NOTE: This resort changed its name from Live Aqua Cancun to Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun in Nov. 2016.
Voted “Best Resort in Mexico” by Travel and Leisure magazine in 2012 (and currently ranked #2 in Cancun hotels by Trip Advisor readers), Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun is a true Hotel Zone resort gem for adults. It is easy to spot the resort from a distance–the nine-story, curved outer structure with sections of green glass and rectangular cut-out soaring above the entryway welcomes guests and sets the stage for the chic, contemporary style of the resort.
Upon entering the lobby, guests have a commanding view of the grounds and sea through floor-to-ceiling glass panels; aromatherapy, new age music, and “tranquility fountains” bordered by armless loungers also contributes to the spa and Zen-like atmosphere in the lobby area. Guests staying in a suite or 5th floor Aqua Club room are promptly taken to the 5th floor Aqua Club Lounge for private check-in; all daytime check-ins typically receive complimentary hand massages in addition to cool facecloths and herbal tea. NOTE: Those sensitive to fragrances will find that Live Aqua Cancun is not a good vacation fit due to the strong aromatherapy presence throughout the resort.
Most write-ups state this resort offers eight pools, and this is true if one counts the separate Jacuzzi and integrated deeper end of the lap pool. Here is a list of the pools, all of which are clustered beachfront and heated to various degrees:
- circular infinity pool. This pool overlooks the beach and has a great 180 degree ocean view.
- lap pool. Spans across a large area of beachfront and has two integrated circular pools including the infinity pool.
- the south side of the lap pool offers deeper water for swimming.
- three circular pools (in addition to the infinity pool).
- the Jacuzzi is at the end of the main walkway just before the pool area.
- the swim-up bar is in its own separate pool on the north side of the resort.
All sundecks offer shade umbrellas, loungers, and daybeds, while Bali beds are interspersed throughout the entire pool area. While suite guests receive a complimentary beach or pool Bali bed for the entire length of their stay, others may rent one for USD $80 per day. Complimentary foot massages are also offered to Bali bed guests.
The beach here is excellent with powder white sand and a smooth, sandy ocean bottom. As is typical for Hotel Zone beaches, however, undertows can be strong with red flag advisories posted frequently. Shade umbrellas and palapas, loungers, and Bali beds line the beach area, while the resort has planted a large section of vegetation and palms for future shade opportunities. Although no water sports are offered on-site, there are opportunities to parasail and rent Jet Skis both to the north and south of the resort–look for signs on the beach. Also, Live Aqua has a beach bar complete with swing seats which one does not see that often in Mexican all-inclusives.
Guest rooms continue the contemporary, spa-like ambiance with in-room aromatherapy diffusers and soothing room colors with dark wood furniture. Every room and suite has a balcony with most offering stellar views of the very turquoise Caribbean Sea. Even some garden view room balconies/terraces on the south side of the resort offer ocean or partial ocean views due to the empty lot next door. Suites are spacious with many offering in-room Jacuzzi tubs and large balcony space–the décor is exquisite and relaxing while the extra perks of staying in a suite certainly justifies the additional cost (re. complimentary Bali bed plus access to the private Aqua Club Lounge–see below for a list of its amenities).
Another advantage of staying at Live Aqua is the quality and variety of food. There are seven restaurants, three alone of which are located in the more intimate shaded courtyard section. In recent years, the resort has added a small sushi station downstairs, a deli, and two new courtyard restaurants. A stay at Live Aqua wouldn’t be complete without a lunch at Sea Corner which sits beachfront just below the swim-up bar pool area. The shrimp tacos are phenomenal and the beach and ocean view cannot be beat.
This resort is primarily for couples looking for a more sedate retreat in a beautiful contemporary setting; partiers will be disappointed since there is very little nightlife offered. However, the resort is a short cab or bus ride away from such night spots as Coco Bongo, The City, Mandala, or Señor Frogs if looking for more serious partying. Shoppers, on the other hand, will appreciate the fact that the resort is directly across the street from La Isla Shopping Village Cancun and just down the street from Kukulcan Plaza.
Since I visited this resort in 2012, you can read my review by following this link.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Heated pools, gorgeous suites, lots of restaurants, free WiFi
Con: Aromatherapy can be quite strong in the lobby area, lack of evening entertainment
Best Suited For: Couples looking to relax in a contemporary setting
No. of Rooms: 371
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, balcony/terrace, A/C, armchair, mini-bar, in-room safe with interior charging ability, flat screen TV, CD/DVD player, two telephones (the concierge connection is labeled “MWYW”–My Wish Your Wish), aromatherapy diffusers with various scents, coffee maker, radio alarm clock with iPod dock, iron/ironing board, robes, beach bag, sandals, hair dryer, Jacuzzi tub, separate shower, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, and complimentary WiFi. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Deluxe Garden View: King or two dbl beds (try to book this room on the south side–the empty lot next door makes it possible for some rooms to have a partial ocean view).
- Deluxe Ocean View: King or two dbl beds, located on floors 1-4
- Deluxe Oceanfront Balcony: King or two dbl beds. Located on floors 6-9.
- Deluxe Oceanfront Terrace: King or two dbl beds; the terrace adds another 130 sq. feet to the room space and has two full loungers.
- Aqua Club Oceanfront: King or two dbl beds; these rooms are only located on the 5th floor and offer access to the Aqua Club Lounge, also located on the 5th floor.
- Aqua Suite: King bed in separate bedroom area along with his ‘n hers closets, table and two chairs, footstool, in-room Jacuzzi tub, dbl sinks, two flat screen TV’s, sitting room area with two sofas, four footstools, coffee table, and expansive balcony with two full loungers, table and two chairs. Located in the end terraced sections of the resort.
- Viento Suite: This suite is one large space which is divided by a mid-room partition. On one side is the sitting room area with a sofa, armchair, desk and two chairs, and flat screen TV on the partition, while on the other side is the bedroom area with a king bed, armchair, another flat screen TV, and direct access to the bathroom with its Jacuzzi tub, high pressure shower, and dbl sinks. The balcony is standard size with two chairs and a small table.
- Fuego Suite: The interior of this suite is similar to the Viento Suite in that it is one large space divided by a mid-room partition. On one side is the sitting room area with sofa, armchair, flat screen TV, desk and two chairs, while the other is the bedroom area with a king bed, armchair, flat screen TV, and in-room Jacuzzi tub (like the Aqua Suite) and dbl sinks. Part of what makes this suite unique is the expansive, wraparound balcony with its views of both the ocean and Nichupte Lagoon. Located in the end terraced sections of the resort.
- Tierra Suite: This suite has two separate and distinct spaces–a bedroom with king bed (looks just like a Deluxe room), a living room area with a large sectional sofa, coffee table, small table and two chairs, flat screen TV, two bathrooms, two mini-bars, and two balconies. Some of these suites are located on the top floors.
- Presidential Suite: This fabulous suite has two bedrooms (king bed in one and two queen beds in another–the secondary bedroom looks just like a Deluxe room and each bedroom has its own small balcony), two full bathrooms with Jacuzzi tubs, half-bath in the hallway between the two rooms, large living room area with sectional sofa, coffee table, flat screen TV, wet bar with bar stools, large desk and chair, separate area for the Jacuzzi tub, dressing room, rainforest showerhead, dbl sinks, large balcony with Jacuzzi, lengthy plunge pool, dining table and six chairs, outdoor shower, and full loungers. There are two of these suites, one on either side of the end terraced sections on the 7th floor.
(Aqua Club Lounge amenities): Aqua Club guest rooms and all suites have access to this private lounge located in the middle of the 5th floor with panoramic ocean views.
- continental buffet breakfast (7 a.m. to 12 p.m.)
- snacks, tequila and beer bar (1 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
- tea time with pastries (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
- hors d’oeuvres (6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
- open bar with top-shelf liquors, wines, and champagne (5:30 to 7:30 p.m.)
Physically Challenged Rooms: Available
Resort Amenities: Eight pools with varying temperatures including four infinity pools (the swim-up bar is in a separate pool on the north end), Jacuzzi, spa, beauty salon, fitness center, tennis (check the rooftop area of the adjoining building near the conference center), separate yoga area, billiard table, pool/beach wait service, pool concierge, hotel concierge, tour desk, computer corner with printer, jewelry shop, gift shop, luxury car availability, and ATM.
Restaurants/Bars: There is one partial buffet restaurant (Siete), and four a la cartes including Mediterranean seafood (Azur), Latin and Mexican cuisine (mb), Thai and Asian (Hidden Garden), and surf ‘n turf (Inlaa’Kech Lobster and Grill–needs reservations for each of its seatings at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m., USD $60 p/p). Reservations are not required for the other restaurants. There are additional luncheon venues including Varenna (pasta, salads, pizza), and Sea Corner (located below the swim-up bar and pool area which serves ceviche and tacos). If this isn’t enough to choose from, the Sushi Station offers fresh plates of sushi or sashimi, while the Café Deli Boutique offers sandwiches and pastries; there is a crepe station set up in the afternoons outside Siete restaurant. Paella is offered poolside several times per week, while chefs make their daily snack parade around the pool in the early afternoon. Bars include Aka (lower level), Egos (lobby bar), the bar adjoining Azur restaurant, beachfront bar with swings, and a swim-up bar. Mexican flaming coffee is also served in the evenings.
Entertainment: Daytime staff attempts to organize some activities such as beach volleyball, table tennis tournaments, aqua exercise classes, and daily yoga lessons, but there is little organized entertainment for guests with the exception of the beach fire show and live music (opera) at the Azur restaurant once per week. Occasionally there is a poolside show as well. Music and impromptu dancing occurs in the Egos bar (there is a DJ on the weekends), but overall the resort stays relatively quiet at night. Staff does arrange for guests to go the local nightclubs with VIP table service for a fee.