Hotel Review: Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort, Sagres in Portugal
In my household there are a lot of requirements when it comes to holidays. We all have our own box to tick (including my toddler) and the reality is someone has to compromise. All those lazy, indulgent and carefree holidays we remember before becoming parents are pretty much out of sight.
Amazon’s latest top seller has been replaced with armbands, and romantic dinners swapped for chicken nuggets. Finding the balance of a little bit of luxury for us and a whole lot of consideration for the needs of a toddler, all in one place, is hard if not completely mythical. On Portugal’s south coast such a place exists.
Firstly, Portugal has a great attitude towards travelling families. It starts when you arrive at the airport, in our case Faro. There’s a separate line for families with young children through both passport control and security, helping to avoid the long queues and even the lanes are wider to accommodate buggies and all the extra baggage. After an easy exit we were met by our driver, and after a little over an hour in a luxurious and comfortable Mercedes people carrier, we arrived at the stunning Martinhal resort.
When you arrive at Martinhal you instantly know it’s something special. Set within a natural park, the scenery is spectacular and the main building hosting the reception overlooks a beach that could well have been taken out of a brochure profiling somewhere in the South Pacific. It was clean, very very clean, especially considering this resort’s speciality is to cater for young families. It’s safe to say first impressions were good.
Martinhal is a bit like a gated community. It’s not a resort as such, it’s more like a series of destinations and houses, it could almost be mistaken for a very high end residential area. This means that it never feels overcrowded, people spread themselves between the beach and the four heated pools, and at night between the three restaurants. Getting around is simple and all areas are easily walkable, you actually find yourself never really leaving the resort.
The properties are stunning, built like a home from home and catering for your every need. We stayed in a two-storey Bay house that had two upper balconies that were linked by a beautiful open plan living area comprised of a kitchen, dining room and living space. The décor was sleek and modern designed by Sir Terence Conran, and really functional too, everything had been thought about, from curved edges on all tables, to sofas that could take wear and tear (that comes with kids) without compromising style.
With balconies at the front and rear of the property it meant that natural light flooded the space from sunrise to sunset. Both balconies also had lots of comfortable seating and glass perimeters meant that you didn’t have to worry at all about the little ones on the upper level. Even the stairway has a built-in child gate at the top and bottom of the stairs, more evidence that design had been thoroughly thought-out.
In addition to the four heated pools, you’ll also find an indoor pool and a beautiful beach that is easily accessible and is kept in pristine condition. To accommodate for families, all restaurants offer takeaway services and even delivery, which is great if you want to take advantage of the accommodation and those stunning balcony views.
The level of care and luxury leads you to forget that this is a resort built for young people too. Firstly, the staff are friendly, accommodating and great with children. There are play areas for children in all restaurants with staff onsite there to engage with your children in a low-key way.
Play is based around drawing or building, so the environment maintains a quiet and relaxed pace. This isn’t the kind of place where children run wildly around, Martinhal has somehow created that balance between accommodating children brilliantly without sacrificing the level of quality and luxury for everyone else.
Each restaurant offers fantastic food – but for me, it had to be the As Dunas restaurant with views of the Atlantic that stole it for me. The chilled, spacious and pristine (yes, even though kids can dine there) almost took us back to our holidays as a couple, with delicious fresh fish, fine wine and fantastic service. Even with our two-year-old, we felt completely relaxed eating our Sole and Tuna as our little girl happily coloured at the table or watched the fresh fish (yet to be eaten!) in the tank nearby.
If you find the energy or time there’s lots to engage with from scuba diving to water sports, tennis for both adults and children all located a stone’s throw away – we particularly loved the fantastic baby/toddler sing and swim lesson, which was utterly fantastic.
There’s a kid’s club and even a football pitch, all perfectly placed so not to impact the those looking to relax and embrace the peaceful atmosphere. The owners have literally thought of everything (there’s even a spa) in order to uncomplicate and reduce all the stress that comes with family holidays. Even your fellow holidaymakers seem to buy into the ethos almost instantly, everyone is on the same page.
If loud, late and brash is what you’re looking for then Martinhal isn’t for you, what the team have done is re-imagine the concept of what a family holiday could look like and layered on a huge slice of luxury.
It’s safe to say that we are already considering when we revisit this exceptional resort, and if I get my own way we will be back there before the Summer ends!
Address: Q.ta do Martinhal, 8650-908 Sagres, Portugal
Phone: +351 282 240 200