My overall summary is that Live Aqua is fantastic and in a great location. If I were to visit Cancun again I would definitely stay at Live Aqua and recommend to others (but not if this is a business trip and you will need to rely on your wireless!). Sorry - I write detailed and long reviews, but hopefully they are helpful!
Immediate Location: Location was further away from the super tourist section (aka Spring Break like) area near Coco Bongo, etc. but close enough for a very short taxi/bus. I like being a little further down the “Hotel Zone” as it seems less crowded and easier to escape Cancun for day trips. The ocean/Caribbean side will have amazing sunrises from your room. But for a beautiful sunset walk across the street to the shops or to the liquor or cigar shops which also have a few small tables on the patio for a quiet glass of wine and beautiful view of the sunset over the bay/lagoon.
Shopping - There are two huge and amazing shopping areas steps from the hotel mixed with restaurants and high end luxury shops (Cartier, Chanel, Gucci, etc), “average” American shops (Guess, Polo, Nike, etc) and then several local department stores and boutiques. This is your typical shopping mall visit… don’t expect haggling or bargaining with vendors like many other shopping markets and venues. Prices were about the same as what I would pay in the US. There is also a Starbucks where I was able to get very fast and free wireless internet access. Also across the street are several rental car desks (Avis, Hertz, etc), cigar store, liquor store, and a bank. TIP: Bring your passport to exchange money at the bank. The hotel itself had one average store with some cute bikinis, sun hats, cover-ups and tunics. They also had some basic flip flops, sandals, water shoes, lotions and toiletries.
Dining – For an all inclusive it was very good and I enjoyed most of the meals. However, if you venture outside of the hotel you will see a distinct difference (and improvement) when you actually pay for your dinner. Again, the hotel restaurants were good, but nothing wowed me. As I have seen with many all-inclusives, some of the flavor, consistency and quality gets lost when having to make food in high quantity. They seem to have a misunderstanding that all desserts should be some sort of gelatin consistency and lacking sweetness. Even a chocolate dessert was a bit gelatin like and not sweet, more real cocoa flavored. Maybe that is my American taste buds that is the issue :) Room Service was usually very prompt and good. The most casual (not bathing suit casual) was Siete, which was open the most (B, L and Dinner), had both menu and buffet dining and usually had availability. MB was a little dressier and usually had an hour or two wait and doesn’t take reservations.. I recommend putting your name on the list then heading to the bar or pool table in front of the restaurant for drinks. There are two reservations only restaurants located outside, which are very romantic and quaint on a nice evening. AZUR is great for a very casual lunch or a nice dinner as it overlooks the beach and has the menu and quality of food I liked best. The hotel store also has a small café with pastries and coffee. TIP – The best smoothies blended in front of you with your choice of fruits are at breakfast in Siete.
Nightlife – If you’re staying in the hotel for some fun you can hang out by the outdoor bar near Azur, or the bar and pool table area outside of MB or the nightclub Egos. Nothing inside the hotel is very dressy. There is also fun nightlife across the street at the shopping area restaurants and a short taxi down the hotel zone towards Coco Bongos.
GYM/Spa – Decent gym with several cardio machines, weight machines and free weights. Across from the gym is a small salon for hair or nails. The SPA is also across from the gym. The masseuses for the deep tissue and a Swedish massage were good, not the best, but still good. The spa sauna, and hot/cold pools were good… but I had to convince the spa attendant several times that I had no desire to get into the cold pool! My one issue was the “Relax Room” that you sit before and after your treatment was not relaxing at all! Very very very uncomfortable chairs, only one chair had a foot stool to put my feet up and you heard the constant opening and closing of other doors in the spa entry area
Pools/Beach – The beach is awesome soft clean sand and and very wide. A ton of seating with chairs and beds. I could walk down the beach for miles! The pools were also amazing! There are a lot of chairs, that of course people run down at 6am and reserve with towels. But if you’re on vacation then it’s worth it to spring the extra $85 and reserve one of the day beds for the afternoon! (TIP – If you upgrade to the suite the day bed is free each day.. totally worth the upgrade!) And you get a foot massage each day…. Bliss! There is also another small pool tucked to the side (the opposite end of Azur), that has a swim up bar and small restaurant on the sand.
Service – Every single person was pleasant, friendly and as helpful as possible. The one comment made by several people is if you asked a question, and they didn’t understand you, they would still smile and say Yes, No Problem… and you would later find out that they obviously didn’t understand you. I would prefer they tell me that they don't understand me and I will gladly move along and ask someone else.
Property – Gorgeous! Meticulous clean and manicured. You definitely felt like you were in a tropical resort! I loved loved loved the parrots (macaws?) they brought out in the afternoons. It was amazing to watch them in flight almost dancing together in the air! And I was able to take some pictures and feed them. Inside of the hotel was immaculate and very modern. They definitely did a good job creating a spa like and tranquil atmosphere. However, sometimes the aromatherapy was a bit overwhelming. The rooms were luxurious with the standard amenities. The views are amazing! The AC in our room didn’t work very well the first two days and was very loud, but miraculously fixed itself and was perfect the rest of the week. There is hallway noise, as noted in other reviews - I never understand why hotels add the super tight spring hinges to the doors that result in them slamming so hard that they wake up the entire floor! And the acoustics of the hallways result in most hallway traffic to amplify into your room.
Adventure – There are definitely a ton of fun adventures outside of the hotel. Directly across the street they had jet pack rentals, and looked like small boats, and jet skis. The hotel also has a great excursion desk to plan a day trip. However, my recommendation is to reserve a rental car the day before for pick up the first thing in the morning and drive to Tulum and Playa Del Carmen (very very easy… one road there and one road back). Go to Tulum first (if you drive fast like me it’s less than 90 minutes). Amazing and breathtaking ruins on cliffs over the ocean. You can spend about a half day there.. or an entire day if you linger at the vendors shops in front and you can also bring your suits and towel and hang on the gorgeous beach there. Or make a half day of it and then head back towards Playa Del Carmen. Park your rental car and spend the rest of the day walking along 5th avenue shopping and dining. There are a hundred different restaurants to have lunch or dinner. Personally, I Iove Playa hence I could spend days there and if you can fit it in, spend the night in Playa (El Taj or The Royal). About 45 minutes beyond Tulum is another amazing ruin, Coba (I don’t think you can fit Tulum, Coba and Playa in one afternoon) If you arrive at Coba as soon as they open you’ll feel as if you have the entire park to yourself! You’re still allowed to climb to the top of the huge ruin, which is amazing! (Tulum and Chichen Itza don’t allow you to touch the ruins). Also, there are tons of Cenotes that you’ll pass along the drive to/from Tulum… definitely stop at any of them!! If you want an entire day adventure, then you can do an excursion from the hotel or rent a car and go to Xplor. I typically avoid the major tourist parks when I travel, but we got lucky on this day. It was a little cooler and overcast, hence I think that deterred the normal crowds. Due to that, there were few lines and it was a great day! The caves and zip lines were fantastic! I'm in shape and I still got a good workout... a lot of walking and tons of stairs and steep walks for the zip lines. I don't recommend the zip line for anyone that has problems walking or climbing stairs. And I don't recommend the cave kayak paddle for anyone with back, elbow or shoulder issues.. its a workout! We took the tour bus from the hotel in the morning, but we finished early, about 330 and the bus wasn’t leaving until 530. It was only a $70 cab ride split between four people to return to Cancun! Totally worth it instead of waiting for the bus! We were back at our hotel, showered and having drinks in the bar when the rest of the people on the bus were finally returning around 7-ish! TIP – Xplor is a water park! You are wet all day… bring water shoes to wear all day - they sell them in hotel gift shop or in the shops across from hotel. I don't recommend flip flops for the tons of walking and zip lines. AND bring a change of clothes for ride home! I could write pages and pages of fun things to do and go around Cancun, Playa and Tulum, but I will add one last treat… and I almost hate to do it because its still undiscovered and not overrun with tourists! At the end of the hotel zone in Cancun… a short bus or taxi from the hotel is El Rey ruins. It’s not a huge tourist destination and you could drive past it a dozen times and not notice it! You won’t see humongous towering ruins like Tulum, Chichen Itza or Coba, but it’s almost better because the ruins here are full access! You can walk on them and explore all you want! Go in the morning before other people arrive. There is a small entry fee and most important.. bring lots and lots and lots of bananas! You’ll see tons of iguanas. As you walk deeper into the ruins, find a spot to sit down and then gently throw bits of bananas out… soon you’ll be surrounded by dozens of huge iguanas! Great photos and fun!
BUSINESS – They have a minimalistic but functional business center – but you’re on vacation so who cares! However, plan on being almost totally disconnected from the world since their wireless internet is the worst I have ever experienced in any hotel ever! And everyone I spoke with agreed! It didn’t matter where in the hotel I tried to connect on my iphone or laptop I couldn’t even pick up their wifi or it was so slow it was useless. Come on Live Aqua.. Upgrade this - there have been other reviews mentioning this… get it together. It’s a very frustrating situation for all of your guests when they need to quickly check on family or work (or facebook :-)!!! We even asked for an ethernet cord to try to connect to the wall and that didn’t work. The best connection was when I went across the street to Starbucks! I connected immediately to a fast and free wireless!
TIPS – Don’t be afraid to rent a car! Yes, driving is a bit scary, but if you’re alert (and buy the rental insurance!) then you’ll have a great time exploring outside of Cancun. While most places accept American dollars, I don’t recommend paying with the Dollar unless you are very quick with calculating conversion in your head…. Most prices will be given to you in Pesos.. if you ask how much in dollars who knows if they are rounding up or not. More importantly, if you pay in American dollars you will always get change in pesos and you will usually get shortchanged! I recommend using credit cards or converting at the bank near the hotel. Also, before you leave the US, get at least $100 in US dollar bills… they are great for tips in restaurants, taxis, airport, etc. LAST TIP – YES, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY TIP BARTENDERS, SERVERS, ROOM SERVICE, SPA ATTENDANTS, POOL ATTENDANTS, ETC IN AN ALL INCLUSIVE HOTEL!
If you will spend a lot of time at the pool or beach, I recommend the suite upgrade since it should...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.