Five nights in Lisbon with Martinhal

When it comes to traveling with two small children we are kind of picky about where and what we do. We are lucky enough that travel opportunities are often a perk of the job but we've decided to limit all travel that comes with a flight time of over two and a half hours. We know thats our kids limit at the moment, Wilf at 5 could probably go longer but for Mabli at almost two she just can't sit on someones knee for any longer than that and tbh I can't only stand it for about the same amount on time.

So when the opportunity came to visit Lisbon (two hours flight from Bristol) we were really keen to take the trip. Even more so when it involved luxury family hotel Martinhal. I'd heard glowing reviews about the company from both Globalmouse Travels and The Bristol Parent.

We've stayed at places that claimed to be 'luxury travel' before and been quite disappointed. Not that we are adverse to a more basic kind of package (we love European caravan holidays for example) but when you are told something is 'luxury' you kind of expect it to be so. Thankfully Martinhal ticked all those boxes and more and has been one of our very favourite trips we've ever been on with our family so far.

Here's why :
(Click below to read on)

The design and architecture was the first thing that struck us about this when we arrived. The buildings are contemporary with a Scandinavian feel, huge windows with lots of white walls and foliage. Our room was really spacious and design led with a huge window between the bathroom and bedroom to create an even lighter feel.

We stayed in the hotel rather than in a villa so we were all sharing a room which included a super king and a bunk bed for the kids. We also had a balcony overlooking the back of the hotel which meant that although we didn't have the views of the restaurant and pool it was a lot more secluded and probably meant it was a bit quieter than the ones over looking the restaurant and bar.

Although we were able to hang out on our balcony when Mabli took her nap we had intended to do so in the evening too but unfortunately there was no outside light so this wasn't really possible which was a shame. Just a small detail really but one that would have helped us be able to stay up a bit later instead of being inside the room and worrying about waking the kids.

One of the best things about Martinhal is the amazing childcare. I mentioned in my first post that we stayed in their Chaido property in Lisbon and although we hadn't initially intended to have Wilf in the kids club there as we were only there a day, he begged us to let him stay we were immediately super impressed with the tour of the staff and facilities we were 100% happy for him to stay. I know that having someone look after your child is such a personal thing but we were so at ease with the care the Martinhal staff provided that we didn't think twice about using this service.

After having such a great first impression in the Chaido property we were more than happy for Wilf to spend as much time as he wanted with the staff in Cascais and were again so impressed with the service. Wilf still talks about the friends he made there and on the occasion that Mabli went to (for a couple of hours) she fell asleep on one of the ladies and she just sat and cuddled her for over an hour. I loved that they did that rather than try and move her into a cot or anything and that she was so at easy to cuddle up with one of the lovely ladies there. We're already planning on returing at some point in the future and knowing how brilliant the childcare is is definitely one of the main reasons I think!

On top of that the general feeling of a stay at Martinhal is that its as much about the kids as the parents. Children aren't just tolerated they are fully welcomed and celebrated. They are even allowed in the Spa areas and facilities which I thought was such a lovely and surprising feature. During breakfast and dinner in the main restaurant there is a member of staff in the play corner that plays and entertains your kids if they like mine has finished their dinner and you want to stay a while longer to drink a glass of wine. I let Wilf and Mabli take my camera as I was eating my pudding one night and came back to this picture! ha!

Our favourite place to hang out and eat was definitely down by the pool and we found they also had the best veggie options too with a few different salads and small dishes and were able to make cheese toasties for the children.

Breakfast was brilliant and again really nice to be able to eat there and let the kids play once they were done so you could finish your coffee. We ate once at the restaurant in the evening and although the food was great I don't think we could have eaten for more than one night there as there wasn't very many veggie options (lots of fish though if you are pescatarian like Tom). Similarly the M Bar had a great relaxed vibe but only one veggie option for kids and only a couple more for adults so we did find this a bit tricky and would have got a bit repetitive if you were staying for longer than the three days we did. I do think we might have got on a little better in a villa where we could cook for ourselves. The buffet was so great we often only wanted something light for lunch and could have cooked for ourselves come the evening which would have worked a bit better for a veggie needs I think.

The pools and playground were fantastic and as we went in October we often found we almost had the place to ourselves! I think we were quite lucky that there was a heatwave but I think we would have been fine with the usual Portuguese weather at this time and would definitely go again a little out of season like this.

We didn't actually leave the resort which is a little different to what we usual do as we like to explore the area but as it was such a chilled and luxurious place we actually just felt like staying put whilst we were there. However if we hadn't just been to Lisbon I think we would have definitely had made the day trip, it's just under an hour away by train (along the sea). As Martinhal have their Chaido location there guests can often switch between the two spending day trips at either which I think it such a brilliant idea especially if you are based in the city but fancy a child friendly day by the pool. We also didn't visit Cascais itself which is supposed to be a really beautiful little town. We'll have to do that next time!

We had such a fantastic time at both Martinhal properties and wouldn't hesitate to visit them again, Wilf especially said it was his best holiday as 'we got to do things I like!' which I think is probably very true. If you want to see footage of our Lisbon trip you can watch the video below if you like.

Thanks to Martinhal for having us as their guests - All words, thoughts and pictures my own

1 comment:

Blogs by FA said...

You’re so right! We definitely have to do planning with kids. I’ve got Lisbon in my travel list and I’m hoping to visit next year. Will definitely keep this accommodation in mind, especially because it sounds child friendly and the architecture is beautiful.


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