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On a family vacation in Portugal

Sagres resort by Martinhal

Sagres resort by Martinhal

By Fran Falkin, Taking the Kids Correspondent

LISBON, Portugal — Since 2010, Martinhal Family Hotels & Resorts have been providing family-friendly luxury accommodations, gourmet meals, facilities and activities to provide memorable holidays to family groups of all sizes and ages.

Their first resort, Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort, located in The Algarve region along the southern coast of Portugal, was designed and built from top to bottom as a Martinhal property.  This is the footprint from which the Martinhal Quinta Family Golf Resort (also in The Algarve) and the Martinhal Cascais Family Hotel (located in a suburb of Lisbon) were created.

In the Fall of 2016, the Martinhal Chiado Family Suites, constructed from a converted classic Lisbon apartment building, joined the brand in the heart of the historic capital.

Cascais resort by Martinhal

Cascais resort by Martinhal

Families First and Foremost

The phrase “family-friendly” is so overused that it has become almost meaningless, sometimes offering a small toy or coloring book to your kids. While the absolute family-friendliness at all Martinhal properties is unmistakable, they also boast stylish, low-key, but sophisticated luxury in the accommodations, activities and meals. Here’s a look at their four family welcoming hotels in Portugal.

Martinhal Welcomes Golfers to a Lisbon Suburb

Martinhal Lisbon Cascais Family Hotel is located within the Sintra Cascais National Park in the southwest of the country on the Atlantic coast. Only 19 miles from the airport, it is in a suburb of Lisbon, making daytrips to the city a real option. Golfers particularly are drawn to Martinhal Cascais, as it is located between two championship golf courses.

The hotel offers 68 hotel rooms, four suites, and 12 two-bedroom luxury villas with kitchens.There are 3 pools, a gym, 3 restaurants and a bar, and a Finisterra Spa on site – Finisterra, meaning “End of the Earth” refers to Portugal’s location at the tip of Europe. The Kids Clubs offer excellent care and private babysitting is also available.  So, if you want to head into Lisbon for some culture, your kids will be well taken care of either in a group or individual setting.

Several inventive play areas dot the property, so family fun time is always an option. And, with its location along the Estoril Coastine which runs from Lisbon to Cascais, there are lovely beaches as close as five minutes from the hotel. Check out Guincho Beach, known for surfing and windsurfing, and others which provide opportunities for all kinds of watersport activities on a stunning coastline.

Shopping in Lisbon

Shopping in Lisbon

A City Break in the Capital

Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Suites, right in the heart of Lisbon, is the newest member of the family.  The classic structure, dating from 1855, retains its historic feel while being completely modernized on the inside. Called the world’s “first city-center elegant family hotel,” 37 luxurious apartments range in size from studios with bunk beds and cooking facilities to one and  two-bedroom units with a full kitchen and washer/dryer.

This property offers a cafe lounge for breakfast and snacks, and room service, but nearness to all of the restaurants in Lisbon will make dining out fun and easy, except for the challenge of selecting from all of the choices.

With the proximity of these two properties, I can’t think of a more perfect family vacation than spending a few days exploring Lisbon – riding the trams; touring the UNESCO World Heritage sites; visiting Oceanario de Lisboa, Europe’s second largest aquarium; walking around the charming streets; shopping; and, of course, eating, followed by a few days in at the Cascais property near the beach, playing golf, being pampered in the spa and enjoying the serenity.

That is, unless you want to focus on Portugal’s beautiful Algarve region.

Cascais beach

Cascais beach

On the Beach in The Algarve

Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort is located directly on the beach, in a protected natural park near the fishing village of Sagres on The Algarve, a spectacular coastline in southern Portugal.  Here you can choose from among 37 rooms in the 5-Star hotel to 155 private homes, and luxury villas with up to five bedrooms.

Family-together time takes place in the four pools and in the Village Square. Surrounded by the various kid’s clubs and some restaurants and snack bars, it is a giant outdoor play area with climbing structures, bouncy houses, bungee jumpers and more, offering unending fun. I can imagine meeting up with other families here on your first night, and making a date for the rest of your stay to hang out and play together. Also, bike rentals are available for family excursions,

Three restaurants offer freshly-prepared gourmet meals. One features Italian specialties, while the others offer local seafood, meats, vegetables and fruits, focused on Portuguese gastronomy. Try a “cataplana,” which really refers to the traditional clamshell-shaped cookware used to prepare seafood dishes in The Algarve. The restaurants offer options for guests with dietary restrictions and extensive children’s and baby’s menus.

Adults can avail themselves of a variety of complementary and paid activities ranging from gym, sauna and steam room to tennis, kayaking, body surfing, horseback riding and more.  The Finisterra Spa is the place for relaxation and pampering – alone, with your partner, with your baby, your child or teen.  There are even special treatments for grandma and grandpa.

A Private Oasis in The Algarve

Martinhal Quinta Family Golf Resort, in the Quinto do Lago area of The Algarve is in a gated community  and offers the option of two-bedroom townhouses to five-bedroom luxury homes with private gardens and pools. The main center of activity and socializing is the Hangout area with a large pool with a waterslide, and a baby pool with sprinklers. Nearby is a trampoline, a sand pit and other fun features, plus an indoor pool.

While there is no spa at this resort, massages are available in your home. Casual food is available for purchase poolside, and there is one restaurant. Families can shop at the on-site Mercado for what they need for meal preparation in their homes. There are lots of opportunities in the area to dine at local restaurants and to go waterskiing, windsurfing, horseback riding and more.

While each Martinhal property offers a different location and flavor, some features are present throughout all.  Most notably, they all strive and succeed in providing families with what they need to enjoy exceptional and memorable family vacations.

Trip Planning Tips

Martinhal Family Hotels and Resorts are well-priced for such upscale facilities and settings.  Do note that they are not all-inclusive properties, and meals, childcare and some activities are a la carte. However, some room rates include breakfast, and there are seasonal packages that include some meals, some activities and some childcare.

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