How Two Playa del Carmen Properties Became One Luxury Resort

In Architecture & Design, Playa del Carmen & Tulum, Stay by Suzanne Koch

Before the lush paradise of Mahekal Beach Resort looked as it does today, it was two separately owned, less memorable properties. Dallas-based architecture firm three and owner/developer group Circa Capital were trusted to unify the adjacent resorts into one.

“Mahekal means ‘magical’ and our client wanted to create an allure for 21st-Century travelers that lives up to the name. We were tasked with looking at two adjacent, low-performing resort properties and delivering a unified ‘magical’ vision of spectacular possibilities — without alienating the resort’s base of loyal guests.” 

Gary Koerner, Architect and Founder, three

Check out a few of the ways three achieved success for Mahekal Beach Resort.

Create Brand Identity and Continuity

Working with landscape architects Talley Associates, three was instrumental in conceiving a strategic layout that obscures anything resembling boundaries between the two properties and enhance the resort experience. The design also called for new pools and updates to existing ones, creating another unifying element, along with outdoor bars to activate the resort’s social gathering spots and create the desired visual unity. Signature touches like hammocks serve as a subtle unifier, too: Mahekal is one of only a few area resorts that now feature individual hammocks in each palapa (open-air bungalow).

Collaboration is Key

To achieve a reimagined vision for Mahekal, the client engaged three, and several top-rated design groups, including luxury wedding planner Todd Fiscus (Todd Events) and landscape architects Talley Associates. Fiscus was instrumental in expanding the resort’s appeal as a wedding destination, helping introduce an enchanting event venue which was designed and located for memorable ceremonies and receptions. Fiscus also provided input, along with interior designer Hilda Espino, to dramatically enhance the existing palapas, resulting in an upscale identity and a continuous, bohemian aesthetic to the historical architecture.

Amenities as Differentiator

According to Koerner, “Until recently Mahekal was aged out, at best a three-star property and the adjacent Las Palapas needed a lot of work. Working with Circa we envisioned not only a unified brand design but also a strategy for amenitizing that would result in a single, cohesive four-star resort.” The architects proposed a Mayan-inspired spa, a modern fitness center, new pools, updated bars and restaurants, and an off-street arrival court resulting in a resort that would be competitive with other four-star resorts’ amenities packages.

For more information, visit:

Click here to read more about Mahekal Beach Resort and here to book a stay now.

Share this article