Looking for a boutique hotel in the heart of Playa del Carmen’s bustling scene with all-inclusive dining and drinking privileges? Look no further than the Posadas Group’s newest hotel acquisition, Hotel Live Aqua Boutique Resort Playa del Carmen (formerly Hotel Cacao). For those who know the distinctive level of service and quality culinary offerings of Cancun’s Live Aqua resort, expect more of the same with Live Aqua’s Playa del Carmen location. This hotel is just off of pedestrian-friendly 5th Avenue on the corner of Calle Quinta Avenida and Calle 32 within easy walking distance to shops, bars, and restaurants, while the beach is a five-minute stroll from the front door. This hotel offers discount coupons for two of Playa del Carmen’s more popular beach clubs, Kool and Mamita’s; while there are normally no daily entrance fees to PDC’s beach clubs, there are typically charges for loungers, Bali beds, shade umbrellas, food and drink. The discount coupons can be up to 50% off–check with the front desk.
The contemporary, chic style of Hotel Live Aqua has been tastefully created with the use of Mexican building materials and light fixtures, while art pieces grace the hotel’s public spaces. One can’t miss the VW automobile covered with painted shells by the rooftop pool, while a painted mural done by Brazilian street artist Kobra covers an entire restaurant wall. Sometimes local materials used in construction are also art pieces in themselves, such as the numerous Mexican tiles used to make the backdrop in the rooftop bar.
After admiring the colorful bar tiles, guests can enjoy the numerous daybeds, cushioned armchairs, loveseats, and hanging chairs situated around the rooftop pool while enjoying cocktails and something to eat. While a sushi and tapas restaurant is nearby, guests don’t need to leave their comfortable daybed to enjoy a light meal–and all with an ocean view. For those who enjoy an evening swim, the rooftop pool and bar stay open late.
There are two additional restaurants to round out the hotel’s dining offerings including an a la carte featuring Asian and Indian cuisine, while the main restaurant, The Mural, serves contemporary takes on traditional offerings. There is no standard buffet; instead, most a la carte items are freshly prepared with the ability to special order dishes based on food allergies or preferences such as vegetarian options. Tired of dressing up to eat? Hotel Live Aqua also offers 24-hr. complimentary room service for those who just want to chill in their rooms while grabbing a bite to eat.
After spending an evening exploring Playa del Carmen, guests will want to return to their large, contemporary Deluxe room or Suite with comfortable king or dbl beds, large shower with rainforest showerhead, 46″ flat screen TV, restocked mini-bar, robes, filtered water, and free hotel WiFi (don’t expect to do a lot of work or streaming video, though, since the connection is spotty). If the budget will allow, upgrade to the Master Suite with a separate sitting room, dbl shower, terrace Jacuzzi, and view of 5th Avenue.
Hotel Live Aqua also offers a gym, sauna, spa, and bicycles for guest use. For those guests not willing to commit to a spa appointment, spa therapists often visit the rooftop pool area to offer complimentary foot and hand massages while trying to encourage guests to take the plunge and make an appointment.
While this hotel is definitely a unique all-inclusive concept for adults, it is not for everyone. For those who enjoy a multitude of amenities with easy beach access at their doorstep, Hotel Live Aqua would not be a good fit. For those who enjoy a more intimate, contemporary boutique hotel experience with plenty of opportunity to engage in sensory overload mere steps away, Hotel Live Aqua may be the right hotel for your next vacation.
Type of Resort: Adults-only
Pro: Boutique hotel, located in downtown Playa del Carmen, rooftop pool, free WiFi
Con: Spotty WiFi, not on the beach, some rooms don’t have a balcony, some rooms can be noisy, no A/C in the lobby or main restaurant
Best Suited For: Couples wanting a boutique hotel experience with Playa del Carmen at their doorstep.
No. of Rooms: 60
Room Amenities: King or two dbl beds, A/C, mini-bar, digital safe, flat screen TV, small table and two chairs, telephone, radio alarm clock with iPhone dock, personalized aromatherapy, full length mirror, hair dryer, shower with rainforest showerhead, toiletries, 24-hr. room service, and free WiFi. There are no in-room coffee makers. Here is a brief rundown of guest room categories:
- Deluxe: King or two dbl beds. Some rooms do not have a balcony.
- Jr. Suite: King bed, L-shaped sectional sofa, dbl vessel sink, balcony.
- Master Suite: Separate bedroom with king bed, his ‘n hers closets, flat screen TV, separate living room with sectional sofa and coffee table, flat screen TV, balcony with Jacuzzi, two full loungers, sofa, table and two chairs, bathroom with dbl vessel sinks, dbl shower.
Physically Challenged Rooms: Not available
Resort Amenities: Rooftop pool (no swim-up bar), spa, sauna, fitness center, bicycles, discount coupons to Mamita’s and Kool Beach Clubs, pool wait service, free WiFi, concierge, and tour desk.
Restaurants/Bars: All restaurants are primarily a la cartes including The Mural which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Dai which serves cuisine from Asia and India, a sushi and tapas bar on the rooftop deck, and a coffee and deli shop which serves sweets as well as croissants, sandwiches, and paninis. There is only one bar which is located on the rooftop and it serves top-shelf liquor. Room service is offered 24-7.
Entertainment: There is no theater or regularly scheduled onsite entertainment. Since the hotel is located in the midst of downtown Playa del Carmen, it is not difficult to walk to bars with entertainment or grab a quick cab to the numerous clubs located in Playa.