Aqua Cancun

Always breathe deeply while at Aqua Cancun. The entire stay, from the moment you step into the resort, is a spa-like experience. The air is fresh and tingly with the smell of mint, as is the fresh towel you receive upon arrival. The entire place is an ode to serenity and spoiling yourself rotten, with soothing music, aroma diffusers and elements of water throughout.

The first and only Aqua so far from Grupo Posadas, parent company to the Fiesta Americana properties, is a departure from what we used to imagine when thinking “Cancun.” With “Your Wish-My Wish” as its motto, the property is a full sensual soak in indulgence, able to fulfill wishes of singles, couples and families alike.

Rooms at Aqua are personalized havens of repose. Guests enjoy aromatherapy here as well from a scent menu that allows them to choose between energetic, tranquil, romantic or relaxing aromas. They also have a pillow menu from which to choose, as well as Molton Brown amenities, iHome systems, oversized bathtubs with jets and balconies that look out to sea. And that’s just standard rooms. The suites run up to 4,109 sq. ft. and feature Bose sound systems, outdoor showers and expansive terraces. Each has its own theme (water, fire, etc.) and some have their own treatment rooms and sundecks. And even though Aqua has an air of grownup indulgence, it welcomes children of all ages and even provides tiny robes for the littlest ones as well as for adults.

for bon vivants Three celebrity chefs have joined forces with Aqua to offer distinct flavors and experiences. At MB Restaurant, for instance, Iron Chef competitor Michelle Bernstein—who owns a top restaurant in Miami—has created a “Luxury Comfort Food” menu of decadent flavors and organic ingredients into a Cancun favorite, with one of the most popular dishes being the braised short ribs with polenta and Moroccan carrots.

Siete, a restaurant with more Mexican influences, has a most exciting menu that includes duck in spicy green pumpkin-seed sauce and spicy shrimp with pickled peppers. The restaurant is the brainchild of Martha Ortiz, who has her own eatery in Mexico City and was named “Best Mexican Chef 2007” by Bon Appetit. Even breakfast is a varied affair here, complete with sushi and miso soup. Siete’s decor is as warm and fuzzy as its cuisine, with columns done in mosaics of Mexican notables and lots of blue, of course.

Then there’s Azur, which combines Mediterranean and Mexican flavors with flair in an open-air ambiance by the sea. The restaurant’s “culinary creator,” Chef Franco Maddalozzo, has created gastronomic alternatives—including tapas and heavier dishes likerisotto a la champaña with arugula and pears—that are out of this world.

Aqua’s bars are also worth a visit. “Wine Geek” and famous mixologist Steve Olson teamed up with the hotel’s AKA Wine & Mezcal Bar to put together a beautiful 200-plus wine and cocktail list that includes the bar’s signature drink, Liquid Smoke, which is a mescal and tequila margarita on the rocks with a few secret flavors. AKA is also famous for its mescal tastings—guests can stop by and enjoy a 4-tasting ritual for approximately $20 and also indulge in cuisine from any of the hotel’s restaurants.

Aqua also has Egos, a fashionable New York-style bar and lounge with an in-house DJ where the who’s who of Cancun come to mingle, and the Coffee Corner with different types of coffee and hot chocolate.

Besides all in-house offerings, guests will find that Aqua’s great location right in the middle of Cancun’s hotel strip has enough dining options within walking distance (not to mention shopping venues) to satisfy all predilections. Aqua is right across the street from La Isla, a shopping center with all types of shops and entertainment venues right by Nichupte Lagoon.

a splash to the senses Aqua Spa is probably the piece de resistance here, a water-themed locale (complete with pre-treatment hydrotherapy ritual) specializing in Watsu treatments, a divine body therapy that combines elements of Shiatsu, massage and stretching while floating in water. The result is an almost otherworldly experience, as sounds are drowned out and stillness envelops the body and mind. The spa’s menu, however, is filled with international treatments, from Moroccan Lights—a stress-relieving massage with Moroccan Argan tree oil—to the Avocado Yogurt Wrap, a traditional Mayan remedy rich in vitamin E that combines acupressure on one’s brow with skin enrichment throughout the body. Another signature treatment atSpa Aqua is Le Sieste: the body remains in water that stays a constant 97°F so the body reaches its maximum potential to allow the vitamin, seaweed and mineral salt-infused water to soak in.