Martinhal in Portugal, a contemporary family resort.
Situated in Sagres, Portugal, part of the Algarve which you probably haven’t been to before. It sits almost entirely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, roughly an hour’s drive from Faro Airport. It’s at the edge of a national park and has a rugged open feeling and the sorts of winds and waves that attract surfers and sailors from all around the world - we fitted right in!
We described the overall location as being like "the Connemara of Portugal" in that the rugged landscape is largely untouched in terms of development and the whole area has an authentic feel to it. To be able to drive for 10 minutes along cliff top coastal roads to reach the southwestern most point of Europe adds to what makes this place somewhat special.
The nearest village, Sagres Point is 3km away and could be described as sleepy and if you are looking for bustling bars, nightclubs and restaurants you won’t find it near Sagres. We loved it though, especially travelling with our 2-year-old daughter Lucy.
Accommodation consists of a hotel with thirty-eight rooms and a selection of villas and apartments scattered across the private estate. Two restaurants sit overlooking the beach and spread across the rest of the resort are tennis courts, a supermarket, numerous other restaurants, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor) plus childcare and entertainment facilities for all ages from 0-12. We stayed in the Garden Houses which are perfect if you have young children. Its centrally located near pools and the village square, which is the central gathering place for the entire resort. All accommodations will come equipped with whatever child extras you need i.e. cot, highchair, stair guards, bed sides, potties, steps for the toilet. Everything you could possibly need right down to cutlery / crockery and plastic cups. Of course, the adults are not forgotten about, we were delighted to see a Nespresso machine!
Martinhal Sagres is a beautiful set-up and it does a number of things really well. In particular, how hard they work to entertain their younger guests. At each bar and restaurant, there is a play area set up, even in the lobby of the hotel. Martinhal mascots Rafee and Rosita make appearances throughout the day, but always at 5pm each evening in the Village Square.
We tried and tested all the restaurants during our stay - our favourite was Os Gambozinos! There is also an option to have a take away from any of these onsite restaurants as well which is very handy. The variety and selection of choices for children was excellent. We enjoyed breakfast in O Terraco, where they offer a hot and cold buffet at €22.00 per person. We found it expensive and there wasn’t much of a change each day, however the glass of prosecco overlooking the Atlantic Ocean eased it somewhat!
The Finnisterra Spa (Finnisterra, meaning end of the earth and very fitting for its location) is located right in the centre of the resort and again just off the Village square which offers an extensive selection of treatments and even some for kids too, using lovely Irish products from Voya and complimentary access to Sauna, Steam room and Jacuzzi for all residents.
The childcare is enthusiastically crafted but not “in your face” and there is none of that forced or false jolliness or frantic rushing around that can experience on a lot family orientated resorts.
If you want to holiday as a family, stay in a gorgeous resort and squeeze in some serious pampering and sport in all at the same time, then the Martinhal should be right at the top of your list.