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Mahekal Beach Resort
Ranked #29 of 215 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 February 2008

2 friends and I stayed at the Shangri La Caribe for a week in January. As others have stated, the grounds are beautiful and the location perfect.
The food was more than satisfactory. Even the dinners, which many have critisized, were much better than I was expecting. My friends, who both work in upscale Montreal restaurants, found the dinners very good as well. I really don't know what people expect for a dinner that's included in the room price but I have eaten in expensive "fine dining" restaurants that I did not enjoy as much.
It was most definitely the nicest spot that we saw in Playa del Carmen. It truly is a shame that this hotel will be demolished to put up condos, which are a dime a dozen around there. I wish the new owners would rethink their plans and realize how unique and inviting this hotel is and be proud to keep it the oasis it is. But, the almighty dollar beckons I guess.
I really hope that I can make it back there before it closes and enjoy it one more time. Playa del Carmen is nice but it is the Shangri La Caribe that I would return for.

Stayed: January 2008
5  Thank justmyopinion_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,081 - 2,085 of 2,929 reviews

Reviewed 10 February 2008

The resort is a gorgeous property. The grounds and buildings are all beautiful. 2 pools, large hot tub, nice bar with swings and 2 pool tables and 2 ping pong tables. We had, I think, the best bungalow, 31P. It was about 30 yards from the ocean, right on the beach. Some of the other beachfront units were too close to the water and the traffic of the pedestrians, runners, and families who plunk down on the beach. We had 2 hammocks on the porch, as I think all of the units had. There was a wonderful breeze on the beach, so we never had to use our air conditioning. Away from the beach it was hot though, so I'd guess units not on the beach did use the A.C.

My husband and I thought the food was good. Breakfast (included) was a beautiful fruit buffet, 2 types of fresh juice, sausages, hash browns, breads, teas, coffee, and your choice of omelets, eggs, french toast, pancakes and mexican breakfasts as well. The lunches (not included) were OK. The Mexican food is real Mexican food - it is not Tex-Mex or something you'd find at Chipotle or Chile's. So it may not look like you expect it too. This was the way we found it to be on or off the resort. We also thought the dinners (included) were fine. The grilled fish was especially good. Some nights there was a buffet and some nights 2-3 choices (i.e. pastas, pork, fish). I thought the drink prices were fine ($3-4 US) for a beer, about $4-5 US for a cocktail. Happy Hour with 2 for 1 on most drinks from 5-6.

The location was great, at the north end of Playa, right on the beach. To walk to town on the beach was about 20-25 minutes and about a 10-15 minute walk on the city streets. It's about 3 blocks to 5th avenue, the main street, which is a fun pedestrian walkway. We walked back through town by ourselves at night to the hotel and felt quite safe.

The down side -- the staff. We finally found a bartender with personality, after about 5 days. The rest of them just weren't real friendly, even with tips. Wendy at the front desk was downright rude, on a couple of occasions. We asked the female concierge if she could recommend a few good restaurants in town. Her reply: "I don't know, I never go down there." Really!

We are saddened that it's going to close. We were told it was closing in April 2009. We would love to go back and spend time at this beautiful resort. Except for the staff, it was a slice of heaven and I'd highly recommend it, especially if you like laid back, small resorts. Although there must have been several hundred people there, we never saw many people, at the pools, at the meals. I guess that's the beauty of the layout.

We didn't have any problems with the orange beach towels, by the way. We'd leave ours out on the beach lounge chairs to hold our spot all day and they'd always be there when we got back.

Also, do lock everything in the safe. When we checked in, we heard them telling people they'd had some problems with theft. We never had any problems with that or with any bugs in the bungalow.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank AngelaColumbus_OH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2008

Date: Jan 26 - Feb 2
We just returned from a great week stay at the Shangri-la and can safely say that our trip was more than what we expected. The palapa style theme was an experience we will never forget. I consider myself a pretty laid back and easily going person so my review of this resort I think will give you an honest and accurate account of what one might experience.

Check in - we arrived at the resort around 12:00 noon, however our room was not going to be available until 3:00pm. We left our bags behind the check in counter and proceed for lunch followed up by some time under the sun. There were no issues until after lunch when we proceeded to make use of the lounge chairs and beach palapas. I was approached on three occasions by resort security to present proof of our reservation or stay at the hotel. Their English was non existent so luckily I had a print out of my hotel invoice showing proof of our stay. Basically, the dead give away was our lack of the orange towels the hotel provides for you during your stay. I would suggest that if you arrive several hours before check in and you plan to sit on the lounge chairs you should ask at check in for your orange towels. If not you can still sunbath but just have to stay off the lounge chairs.

Beach - Awesome beach, white sand and well maintained, one important thing you should know that it is a public beach. If you revert back to the hotel website take note of the map plan of the resort, there is a gap between the Caribe and Adventura section. This is actually a road that ends at the beach giving public access; it really wasn't a problem you just have to keep in mind that there will be a local presence especially on the weekends. We noted a group of young adults who came everyday at the same time and situated themselves between the beach line and the resort lounge chairs. I had no issues with this until our last day (Friday) when they showed up earlier than usual. There was one girl who basically talked non stop from 10am to 4pm, I didn't mind at first, but she became more annoying as time went on and because it was our last day I wanted to spend as much time on the beach as possible. After a borderline nervous breakdown my wife and I couldn't take it anymore and left for the pool for the last few hours of sun. Aside from that one day, I would say that our overall impression of the beach was a perfect 10!

Food - Breakfast was great with a wide variety of choices, the lunch menu was pretty reasonably priced and the food was good. With regards to dinner I would say overall that it was satisfactory, our first meal (Sat) was only two choices, chicken or steak. It was okay but I was worried about the limited choices offered, however going forward the meal selection improved and we were not disappointed. We ate diner at the resort every night except twice when we strolled down 5th Ave for something different. Please be reminded that all drinks and lunches are not included and must be paid for, you could set up a "tab" at check in or pay as you go, I elected to pay as I go. The best way to go if you are a beer drinker is buy a styrofoam cooler for your room, fill it with ice and store bought beer. There were quite a few people who did this, this would work especially well if you are staying in either the ocean view or beach front papalas. FYI, it is rare for the waiter to come and serve you on the beach, this happened only once from us during our stay. Depending on which part of the beach you are situated on, it could be long walk to the bar.

Rooms - our room was very clean and we had no issues or complaints about anything, we never used the AC because of the cool ocean breeze at night along with the ceiling fan keep the room at a comfortable temperature. As noted on their website, there are no phones or TV's in the rooms, which created a very quiet and relaxing atmosphere.

Facilities - This resort does not provide any evening entertainment or shows, there is a main bar with a lounge consisting of two ping pong tables and two pool tables. If you are looking for something low key and quiet this is the place for you. The main strip, 5th Ave is a 10min walk away, it is pretty dark from the hotel up to 5th Ave, the street lights were not work however it was only a short distance (100m) and perfectly safe, there are always people around.

This resort provided the perfect relaxing vacation were looking for, it was simply amazing. If you have read previous reviews there were rumors stating that the hotel will be closing. We inquired and found that this was true, as to when the answer was not definite. I hope it stays around for a least another year so we could visit it one more time, if you have chance to stay at this resort I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed. If you wish to stay in the beach front or ocean view units, you will need to book well in advance.

I hope this review helps, feel free to contact me should you have any questions.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Ancor71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2008

My husband and I just got back from a 4 night stay at the SLC. It was wonderful!

- Service -

** The service at the front desk was excellent. We checked right in, and also had prompt service whenever we stopped for anything else.

** The waitstaff was mixed - the waiters themselves were not super friendly, however the busboys were exceptional. We ended up tipping them after each meal as well, because they definitely worked hard and we wondered if they ever saw much of the tips.

** Housekeeping seemed to spend a significant amount of time cleaning each room everyday, so we were able to always come back from the beach to a spotless room.

** The bartenders were friendly, though service could be a little slow during happy hour since so many people were down there for the B1G1. Side Note: I am pregnant so ordered 2 Strawberry
Daiquiris minus the alcohol...when we got our bill we did not get the B1G1 price and were told that since they had no alcohol in them, they were not on special. Ok!

- Accomodations -

** We had a top floor ocean view room. It was nothing fancy, but was charming and very clean. The view was just as great as the website suggested, and the balcony w/ its table and chairs was wonderful.
There were very few bugs...the only times we found there were bugs was if we left any type of sweet snack out...little tiny bugs would find it. So once we realized that, we were able to prevent any bugs at all.
We did not have hot water when we arrived, but as soon as we notified the front desk, it had been fixed by our next shower.
There were plenty of hangers and shelves in the closet area...no drawers, but storage space was never an issue.

** The grounds were beautiful. Very charming and relaxing. We didn't feel like we were at a fancy resort, however, we so loved the relaxing and casual atmosphere as well as how close we were to the beach and pool...that was the best part about the trip! There were constantly staff out maintaining the grounds and beach, so it was always immaculate.

- Food -

** Breakfast was wonderful. It was a combination of continental breakfast (juice, pastries, cereals, fresh fruit, etc..) and a vast selection of menu items as well. Breakfast was in a islandy room overlooking the pool and beach.

** Dinner was ok. I am a very picky eater (and vegetarian) so often left hungry. The food itelf tasted good (accordingly to my husband) but the selection was just not the best if you are not an adventurous eater. Fortunately, they post the menu at the front desk early in the day so you have the option to go elsewhere.

** There are so many restaurants on 5th ave just a short walk from the SLC. My favorite was a small crepes place ('The Crepe Factory' off 24th (a few doors from 5th ave). It was definitely a local hangout, and had delicious and affordable crepes!

Great stay overall. Quiet and relaxing. Not a ton of exciting nightlife, which was just fine for us, but this may not be the best option if you are looking for exciting long nights out.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank btmaxwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2008

I have to report that I am very said to have logged on to the site today and see many rumors that the hotel is being sold? I wish there was a way to confirm this.

We had an excellent stay at the Shangi-la. Both my wife and I have been in the hospitality industry for years and found that the staff was friendly and accomodating. There was a mix-up with our reservation which they fixed the very next day. My parents were there at the same time and had some noise issues with the adjoining room and the resort took $500 off their bill. I consider this to be above and beyond what is a necessary response. After all, if you're in Mexico there's going to be some loud drunks anywhere you're staying!

Please disregard the negative reviews on this site as these people obviously have nothing better to do than complain. We had our wedding their so we had many, many guests staying at the same time and everyone agreed that it was one of the best resorts that any of us had ever frequented. The theme of our wedding week was, "Have another cocktail" and obviously that it what many of the people on this forum should have done!

The reviews are correct in that dinner is marginal, but who stays and eats dinner at the resort anyway? Breakfast was fantastic and a lunch of guacamole and beers will tide you over until you head out for the evening.

If you want a sanitized, Americanized, boring experience than don't stay here. However, if you want beautiful ambience and an excellent Mexican (Read: Not an American experience in Mexico) experience than stay here. I only wish it wasn't supposedly being closed down. If this is true we won't be able to celebrate our anniversaries in the place we were married. :(

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank 349benjamint
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:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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: €197 - €414 (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, Mexico - Playa Del Carmen

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