When I asked my mother where she took me on holiday abroad when I was 18 months old the short answer was that she didn’t. Back in the Eighties it was the chilly waters of Wales, Scotland and Cornwall that my little feet paddled and beach attire was usually a chunky knit jumper, raincoat and shorts. With the British summer being the usual let down and hubby getting some time off work I set to investigating a family friendly yet chic resort that was only a short haul flight away. Hello the Martinhal resort in Sagres, Portugal. Aimed at parents who don’t want to comprise on style and comfort but still want to keep the kiddiwinks happy the Martinhal is only 2 years old and quite a find.
After a short hop to the Algarve we arrived at the resort by noon and this is what we found…
I had booked us into a Garden House flat which meant Little A would sleep in our room but we would have a separate sitting room to chill out in, kitchen to prepare the odd lunch and a separate WC so we didn’t disturb the sleeping boy. One of the big bonuses is the amount of baby kit they can provide so apart from clothes you can travel relatively hassle free. You can pre-book a whole host of things from safety gates, baby baths and travel cots. We took our buggy but asked for a cot for Little A which was up and ready when we arrived. It comes as no surprise to discover that the woman behind the Martinhal is a mother of four.
Each restaurant has a children’s play area so whilst you and the hubby enjoy a glass of something you can watch your little one bouncing on a trampoline or digging in a sandpit. The aesthetic of the resort has been carefully considered and each restaurant retains a stylish grown up feel although kiddie friendly – even the highchairs were Nano bloom ones. We booked a babysitter for 3 evenings and stayed in the rest. If you opt for a house with kitchen facilities then you can get the essentials from the onsite Mercado and the village restaurant also does a good take-away pizza.
For kids over 2 there are really good kids’ clubs and there is a crèche for smaller ones which we booked Little A into. This proved to be a somewhat naïve venture given that I don’t put him in a crèche/nursery at home. Luckily the staff gave us a call to let us know he was missing us a little too much and we were able to set up some 1 on 1 babysitting instead. Little A was much happier with this plan and it meant that hubby and I still had a couple of hours of us time.
I wasn’t sure a holiday with a toddler would ever be classed as relaxing but I think the key is to go somewhere relatively child friendly and so you don’t have the stress of bothering honeymooners with your toddler’s tantrums.
The long and short of it is, if you want 5 star romantic luxury and long-haul leave your little one at home with the grandparents. If you want a break solely centred on your kids book Eurodisney. If you want a holiday where there is something for everyone book the Martinhal.
Little A’s faves….
The helicopter in the playground, home-made fish fingers at As Dunas restaurant, the pool slide and swimming with Daddy.
Hour long massage at the Finisterra Spa, champagne overlooking the beach at O Terraco, the garden pool and snoozing alongside a towel wrapped Little A on the poolside bean bags.
All in the detail:
Since Little A’s arrival I have embraced booking holidays through tour operators. It certainly proves to be more time efficient and worry free.
We booked through the very helpful people at Original Travel:
click here for website
We booked a one bedroom Garden House and I would probable advise you request a ground floor one one if taking a buggy. For a bit more luxury I would book an Ocean House as these command a lovely view of the bay but you are still close to the village centre of the resort.
There are 3 restaurants and 5 swimming pool areas – 2 of which are very toddler friendly and I felt safe enough to lounge on a bean bag next to the pool whilst watching Little A paddle around.
We went in the last week of June and had clear skies and a gentle breeze.
For more info check out the Martinhal website – click here