NOTE: This resort changed its name from Live Aqua Cancun to Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun in Nov. 2016.
Although I last vacationed at Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun in Feb. 2012, from all reports the resort hasn’t changed much with the exception of several dining additions. There may be some amenities or aspects of service which exist now that are different from my review, so you will have to excuse the error–let me know what they are so that I have a reason to travel back there ASAP! Yes, I did love this resort, so much so that I wistfully gaze at any picture of it I come across like a love struck teen. Aaahhh, Live Aqua. If you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about. If not, perhaps you will be tempted to venture there after reading this review and become a convert like so many others.
When I was deciding on where to vacation back in 2012, I was vacillating between Live Aqua, an adults-only resort, and Riu Palace Las Americas, a family-friendly resort (RPLA has since changed to an adults-only resort in 2016). Since I love places with Old World charm and architecture, the fact that I was considering Live Aqua with its contemporary setting puzzled even myself. I decided that since life was about exploring new possibilities and experiences, why not choose something I would normally overlook? And off I went.
I pulled up to Live Aqua Cancun’s entrance on a rainy evening and was greeted by a smiling young bellman who told me I was expected at the Aqua Club Lounge on the 5th floor for check-in. Upon entering the spacious lobby with its extensive use of glass panels and multiple “tranquility fountains”, I was immediately struck by the scent of eucalyptus and peppermint (my first thought was to question the spa’s location in regards to the lobby). This, however, is the signature scent of the resort; guests have the option of creating their own in-room aromatherapy environment with the scent kits provided. Walking towards the elevators with the soft background sounds of New Age music, I began to relax–this struck me as unusual at the time, because anyone who knows me is aware that it takes me at least two full days to get into vacation mode. A definite plus for Live Aqua as far as I’m concerned.
The 5th floor Aqua Club Lounge can’t be mistaken–it is right in the center of the 5th floor surrounded by glass; you can’t get in unless you slide your room card in the appropriate slot. Services of the Lounge are only available to those staying in suites and 5th floor Aqua Club guest rooms–continental breakfast, tequila and beer offerings, tea time, and various snacks throughout the day are offered to select guests. Little did I know that I had arrived at the Lounge’s busiest time–pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres and top-shelf liquors were being served, so I had to wait a few minutes prior to being admitted by the staff. Check-in took all of five minutes; my room turned out to be just two doors down from the Lounge which gave me great access to the Lounge itself as well as a stellar ocean and resort view.
An Aqua Club guest room is a just like a regular Deluxe category room with adequate space and a standard size balcony with two chairs and a small table. Unlike other resorts, however, a second bed in the room at Live Aqua is not a double, it is a queen-size bed. I don’t know who manufactured their mattresses, but it was the most comfortable sleep experience I’ve ever had at a Mexican resort. The bathroom has a Jacuzzi tub and separate glass-enclosed shower, single sink, and a double flush toilet system (different buttons depending on water amount used). I did notice that since my stay in 2012, the resort has added a rectangular window with lever blinds to many bathrooms so that guests may now take advantage of the view outdoors when showering or changing. There is also a telephone in the bathroom as well as the room with a concierge-designated line “MWYW”–My Wish Your Wish. It’s nice to know that if I desire something or have a question, even while using the commode, that there are designated staff just waiting to make my wish happen. One of the nicest surprises of staying here was the little “something” left in the room after nightly turndown service; on one occasion it was a miniature Zen sand garden with a miniature implement so that I could rearrange the sand if I wished. Beats a towel animal any day.
The signature amenity of Live Aqua is unquestionably the pool area. If you count the Jacuzzi and deeper section of the lap pool, there are eight to choose from, and all are heated to various degrees. When I first arrived at the resort (early Feb.), water was frigid in all pools but soon fully warmed up by day three of my stay. Although I didn’t make it in all eight pools, my favorites were the circular beachfront infinity pool with 180 degree ocean views, the separate pool with the swim-up bar on the north side of the property, and the lap pool for wading around attempting to eavesdrop on others’ conversations. Not really, but I did make some friends at the swim-up bar. I was outdoors by 7:30 a.m. in order to snag premiere outdoor lounger space by the beachfront infinity pool; most desirable spots with ocean views were definitely gone shortly thereafter. Bali beds are scattered throughout the pool area as well as on the beach but are $80 per day these days–if you are staying in a suite you can reserve one for the entire length of your stay with the pool concierge for no additional charge (free foot massages are also included for those in Bali beds). There’s no raucous music poolside which goes with the resort’s relaxing theme, so bring your own iPod/phone and earphones.
If you’re a beach person you will love the smooth, powdery-white sand beach and turquoise ocean water typical of Hotel Zone beaches. In 2012 there were sand drop-offs to the north which made ocean entry difficult, but it looks like these have been evened out. The resort has also planted foliage and palms on the beach which will create some natural shade for future visitors. Mind red flag days–undertows are powerful in the Hotel Zone which can create unsafe swimming conditions. (While here in 2012 I witnessed a water rescue right in front of the resort). The beach is great for long walks in either direction; those looking for water sports can find parasailing and Jet Ski rentals to the north and south of Live Aqua.
Don’t bring your preconceived notions about all-inclusive food to this resort because the cuisine here is phenomenal. I loved the menu at the more formal “mb”, the shrimp tacos from Sea Corner (I had them everyday poolside for lunch), and the morning buffet at Siete restaurant. Since 2012, Live Aqua has added two courtyard restaurants, a sushi station, a crepe station, and a deli. Besides being able to eat poolside, I understand that guests may now eat their lunch on the beach.
When you become tired of eating, drinking, swimming, and sunning, there is always La Isla Shopping Village right across the street bordering Nichupte Lagoon which has high-end stores, souvenir shops, interactive aquarium, dolphin swim experience, restaurants, bars, and water sports rentals. Kukulcan Plaza and the adjacent Luxury Avenue shopping areas are just south of Live Aqua Cancun.
Perhaps the only criticism I have concerning this resort is the lack of evening entertainment. There is Egos lobby bar which hosts a DJ on the weekends, but no dedicated dance floor (there wasn’t any in 2012). Since I wanted to experience some genuine Cancun nightlife, I took the local bus to Coco Bongo instead (bus fare is $1 p/p). You can catch the bus next door at Westin Lagunamar, it’s about a 10 min. ride at most.
Live Aqua Cancun has just about everything a vacationer to Cancun needs–and in a beautiful contemporary setting. Would I return? Again and again, if time and the budget allowed. Check out my other article for more specific resort information, and watch the video below for a glimpse into life at Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun!
The comments in this review are those of the author/reviewer. This trip was paid for in its entirety by the author; at no time were any monies or services exchanged for this review.
Location: 20 min. north of the Cancun airport.
Telephone: 52-998-881-7600 or 01800-288-2983 (Mexico), 1-877-927-7666 (USA), 52-998-881-7601 (fax).