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By Kate Parsons, Head of Bookings

Our Head of Bookings, Kate Parsons, has just returned from a fun-packed long weekend away in Lisbon and Cascais with her son, staying in a trio of family-friendly i-escape properties along the way. Read on to hear about their adventures.

I’ve always loved Portugal, and the beauty of a Lisbon+Cascais combo is that you can get a lovely taste of city and coast in one easy short break, staying 2-3 nights in each. They’re only a 40-minute train ride apart, and flights to Lisbon are plentiful and affordable. 9-year-old Jori, my youngest, and I actually checked out two family-friendly options in Lisbon – one hotel, and one with apartments – so that you can take your pick.


Stop 1: Onyria Marinha Boutique Hotel

On arrival in Lisbon we headed straight down to Cascais on the train – a relaxed 40-minute journey. We then had an easy 5-minute cab ride to Onyria Marinha Boutique Hotel.

The hotel has recently been taken over by Onyria and looks great with lots of wood and glass. The grounds are big and well-manicured, and the pools look fabulous. Rooms are enormous! Ours was super spacious and modern with wooden accents, high ceilings, an enormous bathroom with his and hers sinks, and a wall of sliding glass doors leading to a sun-trap balcony. There’s a very professional team in place (I even got a personalised bamboo toothbrush!). It was quite quiet while we were there, a mix of a few young families, older guests and golfers.

There’s a heated outdoor pool by the kids’ club, and another in the spa area (which looks great although there’s an extra charge to use this) plus the stunning Atlantic pool which is unheated. Other fun kids aspects include trampolines and a super playground, plus the basement marine-themed kids’ club which has been well thought through and offers lots of engaging toys, games and activities. Jori loved the breakfast in particular as they have a juicer for smoothies and, best of all, a pancake machine!

We did a bit of exploring in Cascais – a former fishing village now considered Lisbon’s Riviera – where we tried the ice cream place, Santini, supposedly the best in the world, and went to the little town beach Praia da Rainha, finishing up with a fun Mexican meal at Malacopa Taco Bar.

Plan your stay in Cascais

  • With a choice of pools, a spa and marine-themed kids club, Onyria Marinha Boutique Hotel has huge rooms and plenty of space for all the family in its private estate, just 5 minutes out of town. Rooms from £148 per night.
  • If you prefer to stay in chic Cascais itself, grand dame Hotel Albatroz has a lovely courtyard pool and terraced bar, alluring rooms and a restaurant with views, surrounded by beach and sea. Rooms from £150 per night.


Stop 2: The Lumiares

We then took the train back to Lisbon and on to simply stunning aparthotel The Lumiares, in the central Baixa district. It’s slap bang in the middle of all the tourist melee but feels very serene, grown up and elegant with beautiful contemporary décor created by an all-Portuguese array of artisans. It’s great for families with older kids as the two-bed apartments are super spacious with TVs in all the rooms, SMEG appliances in the kitchen and lovely bathrooms.  Our room was in a soothing modern rustic style, featuring swoon-worthy Portuguese hangings and cushions.

Lumi, the rooftop restaurant, gives you glorious views at breakfast; we tucked in to a big buffet spread of pastries, pasteis de nata, fruit and yoghurt. I opted for an omelette with a side of avocado, while Jori had pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup. Their watchword is great attention to detail as exemplified by the complimentary mini bar, free drink at the rooftop restaurant, lots of pre-arrival communications, and you can WhatsApp them anytime. They also have a small spa and gym for those able to take a break from the family.

Stop 3: Martinhal Chiado Lisbon

Ever-popular Martinhal Lisbon Chiado was our last stop: a great place for families with younger kids due to their excellent kids’ club and wrap-around childcare plus the funky spacious apartments, which feel suitable for families without compromising on style. Ours was fresh and bright white with pops of colour, the bedrooms were generous and the living space very comfy with cork tables and cosy sofas. They have a small cafe/restaurant with a gin bar, and the staff were lovely. They really know how to look after families, and were even kind enough to give us breakfast boxes as we had to leave at 5am!

It’s perfect for those who have tiny tots and want to leave them in the care of a responsible grown up for a bit whilst they go out and enjoy some of Lisbon’s thriving food scene; pedestrianised Chiado is very central for all sights and sounds. The Time Out Market is only a few minutes’ walk away where we had a fun lunch. We went all the way up to Alfama on the train, and tried the Pop Cereal Cafe – both were a big hit with Jori!

Plan your stay in Lisbon

  • A beautifully restored 18th-century palace in lively Bairro Alto, The Lumiares has stylish and impeccable apartments, and a rooftop restaurant with a kids menu. Rooms from £291 per night.
  • Family-focused hotel Martinhal Lisbon Chiado has an excellent kids club and creche with a pyjama club in the evenings, and an on-site cafe. Rooms from £170 per night.