Which European country is known for its low prices, breathtaking rocky coastlines, plentiful seafood, mouthwatering cuisine, historic tiled-building architecture, and pleasant year-round temperatures?   It’s Portugal!  And boy, does it live up to the hype.   Here’s a look at three luxury resorts with fabulous family-friendly amenities, to consider when traveling to Portugal.

Martinhal Sagres beach resort, family resort in Portugal with year round good weather and lots of outdoor recreation.

Martinhal Sagres beach resort. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

3 Must-Try Luxury Family Resorts in Portugal

Recently named “2016 Hottest Destination of the Year” by Travel & Leisure, there are so many reasons to take your family to the scenic country Portugal.  My recent visit was actually my first time in Europe, and I was surprised to discover the English language was prevalent.  Prices seemed extremely reasonable.  And although Portugal isn’t traditionally an iconic European destination, I was delighted to find all the  components of Old World culture are readily available here.

After getting to stay in some fabulous accommodations that could host my family in comfort, I’m convinced this has the makings of an amazing European vacation.  I tried out three different Martinhal Luxury Family Resorts, each at a special location packed with individual charms and more kid-friendly amenities than I have ever seen at a hotel property.  Although each resort is unique, the luxurious branding and attention to detail is noticeable throughout.

At each Martinhal Resort they boast “5 star family luxury”.  So what does that actually mean?  What I witnessed was an alluring combination of impressive child care facilities and kid-friendly amenities, along with fine dining, spa time, and relaxation for mom and dad.

3 Luxury Family Resorts in Portugal. Martinhal has multiple hotel locations including a beach resort, which are kid-friendly with many family travel amenities.

 

Martinhal Cascais 

My favorite area of Lisbon, Cascais (pronounced “cash-keye”) stole my heart on the very first day.  Any place where you can tour a palace, see the crashing sea waves against a rocky coastline, and wander narrow hilly streets through shops and pastry cafes is the absolutely ideal taste of Europe, as far as I’m concerned.

If this Lisbon coastal location sounds good to you, look at making Martinhal Cascais your home base.  While Martinhal’s signature at each of their resorts is having fantastic kid care facilities, I believe the Cascais location takes the cake.  Here your kids have an entire clubhouse, along with a vast outdoor playground complete with a zipline and lounging bean bags galore.

Martinhal Cascais is a family friendly resort in Portugal, fabulous outdoor play area for children, all completely surrounded by a security entrance fence.

Martinhal Cascais fabulous outdoor play area for children, all completely surrounded by a security entrance fence. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Martinhal Cascais ClubHouse Pool and Villas is a family friendly resort in Portugal

Martinhal Cascais ClubHouse Pool and Villas / Photo credit Martinhal

What Works for Families

  • My favorite feature: 5-star dining at the resort restaurants, with attached and Martinhal-staffed kid play areas. Hungry kiddos can quickly eat, then go play while you savor every course of your gourmet meal.
  • Complementary Kids clubhouse, childcare sessions included with your stay. Children areas are divided by ages, and varying activity programs are provided daily. These facilities are bright, cheerful, and appear quite alluring to kids.
  • 3 swimming pools (2 heated year-round)
  • Child sized robes and flip-flops provided in rooms.
  • In addition to the standard hotel rooms, separate 2 or 3-bedroom villas are available with full kitchens and additional space for families.
  • Airport transfer service available for a fee, complete with child safety car seats on hand.
  • Excellent home base location for exploring the Sintra area and famous Pena Palace.
  • Nespresso machine and pods in the room, helping you embrace Europe’s fabulous version of coffee

What Doesn’t Work for Families

  • In regular rooms, fridge is fully stocked as a mini bar (ie no additional room for personal drinks or leftovers). For additional room or even a full sized kitchen, consider reserving one of the villas.

Room cost

Rates vary by season.  $$+ for room; $$$+ for suite; $$$$$+ for deluxe villa

Deluxe superior room at Martinhal Cascais, each with private balconies or terraces. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Deluxe superior room at Martinhal Cascais, each with private balconies or terraces. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Martinhal Cascais is a family friendly resort in Portugal. Complementary child care centers are included with your stay.

The Raposinhos (“Little Fox”) Kids Club area caters to children from 3 to 5 years old. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

 The Details

There’s a lot to love about staying and playing at Martinhal Cascais.  I had an excellent a massage at the resort’s Finisterra Spa.  Parents can easily schedule some spa time while their kids play at the supervised clubhouse.

There are three restaurants on site offering top notch cuisine, but the concept behind the M Bar was my personal favorite.  We dined in this glass walled restaurant and found it was delicious.  But it’s their location on the second floor of the kids clubhouse, with a floor-to-ceiling windows providing a view of the outdoor kids playground that makes it so perfect.  In the corner is a lounge area filled with soft couches, so relax and have a drink and/or tapas while watching the kids play.

Martinhal Cascais is a family friendly resort in Portugal. Multiple pools, a childrens clubhouse, and fine dining add to the luxury.

Lush landscaping around one of the pools at Martinhal Cascais. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

This overprotective mom loves the concept of having kids occasionally occupied elsewhere, but I’m not always comfortable with the execution.  The “you can still see them while they go play” arrangement I saw at each of the Martinhal resort restaurants completely won me over.

Martinhal Sagres 

Martinhal Sagres is a family friendly resort in Portugal. This beach resort is a sprawling complex offering lots of outdoor recreation and relaxation.

Martinhal Sagres check in building / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

If you’ve been searching for the secret beach holiday destination of Europeans, you’ve just found it.  Surrounded by a protected nature preserve, this sprawling full service ocean side resort is the only thing you’ll find in the area, aside from the small fishing village of Sagres.

Martinhal Sagres is a family resort in Portugal, right along the ocean. This beach resort has beautiful shorelines and lots of outdoor recreation opportunities.

Breathtaking beach and shoreline at Martinhal Sagres / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

What Works for Families

  • Peaceful, scenic beach location full of outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Complementary child care centers
  • Once again, 5-star dining is served at each of the resort’s restaurants, with nearby Martinhal-staffed kid play areas. You kids can eat-and-go, while you linger over every course… from starters through to desert!
  • Many sizes and types of rooms and villas are available, including some with a private swimming pool.
  • Villas are fully equipped for family use, including rounded corner coffee tables, a high chair, plastic cups and plates, toddler sized silverware, bathroom stools, and plastic potty-training seat topper.
  • Tubs of sand toys available for use on the beach.
  • Restaurants have numerous high chairs already set up at dinner tables. Even though this is a 5-star dining experience, it offers an awesome, laid back
    “Families welcome here!” atmosphere.
  • Bike rentals and/or guided bike tours available on property. For little ones, balance bikes or even bike trailers are also available.
  • Onsite store with groceries, souvenirs, and even a wine selection.
  • 4 swimming pools
  • 3 restaurants

What Doesn’t Work for Families

  • Fairly remote location, requiring some significant travel time
  • Come here for the natural beauty and outdoor recreation, which is fantastic. There’s not much else in the area.
Martinhal Sagres is a beach family resort in Portugal, with multiple pools and villa options.

Beach side pool at Martinhal Sagres, complete with sand toys and floating rings to play with. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Martinhal Sagres is a beach family resort in Portugal, with luxury 5 star dining and complementary child care facilities.

5 star fine dining awaits… bring the kids, they are more than welcome here! / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Martinhal Sagres is a family friendly resort in Portugal. Restaurants all feature play areas for kids to retire to after eating, so parents can savor their 5 star dining in peace.

View from the dining room. Once your kids are done eating, cut them loose to go play while you enjoy the rest of your meal in peace. That’s “Family Luxury”! / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Room cost

Rates vary by season.  $$+ for room; $$-$$$ for 1-bedroom house; $$$+ for 2-bedroom house

 The Details

This is the original and signature Martinhal property.  It’s located at the Southwestern most point in Europe, which results in surprisingly mild temperatures year-round (60 degrees Fahrenheit in winter months).  It takes a bit to get here, but once you arrive you’ll not need stray any farther than a bike ride to the Lighthouse of Ponta de Sagres on Cape St. Vincent.

Martinhal Sagres can arrange bike tours by Algarve Bike Holidays out to Cape St Vincent.

Awesome bike tour guide Jerome (2nd from left), of Algarve Cycling Holidays, leads TravelingMom Tami (second from right) and other travel writers from Martinhal Sagres to Cape St Vincent. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

A local Sagres guide can be arranged to take you on a surprisingly do-able kayaking paddle tour. If the sea is calm, even little ones are welcome to join in, and double kayaks are available.

Martinhal Sagres is a beach family resort in Portugal, with lots of available outdoor recreation such as kayaking and bike tours.

Lots of outdoor adventure to be had at Martinhal Sagres! / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Everywhere you turn, there are provisions for entertaining children and making parent’s job of caring for them on vacation as easy as possible.  It’s truly a place to come enjoy a bit of nature and relaxation.

If the purpose of your trip is to experience Europe, I’d recommend combining this with a stay at one of Martinhal’s Lisbon resorts (Martinhal Cascais or Martinhal Chiado).

Martinhal Chiado Family Suites

Martinhal Chiado is a family resort in Portugal. These family apartments are located right in the heart of old town Lisbon.

Martinhal Chiado family apartments are located right in the heart of old town Lisbon. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Chiado is the “old town” city center of Lisbon, and will give you an authentic glimpse into its culture and heritage.  All within easy walking distance from Martinhal Chiado, you’ll find the scenic waterfront, famous Commerce Square, trolley car tours, fabulous Portuguese restaurants, and beautifully tiled pathways.

This area is very urban, but staying at the newly opened Martinhal Chiado offers extremely comfortable accommodations for families, unique in all of Lisbon.  By renting one of their complete apartment units, you’ll have a spacious home base to return to after exploring the city each day.

Martinhal Chiado is a family resort in Portugal offering luxury apartments with child friendly amenities.

Welcome to your European home-away-from home! Luxurious family apartment at Martinhal Chiado. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Martinhal Chiado is a family resort in Portugal offering luxury apartments with child friendly amenities.

Highly comfortable option for families to explore Chiado in Lisbon. 2 bedroom family apartment at Martinhal Chiado. / Photo credit Martinhal

Martinhal Chiado is a family resort in Portugal offering luxury apartments with child friendly amenities in old town part of Lisbon.

Such a charming area! View from Martinhal Chiado apartment window. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

What Works for Families

  • 37 Individual Apartments, located in a historical building with fully renovated modern interiors.
  • Delightful Kids Club child care center (and mini climbing wall!), with extended pajama hours available
  • Full kitchen in every apartment
  • Washer/dryer machine, enabling lighter packing
  • Welcome starter groceries – including orange juice, milk, bottled water, biscuits, and napkins
  • Nespresso machine and pods

What Doesn’t Work for Families

  • No swimming pool (although in this historical Chiado area, I’m not sure any hotel has one.)
  • No fitness center
Martinhal Chiado is a family resort in Portugal offering luxury apartments with complementary child care centers.

Complementary child care center at Martinhal Chiado / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Room cost

Rates vary by season.  Martinhal Chiado is currently offering fantastic opening rate specials, now through Spring 2017. $$+ for studio; $$$+ for 1-bedroom apartment (sleeps 4); $$$$+ for 2-bedroom deluxe apartment.

The Details

Finding a beautiful, completely modern and extremely spacious family-friendly property such as this in the middle of a European city’s old town is a rare find.  I immediately wanted to go collect my family, and permanently move in to this beautifully appointed apartment.

The décor is cheery and contemporary.  Yet just outside your window, the surrounding buildings remind you of the surrounding historical architecture.

Available apartments vary in size, sleeping up to 6 persons.  Most children sleeping quarters feature bunk beds.

Portugal has been named "hottest destination of the year"! See what the hype is about, and the best luxury family resorts in Portugal to reserve.

Bunkbeds for the kids, in a family apartment unit at Martinhal Chiado. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Once again, I noticed the kids gear on hand in every apartment.  A high chair sits in the kitchen corner, and plastic cups and plates are found in the cupboard.  These units also include a washer/dryer (in one machine… it’s a Europe thing) so you can freshen up your clothes, or even pack intentionally lighter for your vacation.

Portugal has been named "hottest destination of the year"! See what the hype is about, and the best luxury family resorts in Portugal to reserve.

You’re going to just want to move into this apartment and stay… it’s got everything you need. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

Martinhal’s consistent use of Nespresso machines at each and every resort rooms had me completely hooked.  I made it less than one week back at home before ordering my own.

Martinhal ~ Luxury Family Resorts in Portugal

Portugal has been named "hottest destination of the year"! See what the hype is about, and the best luxury family resorts in Portugal to reserve.

The child amenities are found everywhere throughout Martinhal resorts. / Photo credit Tami Mittan, Outdoorsy TravelingMom

My visit of the Martinhal properties in Portugal was as part of a media press trip, but these gorgeous resorts had me plotting for when I could return with my family.  I’ve honestly never seen a resort with so much attention given to families, and being accommodating to traveling with children.

They describe that their version of “5-star luxury” is with a family spin.  It’s that children’s play area in the corner of the fine dining restaurant, which allows mom to slowly finish her entire meal in peace.  I loved that the focus was not on completely separating children from the parents during the vacation, but rather providing some energy-burning side activities for kids to enjoy.  This enables parents to have some blissful windows of quiet time.

With Martinhal Resorts you don’t have to choose between “child-friendly” and “luxury”… you can have both at their lovely Portugal properties.  I can’t wait to return