At February half term we had a brilliant 4 days in Lisbon as guests of Martinhal Family Resorts and Apartments. Compelled to return to Portugal at February Half Term after a fantastic February trip in 2016 to Martinhal Sagres and Quinta , together with very cheap flights (£250 return for 5 with Easyjet) we were not disappointed with Martinhal Cascais.
When we arrived at Martinhal Cascais we had already spent an amazing two nights at Martinhal Chiado in the centre of Lisbon so had become accustomed to the wonderful service and beautiful surroundings you find yourselves in when you book a Martinhal holiday.
We took an arranged transfer between the two properties (recommended as it is only 30 minutes and the cars have car seats for the kids and ours even had a DVD player – Frozen once again!) so we arrived by 11am giving us the rest of the day to relax.
Martinhal Cascais is on the outskirts of Lisbon and is a new addition to the Martinhal portfolio which means that if you’re a fan of the original in Sagres you will notice some similarities, and things are changing every day to bring the property into line with the Martinhal brand.
We were greeted warmly and kindly by the reception team and the first thing I noticed was the stunning reception area. The entrance space is huge, white and very stylish, I wanted to dive into that couch, and don’t tell anyone but the kids actually did!
The first thing the kids noticed about Martinhal Cascais was the huge playground just opposite reception, and in front of the equally huge kids club! It was literally bags into our room and a “Mummy can we go and play in the playground now please Mummy, can we???”. I don’t blame them though do you? Loads for them to do and at the time of year we visited. It was empty!
The kids club itself at Martinhal Cascais, is in what was once the golfers club house when this was a golfing hotel. You can see the building on the middle image above. The building houses the M Bar (for snacks and drinks) and three kids clubs in Peak Season (only one was operational for all the kids in February as that was all that was needed). One for babies, for 1- 5 year olds and a club for the older kids. It was light and bright and airy and absolutely full of things to do. This was where the evening pyjama club would be but we didn’t need to use it.
What was also quite special during our stay, and what I felt went over and above the call of duty was when we hadn’t booked the kids into kids club and were lying out in the playground with them, and one of the staff came out and asked if she could take them to play football. She didn’t need to do it but I was really impressed with the gesture. The kids loved it too and I got chance to read some of my book!
Our room at Martinhal Cascais for the two nights was in the main hotel on the ground floor. Our room faced inwards to the nicely landscaped gardens and we had a nice patio area to sit on outside too.
There are a variety of rooms in the hotel. Simple doubles with ample room for a travel cot. Double rooms with pull down bunk beds, which can be pushed back up for more space when not in use. Suites with a clever screen between the two ‘areas’ to help keep sleeping areas separate, interconnecting rooms as we had, and two bedroom villas in the grounds.
All an equally decent size with lovely bathrooms and lots of space for the kids. The pull down bunk beds are a fantastic idea. You can find these in Chiado and Sagres too.
We loved the huge baths in ours! You could easily fit 3 kids in and me! Tip: The Villas don’t have baths, just showers but a baby bath can be provided on request.
Martinhal Cascais has three swimming pools, one large pool that opens between June and September, a pool right next to the Kids Club building which is being renovated this month (March) and due to open before Easter which will be heated, and the spa pool which was open when we visited in February.
When shown the spa pool the staff told us that the outside pool wasn’t heated and would be too cold to use: that didn’t however put mine of from using it and just running back into the warmth of the hot tub afterwards!
This pool got a little busy towards the end of the day when all the kids had come back from whatever they were doing that day but it was a quiet time of year, so not too bad, and as you can see one time we had it all to ourselves!
A lovely added touch of the spa element to the hotel is robes and flip flops. Mine loved them! Teasing me when I wanted to take a lovely photo of them all!
I also enjoyed a lovely relaxing massage in the Finisterra Spa and it was beautifully designed, peaceful and quiet. I just wish I’d had longer to dwell in the relaxation room.
As we were only at Martinhal Cascais for two nights we weren’t very adventurous, but we did get the free shuttle down to the centre one morning and have a paddle on the beach. There are bikes you can hire from reception too and quiet roads/cycle paths to cycle along if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous.
For me the beach wasn’t stunning, I think the stunning and wild beaches are the other way, and if I was going to stay in Cascais for a week or so, I think I’d hire a car and do some exploring up the coast. That being said the girls threw off their trainers (Bobux if you love them as much as we do!), hitched up their dresses and made sure they got in for paddle! We enjoyed an ice cream in town and a wander through the town before heading back to Martinhal for an afternoon in the playground and the pool.
We stayed at Martinhal Cascais on a half board basis and that entitled us to breakfast, and lunch or dinner. I can highly recommend you use the half board for dinner as the food in O Terraco is lovely, you get a 3 course meal, and the kids club staff have an area set aside that your kids can play in whilst you are waiting for your food. Ours ended up having their main meal with our starter and then happily enjoyed playing, colouring and laughing whilst we ate the rest of our meal. It was possibly a little noisy to have the kids in the same room as this more formal restaurant rather than the more relaxed Italian next door, but this is a family friendly hotel after all.
The food menu for the kids is excellent and all allergies and dietary requirements are more than catered for with menus marked up as free from gluten, dairy etc. On behalf of a guest who I know is visiting I also asked about types of milk and they advised that they get in various types of soya, almond, and lactose free milks every day. Just mention it to them when booking, or before you visit.
We whiled away some happy hours over dinner whilst the kids were happy before retiring to bed.
On our last day the staff at breakfast were kind to us and opened the buffet at just before 7, ahead of their usual 7.30am opening time so we could eat breakfast before heading back to the airport. A breakfast hamper is however also available. Apologies were provided ahead of time for hot food possibly not being available until 7.30am but in fact they made sure there was, and the kids enjoyed some wonderful Portuguese pancakes before we left. Breakfast basically includes anything you could think of, and I think its always sign of a luxurious breakfast when you spot that champagne is available, even if you decide not to have any.
We had a wonderful relaxing stay at Martinhal Cascais and combined with Martinhal Chiado had a wonderful half term trip.
Martinhal Cascais isn’t far at all from the wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Centre of Sintra, we visited from Lisbon itself but you can definitely visit from Cascais. Here’s our video of our day out and an article on The Pena Palace in Sintra!
If you’d like to read more reviews of Martinhal Cascais you can read some here:
Martinhal Family Hotel in Cascais
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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.