My Stay at Live Aqua Resort (during a pandemic)

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Travel is difficult now but we found Cancun to be safe and easy to travel to.  See previous post about what it's like to travel to Cancun now and my review of Hyatt Ziva Cancun.  After 3 nights at Hyatt we went over to stay 3 nights at Live Aqua Cancun so I will be doing a comparison.  Some people like to just stay days or weeks in one location but we get bored when we stay at one location for too long.  Changing resorts allowed us to see what another resort is like, offer new scenery and new food options.  


Live Aqua Cancun

I found a fully refundable deal on Travelzoo for Live Aqua for 3 nights for $965 for an Ocean View room.  I compared it to the current rates and I would save a few hundred dollars.  I read a lot of positive reviews on this resort and it is high recommended in comparison to other resorts in Cancun (and I compared manyyyy).  The beach is pretty much the same for all hotels in the Cancun Hotel Zone strip.  Live Aqua excels in its infinity pools, service, and food.

Safety Precautions

In response to Covid, the resort has done a great job at keeping things clean and making guests feel safe.  Similiar to Hyatt, they have plexiglass barriers, shoe sanitizing mats before entering rooms, hand sanitizer before meals and around the resort, and all employee wears masks.  The space at Live Aqua is smaller than Hyatt (as are most resorts in this area) so it was harder to distance from other guests.  Also, due to recent hurricane damage, some areas were not open.  The areas by the bar and dinner restaurants were most crowded.  Most guests wore masks but not all.  To get to our room, only one elevator was working, so it was uncomfortable to have to share the elevator at times, which they limited it to 4 people max.




Service

I would say service at both resorts were amazing.  We usually don't care about service but it is important at all-inclusive.  It's convenient to be offered food and drinks while you are at your lounge chair or cabanas.  They will go out of their way to assist you.  At random times there may be someone offering fruit, small bites, and drinks.  At Live Aqua they had a lunch grill for hot dogs (and I heard on weekends they have chicken and more), taco station, paella station, and even crepe station (every day 4pm-6pm), Mexican coffee (evenings around dinner time)  at certain times and locations.  I had to find out about these things on my own from reading reviews.  I don't know what it's like during normal times but it would be nice if the resort gave a schedule of when these are offered and also entertainment schedule upon check-in.  We tried late night room service and also for breakfast.  Both meals came within 30 minutes and the staff set up the food for us on the table.  Food was still warm and delicious.  Tip: the creme brulee is a popular menu item.




Grounds and Room

As mentioned above, the area is smaller compared to Hyatt.  Although small the outdoor areas were very pretty and lush.  They have several outdoor restaurants where you can enjoy lunch with an ocean view and dinner under the stars.  Unfortunately due to rainy weather the restaurants were relocated indoors in the buffet area which limited distancing while dining.  They have a several large pools facing the ocean with cabanas and chairs all along it and all the way down to the ocean.  I definitely recommend getting any room with an Ocean view.  When your spending your entire trip on the resort, you end up also spending a lot of time in your room, and being able to walk out on the balcony to enjoy the weather and ocean view is so convenient.  We didn't have to bother going through the escalator and common areas full of people to enjoy the ocean views.


Entertainment

We don't pick a resort based on their entertainment because we are there to enjoy the beach and food but it's nice to have something to do during downtime.  Covid may have impacted it a bit but Live Aqua had less entertainment than Hyatt.  I did see they had celebrated Halloween and Day of the Dead.  One of the nights I saw a performer in the common space by the bar (which is quite a small area) so we only passed through to get to dinner.  They also had some paid activities (temporary tattoo etc) going on.  We didn't really go out at night other than dinner.  I believe both resorts also closed their bars by 11pm during this time.


Food

Live Aqua wins us over with the food.  Food at hotels/resorts are usually not impressive but we were impressed with Live Aqua.  Right after our first meal we already knew we liked the food better than Hyatt.  Not that Hyatt was bad, but Hyatt's food felt like typical good resort food.  The food at Live Aqua felt like we were actually dining out at a restaurant.  It was flavorful and fresh.  Their food even had nice plating with how the food was placed and sauce decoration.  The extra effort shows.  Unfortunately due to rainy weather and hurricane damage we did not get to eat at two of the outdoor locations, but we got to eat from the menu while sitting inside the buffet room.  From walking by, the ambiance at the Sea Corner and Hidden Garden would have been really nice.  We did get to sit outside for Azur and Varenna and that was really nice.

Food photos incoming:

Our first meal after arriving, lunch by the ocean at Azur.  We ordered onion rings (so good!), ceviche, and baja fish tacos.


Our second lunch at Sea Corner

Our 3rd lunch was at Varenna.  I heard the pear salad was good so we tried that and one of the pizzas.  


Our first dinner was at MB.  The dress code is dressier here and the menu looked like fine dining.  This meal blew us away.  The dishes looked like small tapas with very interesting, unique dishes to choose from.  Tip: Everyone raves about the Habenaro Soup (bread bowl) and I can see why.  


We didn't feel like having Siete (Mexican) or Varenna (Italian)'s dinner menu, so we actually made reservations for Hidden Garden (Asian) for 2 nights.  There was a lot on their menu we wanted to try.  All the appetizers and the mango fish were really good.  The Kimchi Beef and Duck were a bit too salty.
I couldn't decide between two curry dishes and picked the non-spicy since he said one was really spicy.  The waiter ended up giving me both so I could try it.  That was really nice of him but I was also really full!
Chicken satay & Pork Bao





There is a sushi bar open from 5pm-11pm.  I am usually skeptical of sushi at non-Asian places and hotels but this was not bad.  The menu options were a little strange (mango, banana, steak, chicken terriyaki etc), not the typical sushi ingredients I would expect but they were good.  The next day I asked if they had spicy tuna and spicy salmon and the chef said he can make it specially for me.  That was really nice and we enjoyed this huge pre-dinner snack.

There is no actual cafe spot here like the Hyatt had but they serve Starbucks!  It was nice to stop by for our daily lattes and iced caramel macchiato.  They even had some bakery items, salad, and sandwiches.  Tip: Take a sandwich to go on the day you leave for the airport.

If I didn't follow the facebook fan page and read comments, I wouldn't have known there was a daily crepe guy from 4pm-6pm everyday.  The crepes were freshly made and a nice mid-day treat.

In summary:
Resort Grounds: Hyatt wins
Entertainment: Hyatt wins (family friendly)
Ambiance: Live Aqua wins (adults-only)
Food: Live Aqua wins
Service and Health Precautions: Equally good


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