Over half term we were lucky enough to spend a few days in Lisbon, Portugal with Martinhal Resorts.
We split our time in Lisbon between two of their family friendly resorts, Martinhal Cacais on the coast and Martinhal Chiado, the world’s first city centre Family Hotel, situated in the old town.
As you might expect, the two resorts offer very different breaks, but both were perfectly suited to family travel and offered all the home from home comforts that you need when travelling with children.
Martinhal Cacais was our first port of call on our holiday and is perfect for families looking for a leisure destination for their holiday.
Cacais (it took us a few attempts to pronounce is correctly – kush-kais), is a former fishing village which was made popular by King Luis in the 19th Century and now attracts sun-worshipping holidaymakers, who come to splash in the ice-cold Atlantic.
The Martinhal Resort Hotel is sat slightly inland from the coast and main town and is entirely geared towards family fun and making life easier for parents.
I have stayed in family friendly hotels before, but this is like no other. It really does allow parents to actually enjoy themselves and the finer things in life, whilst the children also have a great time. As soon as we walked through the door we were made to feel welcome, like family had arrived, and the kids were given a gift each of a drawstring bag containing a hat and games, which they were delighted with.
As a family travelling with three children, we were allocated interconnecting rooms which over-looked the inner garden of the hotel.
The rooms themselves were a mirror image of each other and contained everything you need with a family in tow, including a potty, toddler toilet seat and step in the bathroom.
There was a funky glass wall between the bathroom and the bedroom, which could be blacked out with an electric blind. The toilet and shower were obscured by translucent glass for privacy.
The kids room had a huge queen size double bed and a further single bed by the window, which was perfect for them. The clear window into the bathroom meant we could leave the two coloured mood lights on in the bathroom which acted as a nightlight for them.
Also in each room was a large, flat screen television which gave you access to information about the resort, events as well as satellite TV and films. There was also a fridge and mini-bar in each room, a bottle of water provided free of charge for the first day and a coffee machine with two free coffee pods per day.
There are family rooms also available which sleep up to four, which have a similar look and feel. The sleeping areas are separated by a large sliding door to give the adults and children privacy from each other and the ones on the ground floor have access to a secure lawn area, giving kids space to play.
On our drive into the resort, the kids spotted the huge play area and could not wait to get outside and explore. Eliza went clutching her Fairy Door map that was given to her when we arrived, determined to find the nine doors that are dotted around the resort.
The large playground was the highlight of our stay and the kids would have spent the entire holiday playing there given half a chance.
It came complete with zip-wires, play structures, swings and a huge inflatable trampoline.
For sporty kids there was also a basketball court, a 5-a-side football pitch plus a table-football table and an air hockey table outside.
There is a well-staffed, complimentary Kid’s Club which offers superb facilities both indoors and out for children aged 13 months to 9 years old. The Kids Clubhouse, boasts over 700 square metres of play space (over 7,700 square feet) where kids can be looked after by caring and responsible staff in a safe and secure space while parents enjoy their time in greater Lisbon or the spa.
There is also a baby room available for younger guests.
The kids club runs various events based around the time of year and whilst we were visiting we experienced a Brazilian style carnival, which involved getting dressed up and playing games and a child’s disco on Valentine’s Day, so parents could enjoy a romantic meal in peace.
For snacks, the M-Bar, which is sat above the kids club offered coffees, snacks, pastries and that all important Gelataria for some ice cream. It has a great view over the children’s playground too, so adults can enjoy a coffee whilst the kids are playing below.
O Terraço is the main restaurant and is where you eat their amazing buffet breakfasts. Their dinner options feature some typical Portuguese dishes as well as a special children’s menu that includes a variety of fresh purees for babies, plus a small dedicated children’s play area for them to enjoy whilst you finish your meal. This is a great idea as it is staffed, but we did struggle to get Sebby to eat all his dinner as wanted to play instead.
Other facilities available in Martinhal Cacais include 3 pool areas (2 of which are heated), and the Finisterra spa. The Pool Hangout was closed on our visit as it only opens in the Summer, but we had access to the indoor and outdoor pools next to Finisterra Spa and the Kids Clubhouse pool.
The Finisterra spa offers a range of treatments for adults and children, including massage, facials and treatments, as well as a small adjoining gym and a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.
One thing that Isaac wanted to do was to hire a bike and explore but sadly we ran out of time.
Martinhal Cacais offers a range of city bikes, with optional child seats, and all sizes of children’s bikes, which are ideal for a relaxing family tour, as well as mountain bikes for the more active. They offer tours for families, a mountain bike tour for more experience riders or you can hire the bikes and explore the town by yourself.
Cacais is a town full winding lanes leading to small museums, cool gardens, a shiny marina and a pedestrianized old town dotted with designer boutiques and alfresco fish restaurants or you can explore a little farther afield and visit Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point of continental Europe or head into the Sintra Mountains to find Pena Palace and Castelo dos Mouros which is about a half hour taxi ride away.
Martinhal really have thought of everything you need whilst holidaying as a family. The staff couldn’t do enough to help the guests and even helped us book a taxi for us to take us to Sintra, via Cabo da Roca so we didn’t miss out on all the things we wanted to see.
Martinhal Beach Resort is without a doubt, a fantastic place to take children (and big kids) on holiday.
Martinhal Beach Resort invited us to stay with them for the purpose of the review, but all opinions are my own.