Martinal Family Resort & Spa - Portugal
As some of you may have seen a couple of weeks ago I went on holiday to Portugal for two weeks, I apologise now for the holiday spam but when you fall in love with a county as much a I did you just want to share with friends and followers, and lets be honest, who doesn't look better with a tan!
The first part of our holiday we stayed with two of our close friends in their family villa in Lagos. It is a really lovely part of Portugal. We also found a little Airbnb in a private location which was super. Lagos has some lovely little shops and restaurants but to be totally honest, we spent a lot of the time in the villa chilling. We knew the second week of the holidays would be alot more action packed and have lots of beaches to visit so we made sure the first week was nice and relaxing.
After a week with friends and feeling chilled we were excited to spend the rest of the holiday at Martinal Resort we packed up and drove the 30 minutes to the resort. It takes around an hour from the airport, you can hire cars or the resort can also help organise airport transfers for you. As soon as we arrived in to the Martinal resort we couldn't hide our excitement, the place was huge and beautifully kept. It is actually situated in the Costa Vicentina Natural park and we couldn't wait to spend some time here.
First of all got rid of our hire car in the car park and made our way to reception where we were greeted by the lovely staff that couldn't do enough for us. Straight away they spoke to Savannah and welcomed her to the resort and asked her if she was excited, then got us all drinks including hubby some port and Savannah an orange juice and a branded goody bag with a ball and sun hat in, which she put on straight away. This was fab as kept her occupied while we sorted the rooms and had a chat about what we could get up to over the next few days.
The double room with single bed for savannah we had for our stay was situated just behind the reception and under the restaurant. This was perfect positioning for us especially with having Savannah, it meant we really didn't have far to go at any time. The room was designed for kids and parents to be able to relax and rewind, like everything else in the resort the room had been really thought about and as soon as we arrived we didn't have to go around the room to do a kiddy safety check like other places and put things away in case savannah broke them or hurt herself on the objects, it was all done for you.
The best part about the room was this view, this was the exact view from our window over looking the beautiful Martinal beach. Just below these bushes is also the swimming pool so Savannah loved getting up in the morning and looking out and seeing all the boats and early morning swimmers, whist we had a cheeky lay in.
The resort also supplied dressing gowns and slippers which was usual for a five star but what I wasn't expecting was that they supplied a mini dressing gown for Savannah which was super cute and a great touch. The room also had two sun loungers so a couple of times when it was to hot for her Savannah would play on the decking which is covered and I would do some cheeky sunbathing with my book and boobies out. This was incredibly embarrassing when a man having his lunch looked over the balcony from the restaurant to see me laying there with all my white bits on show. I didn't do the again haha!
As mentioned the breakfast was served in the restaurant above us,so we would chuck on some clothes and head up each morning, the food choices were incredible it was all help yourself buffet which meant the three of us all had something we liked. From cereals, to fry ups, mueslis, porridge, choco milks and the eggs station we really were spoilt for choice. I was on holiday and having to wear a swim costume in public so obviously went for the full fry up even morning! The other great thing about the breakfast was once savannah had eaten she could pop over to the kids section and play with the other children or as she liked to do talk to the staff. There are games, drawings and staff there to assist which meant the parents could finish there breakfast in a little bit of peace.
There are four pools situated around the resort, one was near the beach which seems to get very busy as is very popular, I think because of the views and the pool being so close to the beach. We went here the first day but I felt there was too much going on here for me. On the second day we headed to the pool that is next to the gym, this pool was perfection for us and suited exactly what we needed. The pool is half inside and half outside which is perfect as when Savannah had spent too much time in the sun we would just swim inside. This pool is like a hidden gem. I think a lot of people think it will be busy as in the mornings they hold baby swim classes here so I guess people stay clear. It also has a play helicopter and swings in the corner so I could lay on my lounger and tan whilst watching Savannah on the slide or in the pool, this was pure heaven.
Lunch for us on holiday isn't really a big thing, we tend to eat a big breakfast and then a early dinner and will then have space for a dessert. On the first day we had paninis and chips around the pool and regretted this, as then weren't as hungry for dinner and it ended up being a little bit of a waste of money. The lunches are also a little pricey but you can either buy some bits to tied you over at the shop on site or there are other shops out and about if you have a car.
These come in abundance if you are like my hubby and have ants in your pants you will be glad to know there is far too much for you to possibly do, which means you will always have options to be busy or like me lay on the sun lunger and not get up.
The activities we loved the most had to be the Dolphin watching, the resort organised for us to go out of the resort for the day and hop on to a boat with other guests and head out to sea. It took us quiet far out and was a little choppy and I started to doubt that we would see any, then all of a sudden a lady on the boat jumped up ad she had spotted one. We all ran to the front of the boat and there must have been about twenty to twenty five dolphins just swimming and jumping around us. I was crying as I just find them so beautiful. Savannah couldn't stop making a squealing noise saying she was talking to them, which I thought was super sweet. The trip seemed to go so fast as we were just having the time of our lives but we loved every minute and will have to return to visit Donald & Derek the dolphins again!
Fairy Treasure hunt
This was savannah joint favourite thing to do on holiday and she hasn't stopped talking about it since being home to anyone that would like to hear. All around the resort you have really beautiful natural trees and flowers that have been planted to make it feel and look beautiful. In some of the very special trees some fairies have decided to set up homes and if your very lucky and you can look really hard you will find their doors, mark their names down on a sheet (given to you at reception) and if you complete the sheet can get a certificate with your child's name on and a toy, (this is given to you in the creche area). Believe me, this isn't the easiest and I even had to go off and search on my own whilst Savannah was at crèche so we could finish the list. I'm glad to say we did eventually and she loved the whole treasure hunt you can even purchase one of the doors in the shop!
Since the moment I knew we were going to the resort I wanted to Paddle board and maybe windsurf as I used to be ok at it when I was younger and I thought it would be good to see how I was now. Unfortunately, the day we wanted to paddle board the water was to rough so we decided to go Kayaking instead as a family. This sounded like a great idea until we were being lead down to the sea by very handsome instructor and Savannah was screaming at the top off her lungs that she didn't want to go .The whole group were watching as I told her she would enjoy it and there was no choice. For about five minutes (which felt like hours ) Savannah cried her eyes out and then suddenly stopped. As I had suspected, she loved every minute of it until we headed back to the beach at the end as she didn't want to get off, so she screamed even more! I really think the guests on the beach must have thought she had cried the whole hour! Since being back all she has talked about is how she went kayaking and when can we go again! I am not sure I can do it in the cold in London but next time we are abroad I will have a go as it's just beautiful being away from everyone and phones!
Kids club & play areas
Now this is where Martinal just gets it so right, every part of the resort is functioned to make the holiday seem easy and make you not have to think! As parents this is a huge plus for us and is exactly why we would book here again.The kids club is great it has everything you would need, happy staff, clean toys, great time slots and most of all Savannah absolutely love it. She would sit outside before it opened and keep going up to the door wanting to go in! Savannah went three days in all where she got to enjoy water play, singing, dancing, play time and they also provide snacks. The Play area just outside of the creche is amazing , the floor is all soft rubber and there are four play tree houses with two trampolines dug into the floor, and the cherry on top is the bouncy castle. This area was perfect for just before and during dinner you can pop here and watch the foxes and clowns do a little show let the kids run around whilst you get to throw back a few Pina Coladas in the last of the sun.
Bars and Restaurants
As Dunas, O'Terraco, OzGambozinos and M-Bar
The resort isn't all inclusive which I actually love as it means you don't just stick to the same restaurant every evening. You can choose from four different restaurants including our favourites Oz Gambozinos and the M-bar these are made to make your meal times relaxed and comfortable. Oz Gambozinos offers a children's buffet which is around ten euros and they can eat as much as they like .They also have a kids section with a face painter and activities so you can eat whilst they play. The M bar is where we spent a lot of time they have a great VW van inside which the kids can eat or play in, this is brilliant and really well thought about. Savannah absolutely loved it here and made some really lovely friends whilst we chatted and drank with their parents. That's what is lovely about this resort everyone seems nice and really nice to chat with and just enjoy their holidays, we met some really lovely couples with kids over our stay and even really amazing family that were from Texas. Next door to the bar is the ice cream parlour which we kept visiting, you really couldn't go home without a stop here waffles, ice cream, whipped cream and sprinkles what more could you ask for! The restaurant all serve fresh baby food which I thought was super, they are also always amazing and very helpful if you need anything warmed up or heated.
Now this was a bit of me, Savannah was in the creche until 12.30, hubby was at the adult only huts sunbathing and listening to some football probably, so I took my chance and slipped off to be pampered. The Finisterra Spa is situated just back for the creche which means if they need you at any point you are very close. This made me feel totally at ease and as soon as you walk to the Spa you are hit with beautiful smells and the calmness takes over. I had a wonderful massage here and then after the massage I was allowed to use the steam room, jacuzzi and spa area to chill. I didn't tell hubby that my massage wasn't for the whole time and I managed to sit here in the sun with a bowl of sultanas some herbal tea and finish my book.
Tips for Martinal
Make sure you plan as then the week will run smoothly and your be able to sit back and enjoy.The best thing we did was book all the restaurants and crèche slots we needed straight away and I know that in the busier months this is a must.
Take a buggy - Savannah doesn't use one anymore and hasn't for a while but we took one for the evenings which was fab the whole resort is huge so for little legs it's a must and even if you are forgetful like me you can always hire one.
Make sure to book a creche babysitter one evening as it's your holiday as much as the children and I was really anti it before I went but now will sign her up every holiday to one. You really do need a break just as much as the kids do.
In the rooms are white beach bags so don't worry about packing a fancy one that you have just spent far to much money on, save the money and treat yourself to a massage or a few more pina colada's!
The shop has everything but isn't super cheap, so make sure to leave the children with another adult whilst you pop in or your come out with a fairy door, fridge magnets and three books as I did. The shop is so well occupied that if you have left anything at home don't worry at all from bottle, to baby food they have you covered.
Make sure to go out of your comfort zone and maybe try something new such as paddle boarding or windsurfing I really believe you won't regret it.
All of the resort is covered by the bills going back to your room so just don't get to tipsy and forget the as on your departure you may not like the bill you are given.
Here are just a few off the extra activities you can get up to at the Resort.
Fairy treasure hunt
Outdoor splash and kids fun pools
Soft play area for toddlers (only outside of Kids’ club sessions)
Our overall thoughts on the resort were we all absolutely loved it, we honestly couldn't have had a better time, Savannnah's favourite was the fairies ,mine the kayaking and hubby being with me obviously ha ha! (I think he's was actually the food) we played saw, sang, danced and tanned whilst making incredible memories.
Thank you so much Martinal we really did love the resort.
The Savvy Mummy xxx