When the Playa del Carmen boutique hotel that is now Live Aqua all-inclusive opened in the rapidly expanding beach city, it was called Cacao and was run as a hip a la carte design hotel. Then it became part of Mexico’s largest hotel chain, Grupo Posadas, and was renamed Lat20.
It’s been a few years under its current moniker though: Live Aqua Boutique Resort Playa del Carmen. It seems to have settled into a groove and gotten a good handle on its clientele, so we checked in a while back to update our review.
This 50-something editor is used to being on the young side of the clientele at many luxury resorts, or at least at about the average. After all, most of the people who can afford to drop a few grand on a short vacation without breaking a sweat are the ones who have had plenty of time to build their career, their income and their savings. This particular Live Aqua property is more like “entry level luxury” though, with all-inclusive rates that aren’t going to send a millennial traveler texting to mom or dad for a loan.
As a result, I was one of the old ones at this Riviera Maya mini resort, one of the few not constantly posing for social media pics at any given hour by the pool and bar.
You can’t blame them for taking so many selfies though: the rooftop pool here kind of looks like it was made for Instagram and the nearby bar is downright gorgeous. The long pool runs almost the length of the roof, with a canoe from Patzcuaro beside it, lots of lounge chairs and daybeds off to the side, and hanging swings when the winds are not too heavy.
Waiters are circling to take drink orders and since this place is all-inclusive, no worries about signing a bill or even looking at a menu. The bartenders can conjure up some great cocktails though, so you probably won’t get bored with your drinking options. You aren’t right on the water at this city hotel, but you can see the aqua Caribbean from the roof.
There’s also a restaurant up on this roof level, serving tapas and sushi all day outside or in an air-conditioned space inside. It’s joined by a grab-and-go breakfast nook on the ground floor and a full service one there that serves breakfast and dinner. Walk past it and you’re on 5th Avenue, Playa del Carmen’s main commercial street that is still refreshingly pedestrian-only. Walk two blocks in the other direction and you’re at the public beach.
Rooms are well-designed and well-equipped, with many of the amenities you would expect in a high-end resort, like robes, nice toiletries, and a stocked minibar. There’s a spa on site now and a small but sufficient gym if you want to get in a workout. Staffers can arrange adventure tours, excursions, and transfers back to the airport.
Want to get a feel for what it looks like top to bottom? Come along on a short video tour here:
(Or if you’re headed to the interior of Mexico at some point, here’s another art-focused hotel from the same brand: Live Aqua San Miguel de Allende.)