Travel

MTT Travel: Martinhal Cascais, Portugal Review

April 13, 2017
Martinhal Cascais review

When you hear the word ‘Portugal’, what do you think?

Until a couple of weeks ago I had no strong feelings about the country. In my mind, the mind of one who is not the most geographically inclined it seems, I just thought it was the ‘bit next to Spain that’s probably fairly similar’. It was when I was repeatedly told to eat all those custard tarts that I thought I might be faced with something other than sangria and jamón.

Why yes, all my country references relate to foods. Apart from American references, they relate to TV shows. If you’re more cerebral than me, check out the best places to visit in Portugal here.

My Portugese itinerary was three nights long: two in Cascais, a coastal resort 20 minutes from Lisbon, and one in the capital itself. Both locations would be family friendly resorts from the boutique Martinhal hotel brand.

Getting the boring logistics out of the way, it is mega easy to get to Portugal. I hopped on a TAP Portugal flight from Heathrow (from £98 return), and two hours later we’d landed in Lisbon. Rush hour meant the journey out to Cascais took a little longer than expected, but before long we’d arrived in the gorgeous seaside town, ready to experience what Martinhal had to offer.

Martinhal Cascais review Martinhal Cascais review Martinhal are a small chain of hotels in Portugal that are not only geared towards the kids having a good time, but the grown-ups too. All four resorts quite rightly boast five stars, and pair high-quality luxury holiday experiences with a brilliant class of family friendliness.

They had me at five stars: I was ready to get stuck in.

The hotel in Cascais very much has a letting the outside in-kind of vibe. The landscaped gardens fluidly translate into the wooden-clad, scandi-inspired rooms, and the indoor/outdoor pool almost becomes part of the vista. The entire property feels airy and bright, and the thing I was struck with during my visit was just how light the atmosphere is. And weirdly, it’s the best smelling hotel I’ve ever visited.

Martinhal Cascais review Martinhal Cascais review

I stayed in room 225 which was a decent walk along an Overlook Hotel-style coridoor: my digs consists of the hugest bed (the size of which I’ve only ever seen previously in Bangkok), a seating area, a huge desk and fold-away bunk beds. I was travelling solo so these stayed up and I spread myself out.

My room overlooked one of the two golf courses the resort is nestled between. Despite not being a fan of golf it was surprisingly peaceful to watch over the green as golfers worked on their putt, though I did shake my head at those insisting on golfing through the driving rain we experienced on the Friday

Martinhal are great at the little touches. I was greeted in my room with chocolates and local port, and the room had everything I could need. Plug adaptors were provided when asked – I’d left mine at home – and the staff were very accommodating when I locked what felt like everything I owned in my in-room safe. Whoops!

Martinhal Cascais review

Courteous and friendly staff were a trend throughout the hotel, erring on the side of distantly professional rather than over-bearing.  Food was also an absolute treat, with some of the best steak I’ve ever eaten served in the traditional Portugese O Terraço restaurant. Unsurprisingly, seafood also featured heavily, with the hugest prawns and delicious huge shrimp served at the lunchtime buffet – à la carte was also available. The desserts were beautifully presented and delicious, and yes: I did sample one or two (or sixteen) of their Portugese tarts!

The breakfast buffet – one of the best parts of a hotel stay, am I right? – was also fantastic, and I loaded myself up with bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and hash browns each an every morning. You can’t start your day at a breakfast buffet without a hash brown, in my experience.

Martinhal Cascais review

Despite travelling without my own children I didn’t notice anyone else’s creating havoc in the hotel. I put this down to the fantastic kid’s facilities: not only are the bedrooms completely geared towards smaller guests but you’ll also find a stellar kid’s club, kid’s pool, trampoline, entertainment and special menu. This is something I’ve seen at other child-friendly holiday resorts like Mark Warner; if you make the children feel welcome and comfortable, they relax and enjoy themselves. For this reason I really can’t wait to bring Elfie and Hux back here… I know they’d feel like valued guests, just as the grown-ups at Martinhal do.

Martinhal Cascais review

As part of my trip I was at Cascais to take part in the Martinhal Luxury Family Brand Event, a one-day Marketing summit comprising of business owners, bloggers and Marketeers from all over the world. Here, it was incredibly inspiring to here ex-City boss Chitra Stern talk frankly about her journey with her husband to found the Martinhal brand. As parents of four themselves, they’re clearly dedicated to creating really special holiday experiences for their customers and children. Her passion for all things luxury really shone through, and from that she really has created something unique in her hotels.

Martinhal Cascais review Martinhal Cascais review

Martinhal is a quick ten minute drive away from the fishing town of Casais, and I think the sheer beauty of the local area was one of the most surprising things to me about Portugal. The country is beautiful, absolutely stunning: the best combination of natural beauty and glorious history. On the day we toured Cascais the wind was blowing a gale and we were at a chilly 12 degrees, but I can just imagine how wonderful this town and its sandy beaches are in the summer sunshine.
Martinhal Cascais review Martinhal Cascais review

The verdict? If you want quiet luxury and happy children alongside high-quality facilities and a stunning local area, you’d be hard pushed to find a better holiday than Martinhal Cascais. It’s the perfect spot to explore the beauty of Cascais, and is well-placed to retreat to after a couple of days in busy Lisbon.

I loved it.

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17 Comments

  • Reply Slummy single mummy April 13, 2017 at 10:13 am

    I’ve never been before, so I’m not sure what I’d think of – ‘that bit attached to Spain’?? I love the look of this though – those beach picture look a lot like some I took recently at Woolacombe!

    • Reply alice April 16, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      I would so totally recommend it Jo, loved it so much! x

  • Reply Pen April 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    The hotel looks amazing. I really like Portugal and you’re right, we tend to think if it as Spain’s little sister until we get there and realise that the language is actually quite different (i.e. Speaking Spanish doesn’t mean you can understand Portuguese). I loved Lisbon. Did you get to Sintra? It is a fairytale like castle on the top of a mountain in a village just outside Lisbon. Pen x

    • Reply alice April 16, 2017 at 11:30 pm

      I didn’t get to Sintra but I heard great things about it – I couldn’t get over just how stunning the whole country was. Lisbon was like an amalgamation of my favourite parts of Paris and Barcelona. Loved it! x

  • Reply Gill Crawshaw April 13, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Oh MY! You had me at the free port. This looks divine – and those children’s facilities look amazing. Anywhere that caters for both children and parents in such a luxurious way sounds like a big winner to me x

    • Reply alice April 16, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      I’ve saved the port for a special occasion!! I reckon Easter Monday must be it…

  • Reply Alison April 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Isn’t it amazing? Loved reading your review Alice and I chuckled at your safe experience – we did exactly the same and the lovely guy on reception who helped us said he has to do it for multiple people every day ????

  • Reply Alison April 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Isn’t it amazing? Loved reading your review Alice and I chuckled at your safe experience – we did exactly the same and the lovely guy on reception who helped us said he has to do it for multiple people every day ????

    • Reply alice April 16, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Ahh so glad it wasn’t just me!! It was the MOST complicated safe, wasn’t it?!

  • Reply Molly April 13, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    You won me over at the bathroom picture, quite frankly! I’ve never been to Portugal but adding it to my list of places I need to visit after reading this. What a lovely looking place. And that pool! Aaaaaah xxx

    • Reply alice April 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm

      I tell you, it was a treat to have two sinks all to myself. One for morning, one for the evening ;)

  • Reply The Pramshed April 15, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Loved reading your review and watching your IG stories when you were there. I really need a holiday and some sunshine. Claire x

    • Reply alice April 16, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Thanks Claire! I’m with you on the sunshine, I’d love to go back to Portugal to experience some of that now it’s a bit warmer x

  • Reply sophia, milkdrunkdiary.com April 17, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Oh, thank you so much for posting as I plan to visit here. It’s on my baby bucket list! One question about TAP airlines – were they accommodating to children, can you bring a car seat and stroller on board?
    If you’re interested in Portugal, I’ve written about it on my blog also. Thanks x

  • Reply Katie Albury April 18, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Oh wow this place sounds fantastic! I can’t believe it’s so kid friendly too, it looks so cool. I haven’t been to Portugal in years (I remember the sea being bloody freezing though haha!) so it would be amazing to travel back there with the littles and not having to compromise on the venue, this place looks like a real gem! x

  • Reply Rachel April 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Looks beautiful. I’ve heard great things about Portugal. Will bookmark for when I’m next planning a long weekend away as it sounds great for a weekend x

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