Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

JAN-FEB 2019

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Page 41 of 135

In stark contrast to its neighbors, whose behemoth developments cast a long shadow on the sands of Playa Del Carmen in Mexico's Riviera Maya, the luxury Mahekal Beach Resort grew out of more humble beginnings and continues to distinguish itself by holding onto a more bohemian bent. Situated directly on Playa del Carmen's longest stretch of beach (920 feet to be exact), and at the terminus of a side street that branches off of bustling Quinta Avenida, what is most notable about Mahekal is that it almost goes unnoticed amid the lush tropical landscaping that envelopes the property. Five decades ago, a Mexican family built six thatched-roof palapas on this beachfront plot to rent to backpackers; over time, that number grew to more than 100 individual accommodations. Although the property has changed hands several times, and underwent a $16 million facelift completed in 2016, the present ownership has remained true to the property's free-spirited roots by ensuring that buildings don't peek above the tallest palm trees, and that the bungalow-style accommodations and guest experiences incorporate aspects of the local Mayan culture. "e wonderful people and culture of Mexico deserve to be celebrated," said general manager Attila Gombos. Amenities spread among the verdant property include four swimming pools (three of them with swim-up bars); an oceanfront hot tub; the Revive Spa and fitness center; five restaurants and bars; an on-property dive center; a beachside fire pit; an boutique full of locally made crafts; an painting palapa where guests can paint their own ceramic souvenirs under the direction of an accomplished artisan; and, a unique Mayan Culinary Casita. A MAGICAL MAHEK AL A beachfront oasis in Playa Del Carmen Written by Caylee Matthews / Photography by Chris Wimpey 40

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