Oceanfront resort, a five-minute walk to shopping, restaurants, and nightlife
Thatched-roof bungalows with hammocks and views of gardens or water
Hot tubs plus four pools — one infinity-edge
Three bars and three restaurants, all with views
Bikes, snorkeling equipment, and scuba gear to rent
Pool tables and table tennis
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Meeting space available
Revive Spa includes a 24-hour fitness center
Thatched roofs compromises soundproofing
Rooms lack TVs and phones
Beachfront rooms get noise
Beach can be strewn with a lot of seaweed
A boho-chic, beachfront property, the upper-middle-range Mahekal Beach Resort has 196 rooms with garden or ocean views, many of which have thatched roof bungalows — though they lack TVs and telephones. Features include four swimming pools, three bars, three restaurants, and a spa with a gym. Kids are welcome here, but with its bars, sexy, naturalistic decor, and proximity to nightlife, the resort feels more like a place to bring a significant other (or to meet one). For a boutique hotel property in Playa del Carmen more geared to families, travelers could try the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo instead.
“Gypset style” is how the hotel describes its decor, modeled after the sophisticated boho-chic look chronicled in Julia Chapin’s book of the same name. That look is certainly pronounced in the Mahekal’s open-air reception area with a vaulted, palapa roof with lighting swaying in bamboo cages overhead. There is a glass table with a driftwood base and some low-slung sofas near a big, masonry fireplace. The stucco bungalows are painted turquoise and have thatched roofs and rustic wood porches with simple white hammocks. Most guests are couples and adult travelers, though children are welcome and kids under the age of four stay free.
On the water, two blocks from the lively main strip
The Mahekal is near the center of Playa del Carmen, between the Maya Jungle and the Caribbean coastline of the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. It is two blocks from Fifth Avenue, a district brimming with restaurants, shops, and hotels, and live music and dancing in the evening. It’s just under a 20-minute drive to Xcaret and a few minutes farther to the caves and cenotes at Rio Secreto. The Mayan ruins at Tulum take half an hour to reach by car. Two golf courses — the Golf Club at Playacar and the course at Grand Coral Riviera Maya — are just under 15 minutes away by car. The Cancun Airport is a 45-minute drive away.
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