Located in a suburb of Lisbon, Portugal, Martinhal Cascais Family Hotel has a breezy coastal vibe that appeals to a grown-up sense of style. The aesthetic of the family-focused Martinhal brand is best described as “sophisticated surf,” and its newest property is an ideal option for families looking for a luxury Portuguese vacation. With its airy, modern and sleek decor, it manages to balance a luxe atmosphere with an unstuffy, child-friendly vibe.
Martinhal Cascais Hotel has room, suite and villa options for families of all sizes. In the main building, there are 84 hotel rooms and suites, with connecting rooms available. Large, airy glass-walled bathrooms make the accommodations feel even bigger than they are.
I stayed in a king room, which would easily fit a baby crib. For larger families, suites have rollaway walls and bunk beds that fold up and down to allow for extra space when needed. The villas are a real draw as well, with 12 two-bedroom units available. The high ceilings in the living space make the room bright, and daily maid service prevents mom and dad from having to keep a clean house on holiday.
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Martinhal Cascais offers a Baby Concierge, and in the villas, this service really shows its worth. Parents can request whatever baby safety gear they need: gates, bottle sterilizers, potties and more. For any family traveling with small children, this is a true highlight.
The welcome pack given to every child on arrival is just the beginning of the family-centered amenities that Martinhal Cascais offers. Kids’ clubs are available for ages 6 months and up (there is an additional charge at certain times of the year). The kids’ club area is divided into different sections for different age groups, and it’s more than just babysitting. With age-appropriate activities offered for each (think art projects and puppet shows for the littles and organized surf outings for teens), it will be a high point of the children’s trip. There is also an in-room babysitting service for parents who would like to visit the museums, casino or restaurants in Cascais on their own.
The property’s three pools create three distinct areas to explore. The connected indoor/outdoor pool is in the main building; another sits the front of the property near the villas and the kids’ club. This also is where the signature Martinhal VW camper van is set up, adding a whimsical vibe to the hotel. And the Pool Hangout, open in summer, is the largest of all. A family could easily spend the whole day here, with tons of lounge chairs, a bar, splash fountain and pool toys for use.
For those who need a bit of quiet time away from all of this fun, a spa treatment at Finisterra Spa is great escape. They also have a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi and hot and cold therapy showers for all guests’ use.
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One of the highlights of Martinhal Cascais Family Hotel is the dining. With three restaurants on property, guests have a choice between casual and more formal fare. My favorite is the updated traditional Portuguese dining at O Terraço — chic, delicious and full of kids. The menu is filled with Portuguese seafood dishes, and it is best to be a little adventurous. Try the amazingly fresh offerings (or the bacalao, a Portuguese staple cooked in as many ways as there are days of the year). They have smaller versions of grown-up dishes for the modern child’s advanced palate, in addition to typical kid fare. O Terraco also has a supervised play section for children in the restaurant. M Bar, a casual surf bar, serves sandwiches and the like, and Os Gambozinos offers a casual Italian option.
With two championship courses nearby, Martinhal Cascais Family Hotel is ideal for avid golfers. However, the highlight of nearby activities is Guincho Beach, a 5- to 10-minute drive from the property (the hotel operates shuttles). Visitors can try out world-class Portuguese surfing, experiment with paddle boarding and body surfing, or just soak up the sun — Portugal has nearly 300 sun-filled days per year. Stunning views from high, rocky cliffs and a Michelin-starred restaurant in the area complete the perfect beach holiday.
Continue from Guincho Beach to the seaside town of Cascais, where you have a choice of many highly rated restaurants as well as the Casino Estoril (said to have influenced the James Bond series of books, and fun for an adult night out).
You could easily enjoy your entire holiday on the property with a jaunt into Cascais and some time at the beach, but Lisbon is just a 35-minute ride away. Don’t drive; the hotel provides a shuttle to the train stations for a pretty ride up the coast. A day trip to Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Center that includes a stunning castle and town, is also worth a family outing.
Editor’s Note: Adria received a media package to review Martinhal Cascais Family Hotel. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Adria Carey Perez.
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