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“The stretch of beach was the selling point!”

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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #29 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 6, 2013

Gorgeous white sand beach and calm waters. We were there mid July. Bungalows (palapas) were positioned nicely to offer almost everyone a view of the water. Charming and beachy. We walked way up and down the beach and determined our resort had the best stretch of sand. It is a public beach with many Mexican National tourists and we loved that! Mahekal has very good security on the beach so no worries about leaving your chaise lounge to dip into the ocean. They watch everything. Rooms were not in the best shape but served the purpose. A/C was pretty loud. Not enough lighting near and in the closets so bring a flashlight. We arrived and were not assigned to the type of room (location) we reserved, plus A/C didn't work. So after an hour we were moved to a lower level room closer to the water, however they did give us a credit on the price difference. I may not be objective since all my resort stays are measured against my favorite place, Nayara in Costa Rica.. but customer service could have been better. With the exception of the young lady at front desk, the supervisors/managers made me feel I was bothering them when approaching with a question (this was after the room rate issue). No thank you for coming when we checked out or "how was your stay?". Happy hour bartenders were not your typical social staff...and yes they did speak English. They have WiFi in reception lounge and bar area but it only worked for 2 days then was very spotty so that was frustrating. Massage Therapist at the Spa was pretty good! Breakfast and lunch was decent. I enjoyed sunrise run on the beach and beachside patio dining every morning. Dinner buffet- skip it and go into town! I gave it 4 stars anyways for the clean beautiful beach, location and charming grounds. Would we return? Probably yes, after their 2013-14 renovations are complete and if they get better WiFi.

Room Tip: The second row of palapas from the shore give you a view without spending a lot on the premium suite...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank misstravelbrat
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 August 12, 2013

Thank you for your review. I was thrilled to know you enjoyed our beach and bungalows with their palapa roofs. Mahekal is quite unique and its beach is one of the nicest in the Riviera Maya. Since beaches in Mexico are public it is visited by tourists and locals alike. We are fortunate to have a wide beach front affording our guests to relax even if the beach is crowed.

I am pleased you noticed our security staff who help us maintain our facilities for our guests. I regret to know we did not have a room for you on your desired location. Due to the layout of the hotel and having so many requests from our many repeat guests to be accommodated in specific locations makes it very challenging to give everyone what they ask for. I am glad to see that you were moved an given another room of your liking. I was disturbed when I read that our supervisors made you feel as you were bothering them and I apologize for that. This is not how they should make our guests feel and I will see to it that it is corrected. Our staff are often praised by guests. I was glad to read that your received good service from one of our front desk agents. I will try to identify who she was as we have several young ladies at the front desk so I can congratulate her doing her job well.

You mentioned several issues with our facilities and services, such as A/Cs and WiFi, that are being addressed independently of the future renovations. But as you mentioned, Mahekal will be going through a complete and exciting improvements so our resort will be better than ever.

Emilio Palazuelos
General Manager
MAHEKAL BEACH RESORT

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Reviewed August 3, 2013

This review could have been a 5 star one. Mahekal Beach Resort has everything going for it to turn this into one of the best resorts on one of the best locations in the world.

The resort is very charming, nicely decorated, enough space between cabins and buildings, perfectly located with a beautiul beach right in front and the famous 5a Avenida only 300 meters away without any of the noise. Two very nice swimming pool areas. Great beach chairs, umbrellas and palm trees. Big beach towels. Food is good. Breakfast buffet is simple, but includes many a la carte items to make up for it. The dinner food is very good, both the alternating buffet and a la carte nights, with 10 dishes to chose from included in the rate, plus another 3 optional payment dishes if you want fancy food like lobster.

So independent of my next remarks you will enjoy your vacation here as we did and therefore I still give my rating 4 stars (actually 3.5; three stars would have been too harsh).

However, it is in the details that the Mahekal Beach Resort does not deliver your full money's worth and as a result is not excelent. We paid USD 500 per night times 5 nights for a beach front cabin for two adults and two kids age 8 and 10 including breakfast and dinner (can optionally be changed to lunch). For that money you can also start to be demanding with regard to the details.

Any room anywhere is especially about sleep and bath comfort. An aircon that barely works and is noisy, that keeps the room just a few degrees colder than outside and you sweating in your underwear under just a sheet all night long. The maintenance guy came, filled the aircon gas, promised to return in an hour to check again, which he didn't. After one hour the aircon performed just as badly again.

Curtains that are more for decorative use, not making the room dark at all, resulting in being woken up at 6 with the sun shining in your face. Why not use black-out curtains?
Bathroom with just one hook outside the shower/bath for a four person cabin causing wet towels all over the place. Bathroom extremely dangerously slippery, especially getting in and out of the high tub using the steps.

The clothes storage space is way too limited and way too low to be able to decently hang anything other than short t-shirts. Capacity at best for two persons in a four person cabin. Why they did not make one 2 meter high, wall wide closet is for the interior architect to answer.

There is no fridge in the room, not even the tiny hotel ones. Since the hotel rate does not include drinks, if you want something cold, this leaves you no other option to order them additionally at full bar prices. But how to order late at night with all closed? Or drink your beer and soft drinks from the local corner supermarket warm. Using the ecological resort as the justification seems a lame excuse.

WiFi only available at the reception and the bar area and then often annoyingly slow. They justify this saying that this is a conscious decision to provide a relaxing setting away from the daily stress. Trying to turn this into a selling point for absolute relax actually shows that they are out of touch with the modern world. How relax can you become if even at the reception the WiFi is frustratingly slow? Luckily we could sometimes surf from our cabin on the open WiFi of a nearby hotel depending weather conditions. With more broadband capacity and WiFi boosters they could solve this issue resort-wide within a day.

Take-away coffee offered in the morning at the bar is a welcome service, but then why only in the very early hours, stopping this between 8:00 and 8:30.

They are reforming cabins with the resort fully operational. Although the noise is very limited, you can have the bad luck being in the cabin right next door.

The resort is in front of a very nice, family oriented beach, which is public as it should be. However, hotel security could be firmer if it comes to late night beach noise or day time people using hotel chairs and umbrellas or sitting on your front porch of your cabin.

Bring you own effective mosquito spray, you will need it all the time in shaded areas and at night.

Again, you will enjoy your stay here, that great are the location, lay-out, food, and friendly service staff, but giving attention to the details would make this resort truly remarkable and recommendable.

Room Tip: Check the aircon upon arrival and require to switch rooms if not working properly.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank DutchCarioca
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 August 16, 2013

Thank you so much for taking the time to write a review about Mahekal. This is indeed a very charming resort located in one of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen, if not the best, and only a few steps away from well-known 5a Avenue. Besides all of the nice attributes you mentioned we are very fortunate to have one of the best team of people I have ever worked with and the best guests a general manager can hope for.

Our resort has been in operation for close to 30 years (a few years back as Shangri-la Caribe) and we have many guests who love Mahekal and come back year after year. Being open that long also means that our cabanas, while well maintained, lack the things you mentioned, such as not enough closet space, no back out curtains, and no fridges. But some of these items will be improved when we renovate the hotel, which is scheduled for next year (a small section will be done this year). We have had many internal debates about WIFI and yes, it would be relatively easy to offer it everywhere, but it has been a conscious decision to keep it limited to the lobby and Casa Club.

Thank you for your suggestions.  They are always welcome and we seriously take into consideration our valued guests comments and input when making decisions regarding our development and operations.  We appreciate the effort you took to review your experience at Mahekal, and hope you will be able to enjoy some of the results our collaborative efforts produce in the near future.

Emilio Palazuelos
General Manager
Mahékal Beach Resort

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Reviewed July 29, 2013

We traveled there last week with another family. Upon arrival, we were told that our hotel transportation would be another $30 due to Alexandra's fault but were told that if we didn't pay it would come out of her pocket. After traveling all day the last thing I want to deal with upon arrival is money issues. They agreed to credit us the $30 thru the excursions that we planned. Boli took care of the reservations for Xtreme Tulum and Xel-Ha. Our rooms were fantastic with ocean views. The only problem was the A/C only had one temperature - full blast. Most of the nights we slept with our heads under the covers. The food was delicious and a great variety but very few options for children. The staff accommodated us and I was very thankful for that.

The BIG BIG negative was our room was located next to the Adventura restaurant and there was a wedding on Saturday night and they allowed the DJ to play music until 12am. Honestly, there were about 30 wedding guests, the volume depicted a night club. It was difficult night for the entire family. In addition, the pool was unavailable after 5:30 due to the wedding and we had to walk on the beach to access our room so that we didn't intrude on the wedding.

I loved the setting on the beach, not a giant hotel and great service from all the waiters. The maid service made animals out of the towels and all the kids loved it.

My recommendations:
Make sure you bring cash. The ATMs charges $7.95 plus 8% on top of that. If you use your credit card, you are also charge fees. The pesos exchange at airport was 11.50 per $1 but the hotel charge 13.30.... again overcharging.
What ever they quote you for hotel, excursions, etc... get it in writing and bring it with you.
Major mosquitos - the hotel offers natural spray but I had to bring in the DEET big guns. Spray yourself before arriving to the hotel. They are always in the lobby.
If you need internet --- this is not the place for you. There is internet in the lobby only and it does not always work.

When Boli set up our first excursion he overcharged what he quoted me but I had brought along my paperwork and he honored the price.

When we checked out we realized they overcharged us for the room due to their exchange rate. Not cool.
I highly recommend Xel-Ha. The park is fantastic. We had a 6 year old and two 8 year olds. We snorkeled, cliff jumped, lazy river, zip lines... all the food was included and drinks and cervezas. The food was great as well. Well worth the price.

I wish I could say I would go back for sure but with the consistent money issues it put a bad taste in my mouth. I would go back to Playa Del Carmen.

Room Tip: we stayed in 13P but watch out for the artic air conditioner!
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank AnniandDave
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 August 7, 2013

Greetings to Encinitas. Thank you for your comments on our resort and your recommendations to other travelers. We understand your frustration upon check-in. Alexa should have given you a warm welcome and allowed you to settle in instead of bringing the error made on your transportations charges when you checked in. I am glad to know that our concierge Boli was able to get you a credit on the tours he booked for you. Boli and our staff in general get very high praised from our guests.

We are glad you found your ocean view room to have a fantastic  view. We have taken note that the A/C control of that room needs to be fixed so the temperature can be maintained at a desired level. We are particularly glad you found our food delicious and varied but would have liked to have found more choices for your children. It is great to see that our food and beverage staff were accommodating. They are always looking for ways to please our guests and I am happy their efforts were noticed.

About the wedding. Our aim is to make everyone happy, unfortunately we not always succeed at this. The beauty of our resort and beach attracts couples who want to get married at Mahekal. In our attempt to minimize the impact a wedding may have on other guests, we have strict policies to help prevent guests who are not part of the wedding from being disturbed. One of those policies is that we accept a limited number of weddings and they are small (or if larger take and entire section of the hotel) and music stops by 11 pm. This is to be strictly enforced but it appears that the wedding that took place during your visit was allowed to continue playing music until mid-night. I was surprised to read about this, but will look into it and make sure it does not happen again.

Mosquitos are indeed a problem, but this is common in the tropics. To fight this insects we have a mosquito eradication program in place and provide mosquito repellent free of charge to our guests.  

Regarding the exchange rate used at Mahekal it is important to note that hotels anywhere use a higher rate than what can be obtained at a bank or money exchange office. We regret you felt you were taken advantage of, but I can assure you that this was not the intent.       

Our little village layout makes Mahekal a very special place, offering rooms with private terraces, surrounded by tropical gardens, pretty different from other hotels. Our location also makes Mahekal unique in that we somewhat secluded but yet close to many restaurants, bars and shops located on 5th Avenue and within one hour of many attractions such as Xel-Ha.
We appreciate your comments and recommendations and hope you try us again.

Emilio Palazuelos
General Manager
Mahékal Beach Resort

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Reviewed July 28, 2013

This hotel IS cute and pretty nice ! The reason I would never return is that they had a wedding and allowed the wedding party to play VERY loud music until 4 am , good for them , bad for the rest of us - also if you are going to Playa Del Carmen be sure to take very small bills of amer cash so you will get ripped off less on the cute main street that runs through town - its a very pleasent place to walk / shop except for this - we got ripped of the worst at the haagen-Dazes ice cream shop where my husband gave them an amer 20.00 and they said they would not give him any change !!! But this seemed to be a commen scam - they just dont have the correct change !! Other than these two things it really was a nice trip - Dallas Tx

Room Tip: beach ft is best at this hotel
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Gary F
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 July 30, 2013

We appreciate your comments and are happy to know you found Mahekal to be a pretty nice hotel. I was surprised to see that you mentioned that we allow weddings parties to play loud music until 4am. This is not the case. While we welcome weddings at our resort, we have strict policies to help prevent guests who are not part of the wedding from being disturbed. One of those policies is that music stops by 11 pm. While our hotel is very peaceful most of the time, there are beach clubs nearby that on occasions play loud music until late at night. The loud music you are referring to most likely came from one of these clubs. We do all we can to provide all of our guests the best beach resort experience they can have and are glad that at the end you had a nice trip. We hope you give us the opportunity of welcoming you again.

Hotel Management & Social Media Team
MAHEKAL BEACH RESORT

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Reviewed July 27, 2013

We chose this resort over others because we didn't want the all inclusive type resort that is over crowded where you just gorge yourself with food and drinks all day and night. We were very pleased with our choice! We stayed 10 nights for our honeymoon. We had reserved an ocean view palapa. We called ahead and requested a king bed, When we arrived they did not have an ocean view palapa with a king bed available, but were told if we stayed in the room with 2 queen beds for a couple of nights, they could switch us to a king ocean view palapa after that. So, this is what we did. We were pleased with the service they provided. The room with the king bed was much more spacious and had an amazing view of the ocean/beach. We loved the surprise of what the towels would be arranged into each day by the housekeeping staff. The shampoo and conditioner and body cleanser was of a very good quality.

The beach front property is beautiful and kept very well. It is not a private beach. A lot of the locals use this beach, but they never caused any problem. (note: there is no shortage of thong users on the beach and you may see some nude chests of women/girls). There is a reef right off the shore that has some amazing sea life. We saw a great number of different kinds of beautiful fish and several rays. Not many people were snorkeling while we were there, but we sure did when we stayed at the hotel for the day. (warning...be careful of the many boaters and sea doo users if you are going to snorkel).

The food served at the hotel is VERY good....some nights even excellent. Dinner has the most variety and is the best tasting of all the meals. Their "Hot" sauce (habenero) is very very good and very hot! We enjoyed being served lunch on the beach. The service during meals is excellent. We found our two favorite servers and used them as much as possible...Jose and Alberto. (Remember to tip these guys...they deserve it!) I didn't find this out until our last day, but they will serve you water during your meals if you request it. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY BOTTLES OF WATER DURING YOUR MEALS. Knowing this ahead of time would have saved us about 500 pesos....lol The water they serve you comes from a very large bottle of water, so it is safe.
We took advantage of happy hour just about every day....from 5-6. You get two for one drinks. The drinks have to be the same....but a nice tip for you....if you get a mixed drink or a margarita or something similar...order a double and ask for it in a Styrofoam cup...it will stay cold/frozen longer and it qualifies as the 2 for 1 price during happy hour.

Mamita's down the beach plays very loud music at times...so we could hear the thumping in our rooms from the bass, but it wasn't so bad we couldn't sleep.

We thought the location of this resort was perfect and the beach perfect...some of the beaches further south near Mamita's aren't swimmable and have sand bags to keep the beach from eroding. I would not have been happy there at all!

I can't end my review without mentioning Boli...the concierge. He was awesome! Always had a smile on his face and was very helpful booking some things for us to do. He even provided us with a bottle of sparkling wine for our honeymoon!!

I do wish the rooms has refrigerators...would have been nice since it is quite muggy there, to be able to keep some drinks cold in our room.

Thank you Mahekal Beach resort for helping to make our honeymoon amazing!!

Room Tip: I don't think you can go wrong here...depending on what you want and what you can afford.
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank OfficerLisa
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 July 30, 2013

Looks to us that you found what you wanted for your honeymoon. Great to read that our team worked your situation out and offered you the kind of room that you were looking for. Towel arrangements are very creative and original, our housekeeping team will always surprise you with the different characters they create.
Yes, locals love our beach, too. You may know that our property has been here for over 20 years now, and since then, Playa`s people has been spotted around. We are glad to know both your space and valuables were respected; security staff works hard to keep it safe all around.
The reef you mention is the Great Mayan Reef, the second largest in the world, and at this location is very close to shore, just a quick swim away, to be in contact with the fauna living here.
About food, we will share your comments with our F&B team, they will be happy to know you were satisfied. Yes, our waiters are great, we value them too. Glad to hear, that even though music was loud at neighboring beach clubs, you were able to rest and sleep. We agree with you when saying that our location is perfect, Playa del Carmen is growing to the north side, and every time there are more places to try and visit around.
We also think that Boli is wonderful when planning the best vacation experience; happy to know he gave you reasons to remember your ‘mahekal’ honeymoon.
About your room tip, we agree you can’t go wrong when choosing a room, since you will always be surrounded by tropical gardens, very close to the Caribbean, and still in downtown Playa del Carmen.
We hope all your suggestions are useful for other travelers planning to visit Playa del Carmen.
Hope to have you back at Mahékal, soon!

Hotel Management & Social Media Team
MAHEKAL BEACH RESORT

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Reviewed July 26, 2013

This resort is a peaceful place, located just a few mins. away from the 5th Ave.
We stayed in the Garden View Palapa style room for 3 nights which was a very good experience overall. Here's what you need to know:

Pros:
- Clean and cozy rooms
- As part of the amenities, they had the mosquito repellent which was great (trust me, you need it!)
- Friendly staff at the front desk and at the breakfast/pool area
- Two pools (one pool is close to the Garden area, the 2nd has a Jacuzzi with a beautiful beach view)
- Nice Bar/billiards and table tennis area: during our visit, it rained heavily on one of the days so we spent the afternoon watching a football match at the bar area and playing table tennis
- Food: had the "half-board" package which includes breakfast and either lunch or dinner. Breakfast options are great and so was lunch by the pool..I'd say skip dinner as the buffet seemed poor and try one of the many delicious options on the 5th Ave.

Cons:
- The smell of the room was really bad (not sure how to describe it but it's like a mold odor)..and I think that's due to the "Palapa" roof..so we had to keep the windows open and the AC on most of the time..however, the smell was still there. In our friend's room next to us, the room had the same nasty odor but less intense

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank YellowStarburst
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 July 29, 2013

Greetings to Dubai, thank you for choosing Mahékal. We agree on your title, since both adjectives are part of our motto. We hope that your review is useful for other tourists.

All comments are greatly appreciated; the positive ones motivate us in keep on offering a good service, and negative ones make us notice the little details we must work on. Certainly mosquito repellent is needed during the rainy season, glad to read you used it. Our Casa Club, is a meeting point to enjoy with friends, family, during happy hour, or on a rainy day like you did.

About the smell in the room, we are already working with maintenance and housekeeping team to see how we can minimize it, given that it’s a natural reaction of the palm when it gets wet. And since during summer can rain a lot, this smell sometimes is easily detected. We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope to welcome you at Mahekal again.

Social Media Team
MAHEKAL

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Reviewed July 24, 2013

We had wonderful nights at Mahekal before hopping over to Cozumel for a week and I now find myself wishing I had spent more of this vacation at Mahekal!! The beach was just steps from our palapa style room and was very nice, well maintained and peaceful. The food at Mahekal was better than I had expected and the "green juice" served during breakfast was addictive!! The entire staff from front desk to the cleaning ladies were professional, helpful and always had a smlie for us. Location, location,location...Mahekal for us was in a great location just minutes to all the shopping, restaraunts, bars cafes along 5th ave. I would love to return to Playa del Carmen and Mahekal!!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JustinEdsel
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: $213 - $503 (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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