Victoria Summer and her husband enjoy their first overseas holiday with a toddler in tow
The five-star Martinhal resort is tucked away in the small fishing port of Sagres, entirely surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and a national park. Imagine acres of rugged open space with a sea breeze that means temperatures never feel too stifling and the climate is still warm in winter.
This was my first proper holiday – bar a wet weekend in Dorset – with my two year old, and frankly I was nervous. Some days I struggle to get her to the end of the road so how would we handle a whole other country?
Luckily, Martinhal is set up to cater for little ones and they excel at it. Staff couldn’t be friendlier or more helpful – what a relief to have no dirty looks every time a tantrum kicked off, or the floor was covered in fishcake. For us, the highlight was that at every meal, the team entertained the kids so mums and dads could eat in peace. Our little girl made firm friends and as it happens, we made friends with the parents, too. It was their family’s third trip to the resort within the last year. This news was hardly surprising. The hotel allows you to have a taste of luxury despite the firm emphasis on children.
Most guests we spoke to raved about the food. There is As Dunas, an à la carte fish restaurant by the beach; Os Gambozinos, an Italian; and O Terraço, the main restaurant with views over the sea. The all-inclusive packages are good value and every meal was superb quality. We spent a lot of time hanging out in the M Bar, with its full-size VW van and ice cream parlour just steps away from the soft play area and an outside playground.
But we also enjoyed whiling away the hours back at our house. There’s a range of villas and houses dotted around the resort, each with their own identity. There’s also a baby concierge service so you don’t need to lug potties or stair gates along with you.
This really is a resort holiday. There isn’t much to explore in the neighbouring town, but really there is no reason to leave. The Mercado on site is well stocked with delicious artisanal produce as well as essentials, and the Finisterra Spa is a must-try.
Martinhal pulls off the near impossible – a relaxing holiday with children. No wonder so many families return year after year.