Fodor's Expert Review Live Aqua Boutique Resort Playa del Carmen
5a Avenida esquina Calle 32, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo 77710, Mexico See on Map
Live Aqua Boutique Resort, formerly known as Hotel Cacao, is that rare hotel that manages to offer both, great location and outstanding luxury. Set in the Fifth Avenue, the hippest street in Playa del Carmen, it’s close to endless shopping, dining and drinking possibilities, while also enjoying upscale rooms, excellent gourmet options and a majestic rooftop infinity pool that is the highlight of the resort.
The 60 rooms of Live Aqua feature a classy décor strong in neutral colors and fine wood furniture. They offer ample space and most come with a chic balcony overlooking the buzzing Quinta Avenida or, if lucky, offering some partial ocean views. The suites include a separate living area, while the Fifth Avenue Suite also come with a gorgeous hardwood-floored terrace with whirlpool tub.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The area is bustling and noisy, if you are looking for a relaxing retreat this may not be your best option.
The bathrooms are spacious, with interesting black granite vanity sinks, rainfall shower, comfy bathrobes and top-notch Molton Brown toiletries. The Fifth Avenue Suite includes double sink and that gorgeous outdoor Jacuzzi.
A weird, half-Volkswagen Beetle covered with sea shells welcomes guests at Live Aqua entrance, and from there you get the idea of what kind of place is this: a bold, funky resort where luxury doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. The lobby is large wide hall with wood and marble floor, seating sets with coffee tables with fruit and chess boards and comfy chairs, and what has to be the most gorgeous front-desk you’ll ever see.
The swimming pool is a gem of chic design and good taste. Located on the rooftop terrace, surrounded by hanging chairs and stylish single and double loungers, it has the feeling a Vegas pool. The hip poolside bar serves cool cocktails and the extraordinary views of the city and the sea in the background does the rest.
Small but classy, that’s how you would describe Feel Sense Spa by Live Aqua. The Spa reception is a nice all-wood room, just like the sauna. Then there is the treatment room with two massage beds in a dark enclosed environment that provides the needed peace to completely relax.
Located just besides the Spa, this fitness center is really small, we are not going to lie to you, but it has what is needed. If there is not a lot of people in there at the same time, it’s actually enjoyable. Think of it like the gym of an apartments building where only you and your neighbors workout, and you’ll get the idea.
With this outstanding location, you really shouldn’t worry about your dining options, but Live Aqua offer all-inclusive deals and its 6 restaurants provides excellent gourmet cuisines. Dai serves Asian dishes, and Mural brings the international touch to the place with breakfast, lunch and dinner available. But, the Chef’s Kitchen is the one which offers the most interesting gastronomic experience in the resort.
Set on the rooftop terrace just by the pool, The Bar is one of the best spots in all Playa del Carmen to enjoy a good cocktail in a fun, laid-back atmosphere. There is also a Coffee and Deli Bar, and a long wine list available at the other restaurants in the hotel.
Guests of Live Aqua Resort, enjoy preferential rates at two of the most popular beach clubs in Playa. If planning a fun day by the beach, make sure to ask about them.
Live Aqua Boutique Resort is a relatively short drive (50 minutes) from Cancun International Airport. You may choose a taxi, shared van or an ADO bus to get to the hotel. After getting there, you may easily get by without a car. You can get to most of points of interests in Playa on foot, or by bike; there are many rental places in the area. Use taxis to get to further destinations or public transportation.
Chez Céline (1-minute walk) is a great minute to start a day or to pop in for a dessert. It’s the best French bistro bar in Playa. Cenacolo Playa (1-minute walk) will pamper your palate with Italian dishes and exquisite service.
La Verbena (2-minute walk) has great local vibe and their bartender knows his job. Beautiful, colorful setting and less common beer brands. Imprevist (8-minute walk) is a very upscale wine bar. You will never get a bad cocktail here; guaranteed.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Because it’s an adults-only, all-inclusive resort and it’s in the city, not on a secluded beach. We love the pool and the bar of that gorgeous rooftop terrace. The beach is just a few meters away.
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