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“Mahekal was Amazingly Magical..”

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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #28 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
levittown, pa
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Mahekal was Amazingly Magical..”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 12, 2010

My husband and I stayed at Mahekal for seven nights and it was honestly one of the best places we have ever visited on vacation. I had high expectations after reading the reviews here and other places and the resort and its staff did not disappoint.
We arrived very early and our room wasn't yet ready. No problem. The staff invited us to change into our bathing suits and enjoy the property until the room was ready for us. They even greeted us with cool towels and water and took our bags so we could head to the beach.
The beach at Mahekal is one of the best in Playa. It's wide, white sand is beautiful and the water is perfect for swimming because there is no rough reefs. There were always plenty of lounge chairs on the beach and we could always find a spot under the palapas. I personally preferred the caribe side. Yes, there is public beach access right at Mahekal, but it was no big deal. The beach never seemed crowded and the water was always way less crowded than areas south.
We stayed in the pueblito garden section and our room was less then a two minute walk to the beach. It was quiet and tranquil there. We loved it. The only reason I would spend more money to upgrade our room was to take advantage of the ocean breeze. Back in the garden section all the lush tropical landscaping sorta steal the breeze :) Other than that our room looked the same as a beachfront unit i peeked into. In fact, I thought ours was nicer with a nicer headboard and more closet space. The rooms are basic but nice and comfortable. Our air conditioning was very cold and the ceiling fan made it feel down right frigid if we wanted it, so no problems there. It was always cleaned perfectly each day. The shower was open and big. Our room was very close to LaLoma where you eat dinner. Meals at Mehekal were excellent. Try the white fish...sooo good. In fact, try it all. We loved it, especially Mexican Fiesta night. The waiters are all really nice. Our favorites were Ivan and Juan. Brekfast was amazing with fresh fruit, cereals, pastries and made to order eggs, frensh toasts or pancakes. Mahekal even has a great lunch menu and u can eat right on the beach. So excellent. Drinks are cheap and happy hour features a 2 for 1 special...can't beat that.
The resort is set up like a little mayan village with rooms in individual bungalows or two-story casitas. They all have their own porches with hammocks and little tables. I loved swinging on the hammock. One night I could hear music playing. It was so nice.
Also this resort is close to the downtown, shopping area with restaraunts, stores, clubs, etc. You can walk or take a cab. It's also just a short cab ride to the collectivo stand that can take you to tulum, akumal, hidden worlds and several cenotes and other activities. The collectivo is way less expensive than a cab to these places and so easy to use. You can get to tulum and back for $6 a person instead of a $90 cab ride!!
Anyway, back to Mahekal, the staff and the surrounding make this place so speacial. It's not like a big, impersonal super-all inclusive. The staff knows you and is very friendly and helpful. The vibe of ths hotel is very laid-back and really hosts a great mix of people from young couples and families. We met guests from around the world there. Everyone kinda of is just there doing there thing, enjoying the sights and sounds of the Caribbean. We loved it and highly recommend staying there.
Thank you Mahekal for an amazing trip. We will be back.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
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12 Thank travelgirlpa1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Canon City, CO
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2010

Very friendly, queit, and clean. REALLY ON THE BEACH. Small resort with personable staff who seemed to sincerely like us. Very reasonable prices with good food. This is where to go to get away (no TV, phone, or in-room internet.) Great romantic get-a-way. Good response from staff for taxi and shuttle service. I felt like the staff was always on guard to protect us and never saw any "strange" persons walking about. I never felt taken advantage of.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Mark_Heinen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Norman, Oklahoma
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 21, 2010

Me, my wife and teenage daughter just got back from spending 6 days at Mahekal. We stayed in one of the Ocean view rooms close to the breakfast area and pool (north side of hotel). Overall I recommend this hotel, but let me address what could have been better first. For three people the bathroom is a little small and storage space was an issue. Our room had no dresser, just some built in shelves. It wasn't a huge deal, but we had to get creative with space. The bathrooms just have a screen window with shutters so we found ourselves shutting the bathroom door when the A/C was on. When we went into the bathroom it would always be extremely hot and humid. We ate breakfast at the hotel every morning. It was adequate but nothing special. We ate dinner once at the hotel and we thought it wasn't very good. OK, now for the good. We loved the location of the hotel. It is situated right on the beach, and although it is a public beach, it is a very pretty stretch and it was never really crowded. It was also lined with Palapas and chaise lounges for the guest. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The main area of town is Avenida Quinta (5th Ave.) It was just a 5 to 10 minute walk to get to the north end of it. We walked in every day and sometimes came back late (11 to midnight) and always felt safe. We had considered staying at one of the big all inclusives north of Playa, but we were glad we didn't. We never had to get a taxi to go into town and we got to mingle with the locals a lot more. It was really a more authentic experience. I think the all inclusives might be a little isolating. We thought the food in Playa was very good. La Cuevo del Chango is right next to the hotel and was very good for local mexican and seafood. There is a french pastry shop around the corner on La Quinta called Chez Celine that was good. In town we liked Yaxche (mayan) try the ceviche, Cafe Mediterannia (mostly Italian), and Media Luna. Don't forget to go to Ah Cacoa at least once for chocolate. We went to Chitzen Itza one day and used the conceirge at the hotel to book a tour. The tour group was Alestal. You might want to consider booking it yourself through one of the tours more mentioned. It was OK, but be prepared to stop at trinket shops and restaurants that appear to be friends with the tour guide. All in all I have to recommend this hotel though. In spite of a few shortcomings, it is pleasant place to stay with what we thought was a fantastic location.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank Chevron7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 18, 2010

We stayed 4 nights at Mahekal followed by 3 nights at an all inclusive and our family (husband, me and our 20-year old daughter) all liked Mahekal much better. The people at the Mahekal are part of the reason, the other is the beautiful beach and the cute bungalo type rooms. We had the same waiter for most of our stay. His name was Juan and he was so sweet, friendly, and attentive. I felt like we were leaving a friend by the end of our stay. Boli at the concierge desk went above and beyond in helping us plan our activities--again, more like a friend. Vincenti at the bar was also the greatest. Location: perfect beach, uncrowded, hammocks on your private covered deck, nice jungle feel throughout the resort yet right at the ocean and close to downtown. The towel art that greeted us each day when we returned to our rooms was ADORABLE. I never thought we would get such a kick out of towel art! The lady at the front desk when we arrived was a bit uncommunicative but the one there as we were leaving was sweet as could be. It was quite a contrast when we moved to the all inclusive which was loud, crowded, impersonal and the beach was not nearly as nice. Mahekal was worth every penny, and we thought pretty reasonably priced.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank Debrakadebra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cibolo, Texas
Level Contributor
62 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2010

This was our first family vacation abroad. As such, I read and studied and reviewed others' input about Mahekal before booking it. Two friends joined us. They have many overseas experiences and affirmed the Mahekal decision was a good one. Where to start?

1. Service: The service by the wait staff was unmatched by anything in my 44 years of living. The wait staff consisted of local men who worked to calm every fear, service any need, and address any concern. The language barrier of English-Spanish was cheerfully met with patience and calmness to educate each other. My family befriended Rogelio and Ignacio (wait staff) throughout our stay. They were part of a class act at Mahekal. I have no bad reviews or negative comments to offer readers of this review. All of the folks at Mahekal were top notch but the wait staff were the ones with whom you interacted the most.

2. Rooms: The rooms give you a sense of ownership. They are simple cabana types structures with three important features: a comfortable bed, a cold air conditioner, and a shower. We expected a traditional room (like any chain hotel/motel) but that's not what Mahekal is about. If you find yourself wanting to stay in the room, you ain't living the experience. The room was secondary to the beach. We resorted to our rooms to sleep, get cleaned up quickly and head back out. For that the rooms were great. There are no TV's, no radios, no phones, no nada! You don't need, or want, all of that when you are there. The rooms are a place to sleep and get cleaned up.

3. Beach and Ocean: Awesome, incredible, missing it all ready, clean, seductive, and every other good word that goes with the beach experience. There are plenty of beach lounge chairs under palm trees. The salty air gives the edge you need to stay cool and comfortable. The people are beautiful, the sand is white, the water is blue, and the swimming is relaxing.

4. Security: There are several men dressed in professional uniforms who oversee the security of vacationers. I wasn't sure who they were at first, but I learned they are your version of community protectors. They watch over the beaches being mindful of your presence and needs while staying alert for any problems that may come to the beach and resort. Their presence is subdued by their ability to blend into the background, but it is appreciated because they truly watch out for the vacationers. No complaints from me about them.

5. Food at Mahekal: All inclusive? No! I made the decision to not go all inclusive when I weighed the cost and benefit. At Mahekal, you get two meals as part of your experience. Breakfast was awesome. They offer so much--it was great! The second meal could be either lunch or supper. We chose to make our second meal supper because the day was consumed with beach sitting or fulfilling other plans in Playa. The dining facilities are beautiful, well-kept, soothing, quiet with live music, and simply unparalleled in my experiences. You won't be disappointed.

What does "Mahekal" mean? In our last day, we asked. The word "magical" is phonetically pronounced "mahekal" so the resort owners creatively named the resort "Mahekal" to match the phonetic sound while giving it a Mayan-name appearance. The experience matched the name--it was a magical visit. We will be going back for more.

The Jones family (Cibolo, TX) and friends (San Antonio, TX).

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
10 Thank Kayaking-Flatwater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Anselmo
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 12, 2010

We were so happy with this hotel. This was our first time to the Yucatan Peninsula. We used this trip as our last hoorah before our 2nd child is born.... so it was mostly just a relaxing time and we didn't go there planning on doing much of anything.

A few things that you should know:

There is no wifi in the rooms. If you want to connect ot the Internet you should go to the lobby or the swing bar.

Breakfast and Dinner is included. If you want to switch your dinner to lunch, go to the main desk and ask to switch before 12:00. You can always eat lunch in the restaurant anyway, and just charge it to your room. Try the shrimp fajitas! You can also order lunch/drinks on the beach.. they have a waiter out there who will take your order.

We took the ADO bus from the Cancun airport and a cab from the bus stop to the resort. Total was about $30. If you take a cab from the airport it's $90 and a shuttle will be $60. We arranged a cab through the hotel to get us back to the airport. We just went the day before and told them we wanted a cab to take us back to the airport. It was $45.

The swimming pool near the breakfast area tends to be cooler because of the ocean breeze. We liked both pools, but during the hottest hours definitely use the pool with the ocean view.

There are plenty of lounges with Palapas. You don't need to get there early to 'save one'.

We didn't spring for an ocean view room, and didn't feel like we were missing out. It was about a 3 minute walk to the beach, and at 6 months pregnant, it was fine.

It's about a 10 minute walk to 5th Ave. It's a long walk when it's really hot.. but when it cools down at night, it's not a problem.

We took a cab to Walmart to get big jugs of water for the week. There are cabs waiting at Walmart to take you back to the hotel... so don't worry about transportation.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank wendrobn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 11, 2010

This is a beautiful and very unique place to stay. There were only a few minor flaws, but the overall charm of the resort more than make up for them. If you don't mind going without phone and TV, this is the place to be. I am a TV-Facebook addict and I did just fine without them for a week. Instead, I read a ton of books and just enjoyed the sounds of the ocean. You will never have a more beautiful view from your room.


ROOM: We stayed in Casita 31P, which is a little more expensive than the other beachfront bungalows, but very much worth it for the location. We were directly on the beach. Walk off the cute deck (complete with hammocks and a table and chairs) and you are on the beach. The ocean is just yards away. You could not ask for a better view. Any closer and you'd be afraid a shark might eat you in your sleep.

The bungalow was really neat. It has a super high thatched roof and is decorated with beautiful handpainted tiles throughout. The a/c works OK, but there are two fans which help out a bit. The bathroom is pretty, but not fancy. The sheets are scratchy. Other than that, it's perfect.

BEACH: We had no trouble finding a palapa on the beach except our first day there when there was a wedding right in front of our bungalow. The locals come down on the beach, which would be fine, except they tend to sprawl out directly in front of the beach chairs and block the view. Luckily, they are only around on the weekend. The beach had a sulphur-ish smell certain days and if you walked a ways down the beach past the resort to the left, the smell was so bad it is vomit-inducing. Thankfully, it is only mild at the resort and occasional. The ocean was very warm, but it was not crystal clear like you'd see in Aruba.

POOLS: The pools are nice when there are no kids in them.

FOOD: Breakfast is like a buffet from your dreams. Fantastic. You have your choice of lunch or dinner. Lunch was a la carte and good. Dinner was good, although people seem to complain about it on here. I am a vegetarian and I always had something to eat on the dinner buffets. A few more options for vegetarians certainly wouldn't hurt. There was a cat that wandered around and begs off of you. She only likes meat. Give her bread and she'll turn her nose up at you!

BAR: Drinks are good and cheap. Really cheap. Yeah!

CHECK-IN: We got there after a long day of travel and were told our room wasn't ready, which ticked us off because it was after 3 p.m. check in and we had the most expensive bungalow. Plus, we were really tired. Someone checked out late so we didn't get into our room until after 4 which stunk.

CELL PHONES: My husband's phone got no reception, but mine did. Make sure you authorize international calling before you leave though because I could receive calls but couldn't place them.

LIZARDS: You see a few here and there but not as many as Aruba.

DOWNTOWN: It is just a short walk. Like 5 minutes to the top of the main strip. The strip is so long you'll never walk it all and it is loaded with bars, restaurants and shops. After awhile you'll get really sick of the "Come look in my shop. Just browsing." And they even bug you to come in their restaurants which is odd. The restaurants were never busy and there is a delicious pizza shop called "That's Amore" I forced my husband to eat at three times. Also, there is a really beautiful shop full of authentic shells this American artist turned into light fixtures, called Maya-xel.

BUGS: Mosquitos and other evil beasts are all over at night. Bring tons of bug spray. Like four bottles. Not kidding.

TULUM: We loved our day trip to Tulum. Got a cab at the hotel and he waited for us for two hours to view the ruins -- and didn't charge a fee to wait.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank LennyLovesSpaghetti
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

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
#21 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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