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Fodor's Cancun and the Riviera Maya 2014
Live AQUA Cancún
At a Glance
- huge suites
- all rooms have oceanfront views
- extensive spa services
- free yoga classes offered daily
- aromatherapy scents in public spaces can be strong
- only one restaurant is open for lunch
- no kids under 18
Check Rates from our Partners
Live AQUA Cancún Review
You won't find raucous Spring Breakers or screaming kids at this ultra-stylish Mexican-owned Hotelera Posadas property, which mostly attracts luxury-minded thirtysomething sun worshippers. Instead, expect soothing hues, large airy rooms, and a resident DJ spinning tunes that perfect the Zen vibe. MB Restaurant (by James Beard Award-winning Miami chef Michelle Bernstein) and Siete are both top-notch dining experiences. Splurge for a suite—they come equipped with freestanding circular Jacuzzi tubs and Aqua Lounge access, where you can enjoy complimentary Continental breakfast, refreshments, cocktails throughout the day, and hors d'oeuvres in the evening. Escape the sun in a beach or poolside cabana for a $100 fee, which includes a heavenly foot massage, use of an iPod, and dessert. From August through November, the hotel allows guests to participate in the turtle release program.
The Best All-Inclusive We Have Visited
BACKGROUND: My spouse and I and four other family members stayed at Live Aqua Cancun for 5 nights in late November 2013. In 2012, Live Aqua was rated the number one Mexican resort by Travel & Leisure magazine, an accolade with which we agree! The name of the hotel is pronounced as you would say in “Live and Let Live”, not as you would say in “Live from New York ... it’s Saturday night”, although we heard guests pronounce it both ways. This member of the Grupos Posadas conglomerate participates in the Fiesta Rewards frequent stay program (for Fiesta Americana, Live Aqua, and One properties). Live Aqua Cancun (there is another Live Aqua in Mexico City) is an adults-only all-inclusive resort. (When Live Aqua Cancun first opened, it was NOT all-inclusive and allowed children.) Live Aqua is an all-inclusive for those who do not want the typical all-inclusive experience: nightly shows, kitchy entertainment on the pool deck, and party-hearty drinkers are replaced with quality cuisine, elegant restaurants, hip decor, and good service. One thing that does resemble other all-inclusives: throughout your stay, you are required to wear a plastic bracelet to indicate that you are a hotel guest.
LOCATION: The hotel is located about 20 minutes from the airport, and it seems like an easy drive if you try it yourself. You can also hire a taxi (approximately $130 round-trip) or a transfer service (approximately $55 round-trip for 1 to 3 passengers) if you want someone else to drive. Some of our group used USA Transfers (highly recommended, everything arranged online ahead of time, $55 round-trip, payable upon pickup at the airport), and others used Olympus Tours (more expensive, necessary to arrange return transfer at tour desk after you are on-site at the hotel). The Las Isla Mall is located right across the street (you must cross a four-lane road, but it is not too difficult), and the Plaza Kulkulcan is a short distance away. La Isla contains both high-end (Gucci, Louis Vuitton) and moderate shopping, an aquarium (where you can swim with the dolphins), and a movie theatre (Cinemark); a canal with gondolas runs through some of this semi-outdoor mall. One day, two of us walked from the hotel (at km 12.5 to the closest “town” area at km 8), which felt safe and was enjoyable because there were sidewalks the entire way and much of the walk was in the shade. We saw lots of well-marked public buses driving on the street in front of the hotel, so it seems like it would be easy to investigate further if you so desire.
ROOMS: The semi-circular white building with green glass has 371 units (including 335 rooms [35 of which are deluxe on the Aqua Club floor] and 36 suites) spread over 9 floors. Our group of 6 people was celebrating a special occasion, so we upgraded from the Aqua Club to two Tierra Suites and one Aqua Suite. (Other suite types include the Fuego Suite, Viento Suite, and the two Presidential Suites.)
Viento (Wind) Suite has a living room area, bedroom area, jacuzzi tub and jetted shower, and two balconies (not connected). The living room and bedroom are separated by a full floor-to-ceiling partition, with open doorways/walkways on both ends, so it is not possible to close off the areas from one another.
Fuego (Fire) Suite has a living room area, bedroom area, jacuzzi tub, and a terrace with views of both the lagoon and the sea (because the Fuegos are located on the four corners of the hotel). The living room and bedroom are separated by a full floor-to-ceiling partition, with open doorways/walkways on both ends, so it is not possible to close off the areas from one another. The Fuego has only one full bathroom, but it has a fancy oval jacuzzi bathtub that is more a part of the whole bedroom/bathroom area (it is not in the small bathroom).
Aqua (Water) Suite has two rooms, although they cannot be closed off from each other (however, you can draw a filmy curtain between the two), one full bath (although it is open to the bedroom area and can only be separated by another filmy curtain) and a half bathroom (toilet and sink only). A big draw to this room is the large oval jacuzzi bathtub that sits between the bedroom and bathroom areas of this room. The toilet and shower are exposed to the rest of the bedroom/bathroom, although both have frosted doors. Only the half bathroom near the entrance to the room (and off the main living area) has a door that can be closed for complete privacy. The large terrace is the real attraction of this room, with a dining table for four people, two reclining lounge chairs (and excellent sunny views all day); two sets of sliding glass doors access the terrace: one from the living room area, and the other from the bedroom area. The only drawback to the terrace is that is completely exposed, and does not contain an umbrella or covered area where you could sit when it is either too sunny or perhaps rainy. The Aqua Suites are located on the ends of the building (which look like steps), and provide perfect ocean views. Aqua Suites are positioned farthest from the elevators, because they are positioned at both ends of the semi-circular building.
Sol (Sun) and Luna (Moon) Presidential Suites are the epitome of luxury, from the photos that we have seen, with two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, dining area, bar area, dressing rooms, and a terrace that includes a small lap/plunge pool, outdoor jacuzzi/spa, and terrace space partially covered by a wooden pergola.
Tierra (Earth) Suite features two large completely independent (self-contained) rooms, so this suite has two full bathrooms, which we loved because I could use one, and my spouse could use the other, and we did not need to coordinate our schedules. This also means that the suite has two entry doors, two balconies (although they are not connected), two full closets, two minibars, two TVs, two beach bags, four pairs of flip-flops, four pairs of slippers, and four bathrobes. One room is set up as the bedroom, with a king-size bed, chair/ottoman, and square table and two chairs, and the other room is set up as a living area, with a two-piece sectional sofa and a round table with two chairs. The bedding was plush, with crisply starched sheets (replaced daily unless you left a card on the bed), a fluffy duvet, and several different kinds of pillows (two foam, two feather, one long body pillow, decorative bolster/neckroll pillow). We did not see a pillow menu, nor an aromatherapy menu, but the drawer beneath the telephone housed the room-service menu. (Perhaps the rooms should also contain a spa menu to encourage guests to make appointments for treatments?) Each room contained an aromatherapy kit - a little plug-in burner that when warm/heated, produced a great scent. The rooms had flat-screen TVs (not very many English channels other than CNN and about 5 versions of HBO), DVD players (you can borrow movies from the front desk), and iPod docking stations/clocks. A coffee maker and supplies is available, along with a large 2-liter bottle of water. The mini-bars are restocked daily (by the morning maid service) and contain 2 bottled waters (sometimes they were tiny bottles, and other times they were small bottles), 2 Diet Cokes, 2 regular Cokes, 1 Sprite, 1 orange soda, 2 club sodas (or perhaps they were tonic water?), and about 6 beers (2 each of 3 different kinds), as well as snacks including Oreos, potato chips, peanut M&Ms, and granola bars. A 2-line telephone (not cordless), electronic scale, electronic safe (fairly large, could fit an iPad but not a larger laptop), iron and ironing board, and flip-flops and beach bag. The flip-flops did not fit anyone in our group - not only lengthwise, but also width wise (maybe our feet are too chubby?), but the beach bag was large, well-shaped, and very useful. We saw nearly every guest using their beach bag. If you want to take the beach bag home, you can purchase one. Bathrobes are also provided (again, there is a charge if you want to take a bathrobe home). The bathroom contained a separate soaking tub (but it was not a jetted tub), glass-walled shower (which might fit two people but is really comfortably designed for one person; note that the shower door swings both out and in so that you can open it either way), toilet, and sink/vanity. A tiny but powerful and hot hairdryer (not affixed to the wall) is provided, and a lighted makeup magnifying mirror is attached to the wall. The bathroom mirror contains a built-in light in its frame, which is useful as a night light. Closet space is plentiful (including room to hang items (and enough hangers!) as well as drawer space. Although we did not have a do-not-disturb sign in our room, we saw a cute one hanging on someone else’s door (we imagine that unique these signs “disappear” quite easily). We were permitted to check in early (approximately 1:00 pm), but that surely varies based on occupancy the evening prior to your arrival. The air conditioning in our room worked very well, and we often found it to be a bit chilly (admittedly, the weather itself did not top 28 degrees Celsius [81 degrees Farenheit] during the heat of the day, though). The Tierra Suites are located closest to the two elevator banks, although we were not at all bothered by the noise (they were rather silent). Our room was also located directly across from the ice machine, but very few people used it.
EVENING TURNDOWN: Turndown was fairly complete - the only thing missing was a small bottle of water and a drinking glass placed on each beside table/nightstand. The duvet was turned down, trash emptied, towels and toiletries replaced, ice bucket filled, TV/music/lights turned on, and slippers set out. Each night, the turndown service placed some zen object on our nightstand - an incense burner, a tiny musical instrument, or a sand garden with a tiny rake. We never received a rice design on our bed, although the couple who was celebrating the special occasion (in the Aqua Suite) received several.
STAYING CONNECTED: Wi-Fi was complimentary in the hotel itself (rooms, lobby, restaurants), but did not work well near the pool or on the beach. At certain times of day, the connectivity was faster than others. Newspapers (both English and Spanish) are available in the lobby near the concierge desk, and in Siete restaurant (although these seem to disappear early in the day at Siete). There is a business center on the Lobby level that contains about four computers and a printer, and secretarial service is available from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm.
DINING: The hotel has 14 food and beverage options: 9 restaurants and 5 bars. Restaurants include Azur, Siete, mb, Sea Corner, Sushi Station, Inlaa'kech Lobster & Grill, Hidden Garden, Varenna, and the Café Deli Boutique. Bars include AKA Bar, Egos Bar, Pool Club, and the Beach Bar. The hotel also offers 24-hour in-room dining (IRD)/room service, and there is a room service menu in one of the nightstands. (We did not use room service, but another couple in our group did several times, and they felt that it generally arrived quickly and correctly and in plentiful amounts.) None of the restaurants (except for Inlaa’kech) accepts reservations. If there is not space for you to dine when you arrive, the hostess will place your name on a waiting list.
Azur is located in the pool area and features sea views during the daytime. Azur serves lunch (12:00 noon to 5:00 pm) and dinner (6:30 pm to 11:00 pm). The restaurant has an open-air feeling because it features high vaulted ceilings beneath a thatched palapa roof and surrounded by glass windows on three sides. The open kitchen on the main/pool/entry level, and tables on two subsequent lower levels (the first level has a ramp and is handicap-accessible), as well as outdoor dining overlooking the beach. (The lower level and the deck are not handicap-accessible.) Azur also has a comfortable and trendy-looking lounge area directly on the pool deck that is open from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm. We ate dinner one evening at Azur, and the restaurant went out of its way to show us a special time, personalizing a menu for us from their usual offerings.
Siete is the main restaurant for the hotel, offering buffet-style dining for breakfast (6:30 am to 12:00 noon), lunch (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm), and dinner (6:00 pm to 11:00 pm). This restaurant is large, with lots of windows that look out onto the foliage and some of the pools. Most of the restaurant is on the ground/floor level, with some tables just one step up from the main floor (but therefore, not handicap-accessible on that upper level). There is a long communal high-top table near the entrance, but most of the restaurant features individual tables and separate tables that share a banquette wall. The decor features Mexican art and Pop art. We ate breakfast every day at Siete, as well as a few lunches.
mb is the fanciest of the restaurants at Live Aqua, open only for dinner (6:00 pm to 11:00 pm). This is the only restaurant with a dress code: men must wear long pants and a shirt with a collar (although that can be a short-sleeved Polo-type shirt). We read that close-toes shoes were also mandatory for men, but we did not see anyone turned away for footwear as we saw them turned away for wearing shorts. This restaurant is elegant, with a partially open kitchen, indoor dining on two levels (the upper level is up about 4 steps from the main floor, and therefore, that level is not handicap-accessible), and some tables outdoors on a covered deck (but without any view). We dined at mb twice - the first time we thought it was excellent, with menu offerings, presentation, and service that is equitable to that of any big city, but our second experience was different (same menu, but the service was lacking, the food cold, and the presentation rushed). On the first night that we dined at mb, we were standing in line to request a table 15 minutes before they opened at 6:00 pm, and we were seated immediately. The second time that we dined, we placed our name on the waiting list at 7:15 pm, and were still waiting 1.5 hours later, when we finally told the hostess to split up our table for 6 people into two smaller tables (at which point we were seated immediately, and very close to one another); one of our only criticisms of the hotel is that they should accept dinner reservations for mb, even if just the morning of. There is a surcharge for certain items such as lobster and premium cuts of meat at mb, but the standard menu is great without needing to pay extra. (Note that initials for the restaurant, mb, represent the name of the Miami-based celebrity chef who set up the restaurant back when it was NOT an all-inclusive, but she no longer has any association with it.)
Sea Corner is a completely outdoor restaurant (although it is shaded by a kind of canopy) that is open for lunch only (12:00 noon to 5:00 pm). This restaurant is almost hidden a few steps down from the swim-up pool bar at the far corner of the property. This restaurant is not handicap-accessible. It serves various ceviches, tacos, and other seafood entrees.
Sushi Station is located on the Pool level near the AKA Bar and mb restaurant. Sushi Station is a takeout self-service option only open at night (5:00 pm to 11:00 pm); there is no formal seating for Sushi Station, nor is there any table service. (The photograph that we saw on the Live Aqua website that corresponded to the Sushi Station is a bit misleading; it is really a photo of mb.)
Inlaa'kech Lobster & Grill is the only restaurant that requires additional cost to dine ($60 per person). The restaurant is outdoors, located between the hotel building and the pool, but does have some open-air roof coverings that provides protection in a drizzle (but not in heavy rain); other tables are completely uncovered. The restaurant is surrounded by foliage, so it is nearly impossible to see in or out. The menu includes steaks, lobster, and kebobs, accented by house-made sauces and marinades. Reservations are requested, and there are three seatings (6:00 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:30 pm). We ate here one evening, and the food and service were good, but we are not sure that it was worth paying approximately $120 USD extra per couple. (Each couple had a $60 USD resort credit to use towards dining, so in the end, we paid $60 USD per COUPLE, which was more palatable.) This restaurant is mostly handicap-accessible, although some of the seats beneath the roof require a step up, and some of the tables on the ground level have less-than-stable flooring.
Hidden Garden is a semi-outdoor restaurant that is located across from Inlaa’kech (between the main hotel building the pools). This restaurant is open for dinner only (6:00 pm to 11:00 pm) and features Asian cuisine. We think that at one time (when Live Aqua was NOT an all-inclusive resort) that this space was used as the outdoor relaxation area for the spa. This restaurant is handicap-accessible, and even has its own restroom (although that requires a step up), which is again probably left over from its days as part of the spa. This is an attractive space, Balinese-looking, with a small waterfall on one wall and another wall with niches that hold glowing candles.
Varenna is the new Italian restaurant that opened in mid-November 2013. Open for lunch only (12:00 noon to 5:00 pm), it is an attractive, completely outdoor restaurant. The restaurant was too new when we visited to present menus, but the restaurant offers pasta dishes (several different noodle options paired with several different sauce choices), as well as flatbread pizzas. We are not sure what the final format will be, but when we dined, the servers walked around with different pizzas, and you either requested a slice or passed. Pasta entrees were plated and presented per person. We tried 6 to 8 different pizzas, with ingredients like pulled pork, chicken, vegetables, margarita, brie and apple, and so on.
Café Deli Boutique is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. In the morning, the cafe offers coffee, tea, and pastries (if you just want a light breakfast snack, this is the place, rather than going to the buffet at Siete). For breakfast, the staff prepare coffees and other beverages for you, but you serve yourself pastries. The cafe offers sandwiches, desserts, and other snacks during lunch and dinner time. The cafe/boutique sells reading material, sunscreen, clothing, and souvenirs at an additional charge.
AKA Bar is located on the Pool level, between Siete and mb. AKA offers bar seating as well as some lounge-type seating, and also has a pool/billiards table and two televisions (the TVs are not large - perhaps 20” - and primarily broadcast sports [moderated in Spanish, of course, even if it is an American game, which is kind of fun to listed to!]). This bar prominently features premium liquors. At night, there is flaming coffee service available, which is a worthwhile sight even if you do not personally drink it. AKA Bar is open all day from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm, but really only gets busy in the evenings.
Egos Bar, located on the Lobby level, has a trendy nightclub atmosphere, with a large bar, comfy seating areas, and plenty of space to dance. Egos Bar is open only in the evenings from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am.
The Pool Bar (sometimes called Pool Club) is the area surrounding the swim-up bar, and features the most intimate and lively outdoor atmosphere of any of the pools or the beach. Music plays around this bar area, unlike the other pools and beach on the property which are more quiet and restful. This bar is open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. One evening we saw a private event (a wedding for about 20+ people) held in this area.
The Beach Bar (sometimes called the Shore Club) is located on the sand, open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and features some cute swings where you can sit and have a drink - if you can manage to haul yourself onto one of the high swings, that is!
Another dining option is to plan a romantic private dinner on the beach. We did not see anyone doing this, but reportedly, the cost runs between $200 and $300, presumably depending on the menu items chosen.
POOLS and BEACH: The hotel has 8 pools that overlook the wide, white-sand beach. Each pool is a different temperature, based on the color of the pool, with the lightest being the warmest and the darkest being the coldest. The hot tub/jacuzzi spa was a good temperature, although we would have preferred that it was even a bit hotter. One pool contains a swim-up bar with several barstools, so that you can sit down and enjoy a drink while you are in the water. The swim-up pool was generally the busiest and liveliest of all the pools. Note that there is no pool that is reserved solely for Aqua Club members; we had read this information somewhere, but it is not true (perhaps it was accurate when the hotel was NOT an all-inclusive?). Each afternoon, near the hot tub, a cart was set up that served hot dogs, and alongside of the cart was a table with some sort of food/snacks (such as fajitas or paella). We also saw people ordering food right to their beach chairs. The beach fronting Live Aqua is wide and long, with soft white sand and gorgeous aquamarine water. Most of the chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas are set up in close proximity of each other, but the beach has lots of empty space available; if you do not want to meet your neighbors, ask the pool valets to move your chairs elsewhere (the cabanas are stationary). A lifeguard is on duty on the beach during daytime hours.
CABANAS: There are approximately 36 cabanas at the hotel. Each SUITE includes complimentary access to a cabana, so if all the suites are occupied, there is little chance that someone in a regular room (or even in an Aqua Club ROOM) could reserve a cabana. (The cost is $90 per day for those not staying in a suite.) Staying in an Aqua Club ROOM does not entitle you to a cabana (only the Aqua SUITES, Viento Suites, Fuego Suites, Tierra Suites, and Presidential Suites come with a cabana). The cabanas are a bit different than what we have seen at other hotels - they are really just large canopy beds with a comfy mattress, curtains surrounding all four sides that you can open or close, and some type of roof covering. (Some cabanas had a sort-of solid see-through sunshade/sunbrella material, other cabana tops had some wooden dowels that were woven with the sunshade fabric, some had an additional sunshade piece on the front that blocked more sun.) Being sun-lovers, we were concerned that using the cabana bed would not give us enough exposure, but we need not have worried.
The cabanas are reserved at the same little hut/desk by the pool where you get your towels (you must provide your room number when you request towels, but you are not given a card and are not held responsible for returning them). You can reserve cabanas one day prior, or you can call down to the pool area to reserve one beginning at 7:00 am. The towel/cabana desk has a small lending library of books that you can borrow. You can book your 20-minute foot massage when you reserve your cabana; foot massages are given from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (although some staff gave conflicting hours), and one guest can take the full 20 minutes, or you can split the time into two 10-minute massages guests.
There are seven cabanas directly on the beach (numbered 1 through 7). There are more than a dozen cabanas located a few steps up from the beach but also a few steps down from the pool deck; these cabanas are on their own “level” and they all face the sea (these MIGHT be numbered 8 through 24). There are another six cabanas near the main pool area (near Varenna restaurant), four other cabanas near the steps down to the Beach Bar (those might be numbers 25-26 and 27-28), and three cabanas near the swim-up pool (might be numbers 30-33). [DO NOT QUOTE US ON THE CABANA NUMBERS; this is just our best guess from what we remember; most of the cabanas are not numbered in any clear way.] We preferred the cabanas on the beach (1 through 7) because they afforded the most space and privacy around them; it was easy to pull two regular lounge chairs between them (actually, you could have fit four chairs between them), whereas the cabanas near the pools were right next to each other (which might be preferable for groups traveling together if you plan to talk all day, but those pool cabanas left little room to pull a regular chair nearby if you wanted full sun). The benefit to sitting at the pool is that they come around with appetizers and shots, which did not happen for the cabanas on the beach. There are several (10+) mattresses on wooden platforms (similar to the cabana beds, just not as high, and not surrounded by the canopy curtain) that are first-come, first-serve, and there are another three raised round beds near the hot tub that are also not reservable. The umbrellas and chairs that used to be set up in front of Azur on the “cabana” level are no longer there - it is just an empty space right now. We are not sure whether they might add more cabanas there, or if something else is planned for that space. In front of this empty Azur area is the outdoor spa where you can get a massage looking right at the ocean. There are plenty of umbrellas available both at the pool and on the beach.
AQUA CLUB: The Aqua Club lounge is located on the fifth floor and has great views of the beach and water. There is also a balcony/outdoor space with a view of the lagoon that has some small tables and where smoking is permitted (it is very windy, though). You can check-in and check-out at the club lounge; they also offer a concierge service if you want to plan any activities or ask for advice. The lounge features a serve-yourself breakfast (with both cold and hot options), afternoon tea, and evening canapes (both hot and cold). Most drinks are served by a staff member; premium liquor bottles are out for display, but the staff prefers to mix drinks for you. (Cans of beer are available self-serve.) Complimentary short 5-minute chair massages are sometimes available. The lounge is nicely decorated with seating arranged in different groupings. There is a good selection of coffee table books for reading while you are there. There is no computer available for guests to use in the lounge; however, there are computers on the Lobby level that are set up as a business center.
SPA: The Aqua Spa is open from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and is located on the Pool level. The surcharge to use the relaxation areas is $20 per day, and also includes the jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, hydrotherapy, and cold bath. Most 50-minute treatments cost approximately $120 USD, including massages, baths, and facials.
Other hotel amenities include a fitness center (this large facility, located on the Pool level, overlooks the gardens, and is open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm), beauty salon (seemed to be open daily from approximately 9:00 am to 5:00 pm), aromatherapy boutique, gift shop/cafe, and conference/meeting rooms. Laundry services are available at an additional fee (shoe shine service is also available, but we are not sure whether there is a charge).
TIMESHARES: Two rooms in our party were not bothered by requests to attend timeshare presentations, however, the third room (the Aqua Suite) received relentless requests (the staff must have thought that is who has the money!). The timeshare proposition happens like this: On arrival (or at various other times during your stay, depending on how aggressive the agents are), you may be approached and asked to take part in a 90-minute timeshare sales pitch for the Fiesta Americana’s Vacation club. For attending, you are given a gift such as free massages or private dinner credits. The salesman tries to build rapport and learn things about you (your income, where and how you vacation) so that they can tailor their sales pitch to you. Then they explain how their vacation club works. Then they ask you to buy it. Each year you own points that you can use to purchase hotel rooms, plane tickets, and so on. They request 20% to 30% as a down payment that day by credit card, and you to pay the balance over 5 years (at 15% interest). There are also yearly fees on top of that price that total approximately $1K.
ACTIVITES/ENTERTAINMENT: This resort does not offer complimentary non-motorized water sports such as sea kayaking, snorkeling, boogie boards, or paddle surfing; however, there is an independent vendor offering jet skiing and parasailing on the beach at the edge of the property, but the representative is not part of the hotel. This resort has no traditional all-inclusive nightly entertainment, although there are two evenings when the hotel offers something special: one evening (Thursday), an outdoor dance club (“Dancing Under the Stars”) was set up near the hot tub/Azur, and another night (a Tuesday, which was not a night that we were there), there was a fire show. From 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on other nights of the week, live music (piano, violin) is presented at varying indoor locations. The hotel offers many daytime activities, but they are low-key and subtle, such as a Top Chef competition, sushi-making, guacamole lessons, wine-and-cheese-tasting, tequila tasting. For sports activities, the hotel offers yoga (hatha, vinyasa, and couples), volleyball, bocce, ping-pong, billiards, horseshoes, and beach soccer. Catholic Mass (in Spanish, of course!) occurs on Sunday afternoons in the lobby. The resort has resident parrots that fly around the resort from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon each day; you can hold and feed them. The hotel has 2 Rolls Royces with license plates AQUA1 and AQUA2, although these seem to be for display purposes only and are not used to chauffeur guests. The hotel runs a shuttle to different clubs in town in the evenings. We just missed the turtle season, but if you visit the hotel during the early fall, you can help release baby turtles into the ocean when they hatch from their eggs at night! On the Pool level, Lomas Travel and some other tour desks are on-site to help plan your off-site activities and excursions.
ACCESSIBILITY: We traveled with someone who has limited mobility and uses a wheelchair and power scooter. Handicapped access is fairly good. The hotel has six elevators (in two different elevator banks) that are somewhat slow, particularly if you are on the ninth (top) floor, like two of our rooms were. Some rooms can be quite far from the elevator banks. You cannot roll the scooter or wheelchair out on the balconies/terraces easily because of the threshold from the sliding glass door frame. The beach is completely inaccessible (unless someone carries you down), and the restrooms closest to the beach (near the Pool Bar and near Azur) both require a step to enter, making them inaccessible for someone who cannot walk up a step. (Oddly, right next to the Pool Bar (swim-up bar) restrooms is a ramp that leads back to the parrot cages; it would be great if the hotel had some way to connect that “parrot ramp” to the restrooms right next door. Having arrived with only a manual wheelchair, the hotel was able to rent a motorized scooter for us, and was also able to obtain a plastic shower chair. All restaurants (except Sea Corner) are accessible.
EVENT PLANNING: We held a small event at the hotel (for just six guests), and the staff went out of their way to make it truly special. Both our event planner (Gabriella) and our photographer (from Daniel Gastaldi Photography) did a great job! We set up the event via email in the months preceding our arrival, and all communication was prompt and courteous. Originally, we had planned to hold the event on the beach, but after scouting the location, we realized that our handicapped family member would have difficulty reaching that area. Instead, we held the event on the balcony adjacent to the lobby and Egos Bar, which we felt was even more picturesque (and more private) than if we had held it on the beach. There were potted palm trees, a white billowy canopy, pretty chairs with white covers, and appropriate music. The non-denominational officiant led a very touching ceremony, including a sand ritual, and when the event ended, the planner surprised our group when perhaps 15+ staff members surrounded us on the balcony and blew bubbles. How thoughtful!
TIPPING: We brought lots of small bills for tipping. Over the course of 5 days, each couple probably spent about $200: $100 in 1s and $100 in 5s. In general, each couple gave $3 for morning maid service, $3 for evening turndown, $2 for breakfast (buffet), $5 for lunch, $10 for dinner, $5 for foot massage, $3 for cabana set-up, and $2 to $5 for each round of drinks (depending on the number of drinks and degree of difficulty).
SERVICE: Service was great. Prior to arriving at Live Aqua Cancun, we read many reviews online, and most of the reviews mentioned staff by name. After staying at the hotel, we can see why past guests want to specifically mention staff - because they are caring, courteous, and willing to help. We want to compliment Lorena and Fernanda (concierges in the Aqua Club), Gabriella (the event planner), Angie (at the towel/cabana hut), and Luis (who provided great drink service at the beach/pool).
We had a great time at Live Aqua Cancun, and give it a thumbs up!by fluffnfold, 1/6/14
Excellent All Inclusive Experience
This is not the place to go if you are looking for excitement. This is tranquil, elegant and low-key. Despite the dining and bar choices, the hotel is tranquil and soothing, The service is stellar and the pools are beautiful. There are no children allowed, the rooms are lovely and the views are stellar.by kj39, 9/9/12
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