With Jasper starting school in September I’ve been working through a bit of a bucket list of things that I want to do with him; just me and my grown up boy. The list includes things like picnics, the farm, Peppa Pig World and the one that I was most determined to do – travelling! I didn’t know whether it would be a train ride up North or a flight to somewhere far away but I really wanted a few days of just me and Jasper time and I was seriously excited when Martinhal family hotels got in touch and invited us along to their family luxury brand conference in Lisbon Cascais. One day of our trip was dedicated to the conference during which Jasper was taken care of in the incredible childcare facilities but for the rest we were free to roam and explore all that Martinhal Cascais had to offer!
Now I’d already seen a few photos on Instagram of the hotel as being a family focused resort it popped up quite regularly among all of the parents that I follow but aside from the stunning pool and awesome inflatable bounce cushion we didn’t really know what to expect!
Martinhal is a family luxury hotel brand born by power couple Chitra and Roman Stern who are having children themselves, realised that there was either family friendly or luxury – no meeting of the two. They now have 4 luxury hotels and resorts across Portugal, Sagres and Quinta in the Algarve, Chiado in Lisbon city centre and Cascais just 30 minutes outside of Lisbon city; all of which mean that you can enjoy luxurious holiday stays without compromising on family fun!
After only a short 30 minute transfer from Lisbon airport we drove up the tree lined paths of Martinhal Chiado. It’s calmingly secluded but located besides a golf course and residence so you never feel too far from civilisation.
We were greeted in style, as expected from a luxury hotel – doors opened, concierge ready to take our bags and check us in – no lugging your own cases or waiting in line there!
While I was being given my welcome documents Jasper was greeted with his very own Martinhal drawstring bag which included a Fox hat (Martinhals mascot) and a mini football to play with! This was such a lovely touch and the first of many to come!
The concierge took us to our room which just had ‘wow factor’ written all over it! The whole hotel has a very natural feel with lots of wood and tree artwork and the room was no exception. Light wood lined the room, huge floor to ceiling patio doors flooded the room with natural light and upon opening them we were greeted to a pleasant breeze and the sounds of nature.
Our room had a HUGE double bed, it felt like a double next to a double and I know the rationale behind this was that kids like to bundle in with their parents – we could have certainly fit a family of 5 in there with room to spare! For Jasper there was a single bed with a pull down bunkbed and waiting for him there was a mini robe and flip flops – oh the cuteness!
Our bathroom was the size of Jaspers bedroom at home – which is pretty darn big! It had a massive bath with mood lighting inside, his and her sinks, a walk in waterfall shower and sectioned off toilet. The bathroom included all of the facilities I needed including shampoo, conditioner, body wash and moisturiser from Voya, a hairdryer, fluffy white towels, a robe and slippers for me and even a step for Jasper to be able to reach the sinks! Jaspers favourite feature of course was the glass wall separating the bathroom from the bedroom, not only did this flood the light into the bathroom but it also meant that if I was in the bath or even on the toilet I could see Jasper in the bedroom – major peace of mind right there! It also had an electric blind if you did want some privacy or darkness and Jasper loved turning that on and off!
There was also a seating area in the room with two armchairs and a coffee table plus a desk, tv and mini bar which included sweets of course!
The resort offers 4 ways to dine, three restaurants and of course – room service! Mbar has a relaxed and casual vibe, it’s situated apart from the main building and above the kids club which is surrounded by greenery. They don’t serve breakfast there but host a yummy a la carte menu and brunches plus they have an incredible cake counter and ice cream trolley! If your child is in the kids club then this is where they’ll dine!
The Lounge Bar is as it states, at the bar, which is just downstairs from the main reception and on the way to the main restaurant. They serve the most amazing hot chocolate and a selection of items from the main menu. This is a really great option on the days that MBar is doing brunches only and you simply fancy something small.
O Terraco is the main restaurant, it’s where breakfast and dinner are served every day and they include incredible buffet and a la carte menus. The breakfast is inclusive of the stay and includes all of your typical ‘Full English’ style items as well as pastries, cereals, fresh fruits and juices.
Being vegetarian and vegan as much as possible I always worry a bit when I’m abroad that I won’t have many options but they actually had lots on the a la carte menus as well as offering milk alternatives at the bar!
For me, dining with kids is one of the most stressful parts of travelling and Martinal put so many little touches in place that make a huge impact on your dining experience! Wherever you’re dining they provide childrens plastic plates and cutlery as well as offer homemade purees for any babies at weaning age! Both Mbar and O Terraco have mini kids height sinks and towels for where they help children to wash their hands and get cups of water; and O Terraco even has a designated area for children to sit should you need a bit of time apart haha. The designated area has toys and colouring books and what’s amazing is during breakfast and dinner the kids club staff will look after your children while you dine and they even get a special visit from Freddie the Fox!
I feel like I could go on with this topic forever so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. Martinhal Cascais has a host of onsite activities that are perfect for kids; there are three pools (one is only open during the Summer months) but children can access the spa pool and outdoor dome pool any time of year. Theres a zip line, sand pit, floor trampoline, giant bounce cushion, ‘tree of wisdom’ climbing area with slides and net swing. Your little ones can also enjoy table tennis, the football and basketball courts, a fairy walk and renting bikes.
From 19 months – 3 years of age the children can go in the creche and from 4 years up they are in Raposinhos, which is the kids club. Sessions are completely free of charge from 9:30-17:30 and in high season there are even sessions from 18:00-22:00 should you wish to go for dinner and have an evening child-free! The only charge that you do need to pay is $12 for lunch if you want you children to stay in the creche/ kids club for then and then you simply select from their menu when you drop your little one off – it’s also a good idea to book your sessions on arrival incase the resort is busy!
There is also a baby room for little ones aged 6-9 months from 9:30-17:30. This again is free of charge during low season (Nov-Mar) and is then 25 euros for 2 hours and 10 euros for any additional hours after that!
There is also an in-room babysitting service which I was a bit nervous about as it was on our first night but Anna came to the room 30 minutes before I had to leave so that she could get to know Jasper and ask any questions; I went into the bathroom for 2 minutes and when I came out they were out in the garden looking at the birds which just melted my heart. When it came to me leaving Jasper told me to ‘go then’ so despite feeling a bit unloved any fears I had flew out of the window!
There are also programs for tweens and teens which includes activities like horse riding, diving, surfing and even mocktail workshops!
Onto the most important part … half joking of course! Aside from the copious amounts of free time gifted to adults by the kids club, the Finesterra spa is also an amazing treat! It not only has a stunning pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room but offers family treatments including mummy and me massages!
To sum it up I could not love Martinhal Cascais any more than I already do; I don’t know how they’ve managed to do it but the balance of family and luxury has been perfectly created and even though it’s a combination of the two the lines don’t seem to cross over at all – aka you’re never thinking ‘this is so luxurious why is there a kid here’? haha
If you’re partial to the finer things in life but don’t want to compromise when it comes to travelling with your brood then definitely check out Martinhals resorts; they are of course in a higher price bracket to most family resorts but that’s because of the luxury aspect and personally if it came down to two holidays of struggling to find the balance or one holiday where I can totally relax with my kids – I’d pay more for one any day!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for part two – Martinhal Chiado!
*Our stay at Martinhal Cascais was complimentary in exchange for an honest review