Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Slightly pretentious, but overall relaxed vibe with affluent touches
From the road, Live Aqua looks like it ruled the scene some decades ago; the building's slightly angled (it's actually curved) rectangular shape, full of sharp lines and shiny windows, is reminiscent of classic '80s architecture. However, Live Aqua wasn't built until 2004, then was remodeled after hurricane Wilma in 2005, and finally re-opened in December 2007.
The hotel, not its guests, has a faint air of exclusivity running within its contemporary art-dotted walls -- almost making you feel privileged to be there, in the cool club. In fact, there actually is a club, on the 5th floor, that extends even more luxury to "members" and key card-only access to an exclusive lounge. Regardless of the vibe and immaculately chic decor inside the hotel, outside is relaxed, well-landscaped, and bustling with people. It's social and friendly by the pool, on the beach, and in the restaurants -- particularly in the rowdier Pool Club area. One thing is for sure, this hotel does a good job accomplishing its mission to create as many different spaces and experiences under one roof, as every space has its own individual vibe -- from the cafe and gift shop, to the luxurious spa, to the glittery night lounge, and beyond.
In the Hotel Zone within walking distance to restaurants and shops
Live Aqua Cancun is located at the midway point along Cancun's touristy Hotel Zone. Just shy of KM marker 12.5, the resort is within walking distance to the collection of luxury shops and chain-like restaurants within the popular La Isla Shopping Mall. It's also walking distance to Interactive Aquarium, Cancun's only aquarium. And although the hotel can arrange these services for guests, independent tour operators and car rental companies are also nearby. Central Cancun, the area's hustling and bustling nightlife hot spot is out of reach on foot, but less than 10 minutes by car. Cancun Airport can be reached in under 30 minutes.
Average-size rooms with modern, luxurious decor and features; all have ocean views
The understated but luxurious rooms at Live Aqua are designed to subtly impress. They are contemporary, with light marble floors and white Egyptian cotton linen providing an elegant contrast against the dark wood furniture. Soft hues like olive green, light blue, and tawny are found in the fabric accents and artwork. The overall effect is a spotless, sleek, and chic space that feels refined and stylish. All 371 rooms have minibars filled with top brands, flat-screen TVs with cable, marble bathrooms with Somma brand toiletries, separate baths (and bath toiletries), fluffy towels, and private balconies or terraces. To stimulate the senses, each room comes with an aromatherapy machine with personal scent selections. Suites have open-plan bathrooms with round hydrotherapy tubs at their center, Bose stereo equipment, dark wood partitions, and doublewide terraces. Bathrobes, slippers, and beach-ready flip-flops are also standard in rooms.
The Deluxe Rooms are the entry-level option, and upgrading to an Aqua Club Room allows for access to the 5th-floor lounge with a continental breakfast, premium drinks, appetizers, and VIP concierge service. Because this is an all-inclusive and there's plenty of food and drink to be found elsewhere on the property, most won't find these extras worth the upgrade.
All rooms have ocean views; the higher the floor, the better.
Typical luxury resort features with an emphasis on food
The main outdoor areas are the variant temperature pools, hot tub, and natural beach -- all spaces where guests should be prepared to fight for space on cabanas or loungers during high season. There's also a good portion of eateries and restaurants situated outdoors including the reservations-only In Laa'kech, an upscale seafood and meat grill (dining here requires a surcharge on top of the all-inclusive rate); and non-reservation spots such as the Asian-themed Hidden Garden (cleverly placed within a private thicket of greenery), Ozur buffet (and pool bar), Varenna (a casual dining spot), and Sea Corner (a casual Mexican seafood terrace). In addition to these and a sushi station, buffet restaurant, lounge bar with pool tables and games, and separate a la carte restaurant inside (MB, a Latin restaurant that is arguably the resort's best), the resort also has small food stations: grilling by the pool, a hot dog cart, tiny drink cart dedicated to making mojitos, a swim-up bar at the Pool Club, and a beachside bar complete with rope swing seats. Most guests are very impressed by the food here (don't miss the popular habanero soup at MB), but there are occasional complaints of bartenders soliciting tips, and once in a while, guests do get sick. The water used by the resort is treated, however, and bottled water is readily available. Note that guests do need to wear wrist bands.
If you've bitten off more than you can chew tasting all the restaurants, there is a completely state-of-the-art gym next to the beauty salon, cafe and gift shop, and large spa. Inside the spa, guests can dip in hot and cold pools, use the steam room or sauna, or disappear into the dark treatment room and relaxation area.
There are tons of activities on offer, from morning yoga classes to beach soccer to the afternoon chef's parade, where the chefs do just that -- parade around the pool, sharing tasty treats with loungers. Live music performances are often offered in the evening, though some guests feel that the nightlife here isn't as lively as at other resorts; most don't mind, as they come here seeking a tranquil stay.
Wi-Fi is free and accessible throughout the hotel.
Big, white-sand beach with no rocks
The natural beach here is spacious and beautiful. There are lots of loungers, and most guests have no issues snagging a spot -- though there may be some jostling for space during high season. Though some seaweed does accumulate along the shore, there are no rocks so guests can wade out without fear of getting cut. Strong rip currents can be dangerous, so swimmers should exercise caution. There is a volleyball net (the resort organizes tournaments), and jet skis are available to rent.
Designed to appeal to all of your senses, the 371-room Live Aqua all-inclusive luxury resort is for adults only. Contemporary upscale decor with artistic and modern details are found floor-to-ceiling, from the lily pad pond entrance, to the sophisticated and luxurious rooms, to the linen-draped beach cabana beds. The resorts vibe is best suited for those seeking a pampered and an atmosphere of modern affluence. This is one of the best luxury options in Cancun and most guests find very little to complain about; however, the food and beverage service and quality occasionally miss the mark. Hyatt Zilara is a comparable option in the Hotel Zone, but it can be pricier.