Martinhal Cascais describes itself as a luxury family hotel in the upmarket Portuguese town of Cascais. We visited last weekend to attend a conference, and I stayed on for three days with Flea to explore the resort and surrounding area.
We aren’t strangers to Cascais, having been to the area in 2016, but it’s an area that definitely merits more than one visit. There are long, uncrowded beaches including the world-famous Guincho beach, which is a surfers’ paradise. We’ve also visited the Martinhal property in Quinta da Lago, on the Algarve.
Cascais itself is a pretty little seaside town, and the beach of Estoril provides warm, shallow waters that are perfect for padding with younger children.
If you’re in this part of Portugal, it’s definitely also worth a visit to the pretty old town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to quite the most bonkers castle I’ve ever seen.
The Martinhal Cascais hotel itself is only a 10-minute drive from the coast, but there’s plenty to explore without leaving.
From Flea’s point of view, the kids’ club here was the obvious attraction. Martinhal certainly takes the younger members of the family into account when building resorts, with a large kids club building with its own secure grounds. Inside, there’s a fully-staffed nursery, baby room and children’s play rooms, along with M Bar, a cafe where families can enjoy a leisurely coffee while the children play.
Outside is where the kids club comes into its own with a huge play area packed with things to keep your children entertained. Here’s Flea’s video guide to the hotel and kids’ club:
Flea tried out the football and basketball pitches, zip lines, swings, trampolines, climbing frame, air hockey and table football. During our visit, a roof was being built for the dedicated kids’ swimming pool here, making it an all-weather attraction.
The rest of the hotel is equally impressive.
There are three restaurants on-site, the best of which is certainly the large O Terraco, serving good quality buffet throughout the day. There’s also an Italian restaurant, and the M Bar cafe. We found the food to be excellent, with a good choice of items and an absence of the junk you’ll often find on kids menus.
Best of all, the restaurants have a children’s area, where bored children can go and play – supervised by a member of staff – while adults finish their meal.
The common areas are light and airy, with plenty of space for youngsters to run around and make friends. Downstairs from the lobby you’ll find a pool table, computer area and library, with books and games to borrow on rainy afternoons.
Our room was – to be honest – enormous, with large windows and modern design. The huge bed was ridiculously comfortable and Flea had a blast trying out the giant bath tub, with overhead disco lights.
There’s free, fast WiFi throughout the hotel, too, so watching Netflix wasn’t a problem. And if hotels aren’t quite your thing, or you need a bit more space, then there are 12 self-catering villas on site, too.
Martinhal offers a four-times daily transfer car into Cascais for guests, and there is a bike hire station – there’s a gorgeous cycle path that runs down to the beach and Guincho, which is pretty flat and manageable for children. You can also take horse riding lessons and golf lessons locally, if you’re feeling energetic.
Towards one end of the hotel you’ll find the Finisterra spa, which has its own indoor and outdoor pool, and a gym for hotel guests. There’s also a spa offering a range of treatments, including some tailored for younger guests.
Flea was quite beside herself at the idea of a mother/daughter massage and facial to celebrate Mother’s Day. We paid around €120 for both treatments and it was a lovely treat, but there are plenty of other options to choose from.
One area we didn’t get to see this weekend was the main outdoor pool, which is a large, lagoon style pool with grassed seating areas. This pool is only open from June to September, and was being overhauled during our visit. But it looks like a lovely space to spend a sunny afternoon.
It isn’t often achieved, but I think Martinhal Cascais might just have managed to combine luxury and family-friendly. What makes the difference really is the staff, who don’t look at children with the disdain you’ll often find in high-end hotels. Every member of staff we met was really happy to answer questions and patient with the children racing around them.
For my money, the only thing I think the hotel is lacking is a small shop – if you’ve arrived for a four day stay and realised you don’t have a brush *cough* or you run out of sunscreen, the nearest shop is a 30 minute round-trip by car. It would be nice to have a small amenity shop on-site to avoid needing to leave for essentials, I think.
Have you visited a Martinhal property? I’d love to hear what you thought!
We were invited to stay at Martinhal Cascais as guests of Martinhal. Double rooms at the hotel start at €219 including breakfast.
For more information, see https://www.martinhal.com/cascais/en/