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“Beautiful resort”

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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #28 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 1, 2007

Very beautiful resort on a magnificent place on earth. Located right on the beach, with a 10 minute walk to the centre of Playa, a must for travelers that like to relax. The staff welcomes you with a warm friendly smile upon arrival.
The rooms, which are cute little huts with verandah's, are well maintained and comfortable to stay in. We liked the lay-out of the permisses. 2 pools, beachbar, restaurants and enough space on the beach will make your vacation a memorable enjoyment.
The time we stayed there, there was some construction in the neighbourhood, so we advice you to stay in the cheaper rooms (gardenview) as they are located in the centre of the resort but close enough to the beach.
The all inclusive food was very good. Dinner buffets gave a lot of choice and varieties. Serving and housekeeping staff was very welcoming and helpful. Bar prices were within the reasonable limits (but what do you expect from a vacation resort?)

All in all...a must for your vacation!!

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled on business
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10  Thank ZeelandDutchies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,073 - 2,079 of 2,843 reviews

Reviewed January 30, 2007

We stayed 10 days at a 5 star all-inclusive and then at the Shangri La for 5 nights. It was a totally different experience but much more satisfying. It is lovely to be able to walk along 5th Avenue to experience something other than the resort.

Pros:
- Location just far enough away from town but near enough to walk.
- Laundry mat only 1 block away (I think the hotel should advertise this as many travellers are looking for that benefit.
- The beach, pool and rooms are kept spotlessly clean daily.
- Staff are very fun and very interactive - "Hello My Friend"
- Lots of chairs at the pool and beach. The best part of the chairs is because the resort is right beside a public beach (both sides), guests can't leave their towels on the chairs to save them because if taken you owe $30.
- Nice pool with jacuzzi a few degrees warmer.
- Safe in the room (although small). I am uncertain why resorts insist on putting your room number on your key that is attached to your safe key - not really safe at all.
- food, is very good. Breakfast is excellent and dinner is average. The reviewers that say the food is awful I suspect are never happy with food - other than 5 star. This is Mexico.
- The view of the ocean is great from all of the Adventura rooms (feel like you are in a tree house).
- hammocks on the balconies are a nice touch.
- Internet (however it was down the full 5 days we were there and I suspect longer than that).
- bar has happy hour and happy staff. A nice social area for people to mingle.
- Security staff are very friendly and always out watching that the public does not come into the resort. The Shangri La needs a sign to say who they are as people are interested and walk off the beach into the resort to ask someone what the name is.
- There is an aircondition and a fan, however just open the windows (that are all newly screened) and let the air blow through.

Cons:
-No fridge. You would think that when you are paying over $200 a night a fridge would be a nice asset. You are forced to hike down to Walmart and pick up a cooler that you can put your beer and water in). Interesting that there is never a cooler that the guest before you left behind. There is a store a block away that supplies ice for a meager $1.30. It is a pain though. Those with babies would really find it difficult. A Micro wouldn't be such a large expense either.
- No TV - at least the ability to rent a DVD player and a movie when the weather is bad would be nice. Bring one with you or there is a Blockbuster a few blocks away.
- Something to clean the sand out of your room (a little dustpan) so you don't drag sand into your bed each night.
- Some parts of the structure are run down.
- The lobby needs to be more inviting - dark and dingy with dirty furniture. You feel like you are walking into a hostel and not expensive resort. Some sort of orientation or a map would be a nice welcome from the staff at the front. We arrived a few hours early and had to wait until 3:00 exactly to get into our room - we know it was empty. The check out is a little late at 1:00 pm.
- Mattress covers on the bed. For 3 or the 5 nights we had no mattress cover on the bed - just a sheet. YUCK!
- The doors are not that secure. No extra locks or chains - just the one that the maid can open. No peep hole either. A phone in the room to contact security if there was a problem would definitely be safety consideration.
- The pool on the Adventurer side has no food wash - just the full shower. When it is windy you have to run around to try catch the water (oh well, who really cares).

Tips:
- don't have the hotel/bell person arrange a cab to Cancun or the Airport for you. They arrange $70, you arrange $45.

All in all we would highly recommend Shangri La. The encroaching development will definitely prove to be problematic for the public beach area in Playa Del Carmen. Over building and hotels are all sharing the same beach area (not the Shangri La). Now that truly is a sad beach area - wall to wall people.

  • Stayed: January 2007, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Hosta_La_Vista
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2007

This report is very detailed, because I find that lacking in many descriptions and I want anyone going there to know what to expect. First of all, this place is awesome and worth every penny.

An aging all-inclusive resort from back in the day, when Playa was a small undeveloped secret, Shangri-la Caribe miraculously retains its serenity and unparalleled beauty.

In the 1980s Shangri-la was on the outskirts; now, even though you can drive right up, park and walk in, it still has that tucked away feeling of an undiscovered secret. As many have said, it is located on the most beautiful, perfect stretch of beach in the area.

Upon arrival, you find yourself at the end of calle 38, which ends in sand. Don't worry about parking, there will be a spot. No meters, just park anywhere, and be enthralled at the paradise that welcomes you.

First, you see a spwrawling open-air palapa rotunda with a stone-tiled floor, strewn with couches and places to lounge. (Wireless-enabled throughout). There's no big sign, just a big front desk.

The rooms are basically little cottages situated among windy stone and tile paths dotted with coconut trees: imagine a Mayan village at the apex of that civilization.

Our cottage had a little patio with a table and 2 hammocks, a hexagonal shape mimicking the hexagonal shape of the room itself. Both the patio and the room are topped with palapas. (I was wary of this because I feared bugs getting through, but the thatch is very thick and resilient, and topped with netting for extra security). It issurprisingly airtight and yet somehow admits fresh air. The a/c works great.

The room has a writing desk, two queen beds and several windows, with ingenious wooden shutters that open to reveal screens, should you be so insane as to wish natural air instead of a/c. There's also an overhead ceiling fan for extra comfort.

I've seen other comments on the lack of shelves, but our room had plenty. We had a large closet with shelves to the right and over the top. Plenty of space to store shoes and clothing, as well as valuables in the safe. Kind of moot though, since your'e in Playa. Just bring a few swimsuits, diving gear and some shorts and flipflops. We hung our snorkle gear on the curtain rods.

The bathroom is outfitted with tile sconces where you can store your toiletries, and is a stucco and tile affair, with a huge walk-in shower. I'm 6'1" and I hate short showers; this one was just about tall enough. The water pressure and temperature control are better than my shower at home. The shower releases water in about 50 tiny streams, so it's that kind of light and quiet shower, rather than heavy and splattery.

The hotel provides a basket of quality soaps, shampoos, etc. The suite we had in Pueblito/Caribe comes with either 2 queens or one king bed. We got 2 queens and while I prefer a king, these beds were comfortable with quality mattresses, with built-in mattress pads on top. While I'm not too fussy about mattresses, I know a good one and these were not "hard" as so many have said beds in Mexico are. Compared to my $300 mattress at home, these were equal. (Incidently, I ordered a king - speaking Spanish really helps, but regardless, I was far from disappointed).

Every cottage room has easy access to the pool and beach. A beachfront spot seems great, but since it takes 2 to 3 minutes to reach the beach from anywhere in the resort, the advantage of beachfront would only be the view. It's coconut trees and cats vs. lapping ocean waves. I love cats so it was great.

Palapas are provided on the beach, and there always seem to be plenty avalailable. It could have been the season (August), but regardless, you can easily spend the whole day lounging, swimming and snorkeling right in front of the hotel.

The restaurant on the beach delivers food several times a day, but it's not that cheap and we had a great time supplementing our pina coladas with a cooler full of snacks and beers. You can take a little walk up the street and find great little take-out places that will make you a huge lunch from about $5.00 to $25.00 for two (depends on what you want - I tend to seek out locals-only stands). There's also a bar on the Caribe side, maybe 1 minute's walk from your spot on the sand.

The staff is friendly and keeps the property in perfect shape. Tips are not expected, but we noticed other people tipping and the bartenders are very happy with tips. The bar is well-stocked and the bartenders friendly, but shots are $6 and up, and drinks are pricey. Take advantage of happy hour, and just go elsewhere for serious drinking. The bar closes early (11 PM).

There are 2 pool tables and 2 pingpong tables in the lounge next to the bar and swimming pool. The games are free, but the pool tables are pretty warped, so just do some drinking and don't bet on any 9-ball! The property has 2 swimming pools. The water is warm and shallow, making these great places to nurse a fruity drink.

Bugs and vermin: in August/September, there are plenty of mosquitoes and possibly other biting insects. I found success with a 7% deet Cutter bug spray. It's not like swarms of bugs hassling you, like in South Carolina or something. They come out at night, and if you use bug spray, you might suffer a bite or two: a trifling nuisance. We also had small, almost microscopic, ants in our room, but we didn't keep much food around and they were harmless and infrequent. We also had a resident lizard, about 1.5 inches long. Lizards don't bother me, and they eat bugs!

Food: I don't like all-inclusive resorts, but Shangri-la does not have a restrictive feel at all. It's worth the money even if you don't take advantage of all the amenities. The first night, I was travel-weary and had been up all night. The restaurant was serving a set menu: you could start with a salad of julienned carrots, jicama, tomatoes, peppers and greek olives on a bed of shredded lettuce with olive oil dressing, or half an avocado filled with shrimp in a cool, creamy dressing. The entree was either a chicken cordon bleu, which looked horrible, or a salmon steak with veggies and mashed potatoes. The salmon was a perfectly-cooked filet, prepared in butter with a mild green sauce. buttered broccoli accompanied it, perfectly done, and decent mashed potatoes. Dinner with served with a basket of bread and drinks were extra. It was okay all in all, and you won't be disappointed on a budget, but as anyone who's been to Playa will tell you, there a millions of cheap, awesome alternatives.

The breakfast is also very good and there's a variety of Mexican and european favorites. Fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, oatmeal and Mexican specialties like Chorizo and eggs, as well as French toast and almost anything you want, made to order. Good coffee.

If you're lounging on the beach, eventually someone will come by and ask you if you want lunch. There's plenty of variety. I tried shrimp tacos: small flour tortillas with beans, grilled onions and freshly grilled shrimp for $10, delivered to your lounge without you lifting a finger, and it's a lot of food. Still, take my advice and look elsewhere for food.

Shangri-la Caribe is not a typical 5-star resort with valet parking and car service. It's staffed by helpful, informative and friendly people and it's really low-key. If you want the feeling of being left alone in a tropical paradise, while behind the scenes everything is taken care of for you, stay here. We will definitely be back.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled as a couple
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21  Thank J0hn0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2007

This is a great place for a no frills, laid back, barefoot, hanging on the beach experience. The service here is outstanding. EVERYONE on the staff is wonderful and accomaodating. This is not a place to go if you want great food. The location is wonderful, right on the gorgeous Playa beach and a beautiful beach walk into downtown. The rooms are very basic, but clean with great service. We traveled with three 17 year old boys who had their own pueblito. Other reviews mentioned that this wouldn't be a place to bring kids, but I disagree..there were plenty of kids of all ages. Teens can wander on their own with no worries. You may just want to bring your dvd player for kids as there are no tvs/phones. All in all, this is a great place to stay if you don't want to dole out for an over the top all inclusive.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled with family
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3  Thank sbeia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2007

My daughter & her husband & their baby vacationed in this resort the 2nd times in 2004 & 2006. They always stayed 15 days. They asked us to go with them this time and we did. We enjoyed every bit of our 7 days stays here in Shangri-la Caribe. The cabanas we were staying was so clean & beddings were extra clean & new. Friendly staffs & access to everything are in easy reach. It was a truly paradise place to stay, relax & unwind. My husband & I were so happy staying in this resort. Hopefully they will stay the same. I will recommend this resort to relatives & friends. Easy walking distance to 5th Avenue & eateries, & yet coming back to the resort is truly an oasis. Victoria, Oakland, NJ

Stayed: October 2006
4  Thank svc4487
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2007

My wife and I just returned this week from Playa del Carmen and we stayed the entire 4 days at Shangri La. We are avid readers of trip advisor reviews and rely heavily upon the opinions of others before we book reservations anywhere. We enjoyed our stay with Shangri La very much but probably will stay elsewhere next visit.

What we liked:

Very beautiful beach with excellent security.
Close to town but not too close.
We never even saw a beach vendor, which for us and Mexico was a first.
Excellent breakfast cuisine and service was attentive.
Very clean rooms with lots of space.
Average beds though, kinda hard.
They include 2 hammocks with each room, use them.
2 great pools kept spotlessly clean.
Good bar, gameroom with nice happy hour. They ring the bell at 5:00pm and again at 6:00pm to bracket this 2 for 1 time.
Good stocking of this bar with ALL mexican beers available.
NO TV's , lots of Euro-guests.

What we didnt' like: (nitpicking)

Rooms need a mini-bar so that at least you can keep your drinking water cool.
Rooms need phones so you can call the front desk or home.
Better dinner food that isn't so bland. Although their Sunday night Mexican buffet was very good, we skipped the other dinners.

Summary:
All in all, this is a very nice place to stay and you should not worry if they don't have an ocean vew room available. The garden view rooms farthest from the construction (units 50-59) are the best.
Ask for an upstairs unit with balcony. Many of the ocean view rooms are too close to the beach and lack privacy from other guests and locals walking by.
We stayed in 51b. The most private, least crowded section of their beach is over on the side by the morning breakfast restaurant. After breakfast getting a palapa there was no problem and very quiet despite the contruction closer to the street. However the beach right there is rocky and difficult (painful) to wade out into. Better to walk 75 yards south and wade out there where it's mostly sandy but more crowded. My only non-nitpicking complaint is that the front desk staff is "indifferent". Not just to me because I experienced other people having the same problem. They need training on how to welcome guests when they first arrive. Oh, and here's an idea, hire a bellboy or two to carry the arriving guests luggage to their rooms and maybe even upstairs. This "attitude" is probably the only thing besides dinner keeping them from getting perfect rating from me. Overall, very nice place but not perfect.

Stayed: January 2007
15  Thank roxo56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2007

Our group enjoyed 4 nights at the resort. The setting is terrific, close to the beach with the sound of waves at night. The food was good and the staff very friendly.
We too were annoyed with the late night noise. It was unfortunate that some people were so rude to be out yelling and carrying on the middle of the night. There were security guards on the beach and in the pool area during the day but at night no one to be found. When you are paying premium dollar to stay in a beach front bungalow this really was unacceptable. Otherwise I would recommendate this resort.

  • Stayed: December 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
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5  Thank NewTravelAdventures
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:
#17 Family Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#20 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#22 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#23 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#30 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $230 - $457 (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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