While my wife and daughters slowly start to wake up, I saunter towards the resort’s main square, enjoying the early morning sun. Although the square is the resort’s main entertainment hub, it’s virtually deserted in the early morning and I enjoy a peaceful moment at the Mercado Deli & Bake, where I order a freshly brewed cappuccino, a newspaper and a croissant. Basking in the first rays of sunshine, I wait to see what today will bring.
A little later, the children come to tell me that they will be going to the Raposinhos Kids Club (for children aged 2 - 5) today for the first time. While they run excitedly into the club, which is filled to the rafters with toys, they shout: ‘Look at the cool caps we got!’ We take advantage of the opportunity and enjoy another cappuccino on the terrace. Older children will find plenty of entertainment tailored to their age groups at the Explorer Club (ages 13 and under) or The Blast Club (up to the age of 16) with more adventurous and exciting activities. On rainy or overcast days children are welcome to hang out in the Blue Room, which boasts a football table, an Xbox, a Wii, a PlayStation, a large video screen and a ping-pong table.
Guests with babies and toddlers can make use of the childcare centre run by professional staff. Another convenient extra for guests with babies is the Baby Concierge, through whom you can book everything you need in advance, from cots and high-chairs to bottle warmers. That certainly saves a lot of luggage space!
A week at this 5-star resort isn’t enough for the children to participate in the many activities on offer - and then we haven’t even mentioned the beach, the sports activities and the swimming pools.
The resort has no less than five swimming pools. The children are ecstatic. ‘That means that we can try out a different one every day!’ Two swimming pools grace the Village Square and are ideal for families. One generously sized pool spans indoors and outdoors. Adjacent is another smaller pool designed for toddlers. With this many swimming pools, if it’s crowded at one pool, you will easily be able to find a peaceful place to relax at one of the others.
Although Martinhal is everything but small, it’s is surprisingly easy to find your way around the resort. This gives it an almost intimate atmosphere, which can also be explained by the fact that so many of the activities that guests take part in every day take place on the main square. The casual ambiance with a personal touch is reflected in how the resort has been landscaped. Most of the accommodations for families are ‘Village Houses’. The term house is absolutely correct here, because they are nothing like ordinary hotel rooms. Our ‘Grand Deluxe Ocean House’ features two storeys. Both bedrooms are on the ground floor, with access to a deck with comfortable recliners. The upper storey is reserved for the big living room, open-plan kitchen and big veranda. The sliding glass doors offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s clear that one of the keywords at Martinhal is ‘unique’, which is reflected in the wide range of different villas and houses to choose from. While the Ocean Houses are located at the resort’s most elevated point, the two and three-bedroom Bay Houses are situated in more private surroundings at the edge of the resort, with splendid views across the nearby nature reserve. There are also Garden Houses, for whose residents there is a separate swimming pool. Guests who prefer a swimming pool all to themselves can book one of the Pinewood Houses. Larger parties can opt for one of the villas featuring two to five bedrooms and a private pool.
This resort is absolutely perfect for families who enjoy sports. Located near Sagres in Portugal at the most south-western point on the European continent, there is always a little wind, from a pleasant ocean breeze to nearly tempestuous gusts of wind. This is why the Martinhal Beach features a Water Sports Centre where guests can hire equipment for windsurfing and other watersports. Club 98 is the resort’s lively tennis and sports club and caters to all your needs. There are two tennis courts, two glass-sided PADEL courts, a swimming pool and various areas and fields reserved for football and other sports activities.
After a wonderful day of relaxing alternated with a little activity, we take a seat on one of the drift-wood lounge sofas on the square directly in front of the M Bar – Family and Surf Bar. When you’re there, don’t forget to check out the genuine 1970s VW with a stripped interior for children to play in and the dedicated kids bar with iPads and games. While we wait for our drinks to arrive, we discuss where to go for dinner this evening. O Terraço has, as you can tell from its name, an enormous terrace with splendid views of the ocean as its secret weapon and serves delicious authentic Portuguese cuisine. There is a kids corner with small tables, colouring pencils and games supervised by a member of the Kids Club. We could also dine at As Dunas, featuring scrumptious seafood and, as an additional bonus, a small playground with a trampoline next door. In the end, we decide that we can’t pass up the delicious pizzas at Os Gambozinos. However, this time we decide not to eat on the lovely covered terrace, but take our freshly baked pizzas home to our villa, where we enjoy the view of the sun setting in the ocean from our private veranda.
# This is a genuine paradise for children. The resort has dedicated a total surface area of of over 3,300m3 to children in play areas, daycare, kids clubs, etc.!
# Although everything is taken care of down to the smallest details, and the resort offers all modern conveniences, the atmosphere is very pleasant and casual.
# Each of the numerous restaurants at the resort can be highly recommended. At the same time, there are also many authentic places to eat in the surrounding area. Perfect for enjoying a cold beer and grilled calamaris while the children run up and down the sand dunes!
# There are absolute no signs of mass tourism here whatsoever. There is a lovely nature reserve within walking distance, as well as ancient Roman ruins. Also, who wouldn’t want to stand at the outermost point of Europe?
This hotel is part of The Little Guest Hotels Collection.