for dinner. There has been a lot of growth on the north end of 5th Ave and 38 Calle area in just the 3 years we've stayed there. As a result you can find good restaurants within 2 or 3 blocks of Mahekal, if you want to avoid the busy end of 5th Ave,or just want to get a quick bite after a long day on the beach or after returning from a day excursion. As for value, we have booked air travel & Mahekal stay through Orbitz/Expedia and friends hand commented on how reasonable our deals have been compared to their stays in the Riviera Maya area. And after charging drinks to the room at lunch and happy hour each day, along with an occasional mid-day drink on the beach, our bar bill was very very reasonable - even by our cheap booze Wisconsin standards. Overall, would rate 4-1/2, there's always room for a bit of improvement.

Room Tip: Didn't learn until near end of 2nd stay that you can request a mini-fridge for extra $10 per day...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GBCamp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helena MT
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2013

My husband and I just celebrated our anniversary at Mahekal, and had another great visit to this property. The beach at Mahekal is perfect, and we love the cute casitas. The staff at Mahekal are top-notch. The location couldn't be better...the comfort of a resort with easy access to the fun shops and restaurants of 5th Avenue. We will be back!

Room Tip: The ocean view rooms are definitely worth the extra cost. Nothing beats being steps from the beach a...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MrsCresswell
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 review, May 1, 2013
Greetings from Playa del Carmen, thanks for your short review. We are glad to read the days you spent at the Caribbean were good. Casitas is a must, they let you enjoy the little town feeling, that Playa once had.

Hope to have you at Mahekal sometime soon.

Social Media Team
MAHEKAL
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern New England, USA
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 23, 2013

From the calm ambience of the lobby (soaring thatched roof, stylish hanging rattan lamps, Enya piped in, soft lighting, attractive library/computer room in view across the space) to the Gilligan's-Island-meets-Martha-Stewart stylings of the accomodations, we were pleased. The property is meticulously maintained, the employees unfailingly friendly and thorough. We opted for the breakfast/dinner option. The former was always very nice, especially if you can get a table on the deck outdoors, facing the gorgeous Caribbean.

The room was simple and charming. We had a second level room, which allowed us to hear the local birds walking around on the roof from time to time. Morning birdsong there is really cool. Everything was clean, well-constructed and well-designed. Hot water was occasionally a little slow, but they are planning an upgrade after high season. No big thing.

The grounds were a pleasure to walk around. The proximity to the beach was super. Chaises were not hard to find, though they don't recline to a flat position. The beach is guarded, which I found actually works from firsthand experience when I accidentally took a chaise with a room towel vs. the official Mahekal beach towel. "Senor?" I produced a room key and all was well.

The beach can get a little crowded and busy at times, but it was never oppressively so. Raise the flag on the palapas table next to your chaise, and you can have a Corona-commercial moment promptly.

Back to the food--breakfast buffet was very nice. Lots of options and a menu of egg dishes cooked to order included. Service was fast and friendly. Dinner was in the larger lodge-type-palapas-dining room. Also softly lit. Several evenings featured live music which was generally good to very good. Meals varied from strictly buffet (watch out for rude guests now and then) to salad bar and several selections for the evening. They also have a separate menu of other dishes for a fee. The dinners varied from good to mediocre. The "Oriental Night" was kind of abysmal, while "Mexican Night" (live very talented mariachi band included, better than you'd imagine by far) was excellent. If they could upgrade dinner a bit, they'd have a real gem. Service friendly and generally prompt. They try hard.

We did not have lunch there, but found great options in Playa, Tulum, Cozumel.

Surprises? Lots of biting insects from dusk on into dark. Mosquitoes and what we in New England call "no-see-ums." Rooms come with complimentary spray, but we got something stronger in-town. Nevertheless, they were after us. Hard to control nature, we realize, but we had not read about this. Also, no ice machines...they charge 60 pesos ($5+) for ice at the bar and you must bring your bottle of wine to be opened by them if you don't have your own corkscrew. That ice fee was pretty ridiculous. Drink prices were okay, daily happy hour softens that blow. Nice atmosphere at the bar--stoools, swings, right by the pool.

Overall, we'd go back again, probably. For the region and the cost, we were quite pleased. Again, great staff. Very professional, including the very warm and funny concierge. Playa has a lot of options for food and entertainment (Cuban bistro with live salsa band recommended), but great to get out and snorkel, swim and explore. We've stayed in more secluded resorts, but Mahekal is an excellent choice if you want the blend of beach/sand/sun and nightllife and access to travel.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Greenjean777
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 review, February 25, 2013
Greetings to New England, USA.

We loved the introductory lines, what a combination to describe our property. We are glad to read you enjoyed to walk around our gardens, and the birds singing around in the morning.

Good you used the flag system at the beach, is certainly great to really enjoy every day laying at the beach.

Will take all your comments in consideration, and will continue having live music at dinner, since we've noticed that guests enjoy it.

We apologize for mosquitoes inconvenience, but like you said nature is hard to control. Anyways will continue trying, by keeping our gardens clean and trimmed.

Thanks for the good comments about the service, we love to serve you and have you at home. Hasta pronto amigos.
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Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 18, 2013

I had only stopped off in Cancun and Cozumel during a cruise years ago and vowed to come back one day to take a closer look and from recommendations of some Italian friends who come year after year, I decided to book a holiday to Playa.

After contemplating staying in Tulum, I am so glad I decided not to, as Playa is comfortably situated and you can choose to do as little or as much as you like. Im sure that in 10 yrs time it will be a different story, but for now, at the end of January, it was not too busy and not too hot.

Mahekal is the right combination of authentic Mexican and laid back luxury. Its affordable and does not feel like you are staying in a "chain" hotel. The staff are wonderful and helpful and made me feel welcomed. The food was fine, if your a big eater, its perfect, if you are fussy or a foodie, then it can be a little repetative... but trust me, there are hundreds of restaurants and bars within a 5 min walk where you can have just about any kind of food your heart desires.

In the 10 days I was there, it rained for 3 and it was a little tedious as there wasnt a lot to do, but I planned excursions on those days and it worked out fine. I was also secretly pleased there were no small children or families whilst I was there as I liked the more mature mix of guests I encoutered...it seems more set up for "adults" at least at this time of the year.

Accommodation, the resort, the facilities etc etc was all fine as per the comments other tourists have posted, but as I mentioned in my departing "survey" at Mahekal, I would suggest the Resort invest in some new sun lounges as some have passed their use-by-date and are cracked and/or sagging, and offer "sparkling mineral water" on the drinks menu as Club Soda is soda water and not very nice.

The only other minor thing I would add (which I dont think Hotel Management can do anything about as they dont OWN the beach) is that on those lovely sunny days, when you are on your sunlounge, front row under the palm umbrella, with the sun beaming on you and the gentle breeze caressing your face..... it would be great not to have some guy poking his metal detector under your chair looking for valuables or for large groups of locals gathering a your feet drinking a dozen bottles of beer and doing backflips into the water.

As a woman travelling there alone, I felt completely safe and found enough to entertain myself and I recharged the batteries sufficiently. Oh and I came back to Sydney with a kick-**** tan to boot. Would I go again? Yep.

Room Tip: Any room, and above all be realistic, and dont throw a tantrum if a few drops of water penetrate you...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank D C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guadalajara, Mexico
Level Contributor
38 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2013

My wife and I stayed at this hotel located in a beachfront lot two blocks from 5a avenida where everything happens in Playa del Carmen. Layout is a good idea : two rooms bungalows (one above the other) spread in the property, each one sorrounded by a small garden and sand between them. We had a Deluxe Ocean View Room; ocean view? a little ; deluxe, nothing.
Rooms are a sample of bad design that does not match with it´s prices: two double beds too big
for the room; AC control on-off only, no fan speed control; grainy concrete floor in room, pebble stones in bathroom which is too small; washer pressure high but low in shower. No TV neither fridge. You do not really need the terrace in you room since you are so close to the beach but there are clothes hanger for your swimwear and towels. These you have to exchange at the registration desk which is in the opposite side of the beach (??). Since you are forced to pay for two meals (breakfast and lunch or dinner) in the room price you should know that there is nothing "to write home about" the food. And the Chef has like an obsession with lime; ceviche,
prepared with excellent fish and shrimps was swimming in lime that overpowered the rest. Pico de gallo, always served at lunch to nibble is drenched in lime; margaritas acidity makes them undrinkable. Beach and location are excellent! Value ? you have to judge by yourself.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Alejandro P
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 review, February 25, 2013
Thanks for your review. We will share your comments with the rest of the team, and will try to solve/change as many of them as possible.

It's true that sometimes the terrace is not needed when you have the beach so close, but some people like to have this private open area to read and chill.

Will talk about the idea of having a towel station closer to the beach and pool, and will share your comments about the use of lime on food and drinks with our chef, since ceviche and margaritas are always one of the favorites of our guests.

We hope that if you come back to Playa del Carmen anytime soon you give us the chance to welcome you again.

Gracias, hasta pronto.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
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:
#17 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#20 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 
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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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