Hotel Martinhal Sagres

Sagres, Algarve, Portugal Book from Book from £162 per night

Designer family hotel perched on the lower Algarve, with gorgeous sea views and an endless beach
Martinhal Sagres is like no other hotel on the Algarve. Forget golf, forget overdeveloped land and rammed beaches. This tasteful designer temple sits within the protected Costa Vicentina national park on the cliffy western rather than flat southern coast - in fact, on the very bottom left-hand corner of Portugal, sticking out into the Atlantic. The location is fabulously unspoilt, wild and rugged - a rather bold setting for such a stunning contemporary hotel. But it works: this is a magical combination of luxury and nature.

There are 37 chic rooms, some in the main building, others in a cluster of private wood-clad blocks beside it, all with views of the impossibly blue ocean. Surrounding them are dozens of self-catering villas for 4-6, some with private pools (see our separate review). The resort has 3 excellent restaurants serving variations on Portuguese food, 4 beautiful swimming pools surrounded by teak decking and lime-green bean bags, and a spa with sea-inspired treatments. Everything is contemporary in style, and the place is part-owned by the people behind the former Luxury Family Hotels group, the UK collection of smart country crash-pads for stressed yummy mummies. The same thoughtfulness, flair for design and eye for detail has been applied here, but in an authentic, thoroughly modern, Portuguese setting.

Highs

  • A paradise for kids, with several play areas, imaginative kids clubs, 4 heated pools and activities for every age group, including a sweet fairy-door trail
  • But ticks all the parent boxes, too! A spa for well-deserving mums, windsurfing and deep-sea fishing for dads; or just lie in the sun
  • The biggest breakfast buffet imaginable - we loved the fresh detox juices and creamy scrambled eggs with coriander and chives
  • Gorgeous interiors - a mix of Portuguese materials (local Monchique stone, cork from nearby forests) and funky extras (iPod docks, Mongolian beanbags)
  • Even though the resort was almost full when we stayed, it really didn't feel crowded. There's masses of space and a calm vibe

Lows

  • Part of a resort, with dozens of villas sprinkled about. Stylish and low-rise though they are, it feels a bit suburban (and not very i-escape), but the upside is a wealth of facilities, including tennis courts
  • You need to book the restaurants in advance in the evenings
  • Very patchy WiFi
  • Service is mixed - staff are lovely, but often too laid-back; our waiter couldn't tell us anything about the wines
  • Given the exposed location it can be very windy, so not ideal for beach sunbathing, and the surrounding land is bleak in places

Best time to go

April, May, June and September are probably the best months to go when it's quieter and there is less chance of it being windy. July and August are the windiest months but the wind means it's cooler than the rest of the Algarve in mid summer. Note that a couple of the restaurants are seasonal.

Our top tips

Book a Beach Room. These are supremely stylish private capsules, each with their own views of the ocean (it's worth paying the small supplement for the full sea view) and gorgeous teak-decked areas. And make sure you eat out at the Zavial, just around the coast. A plate of fresh sardines, a Sagres beer and a mound of chips overlooking the bay... heaven.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Family
Great Outdoors
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 37 rooms
  • 3 restaurants and cafe-bars (open daily in season)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

The hotel colour scheme is a dreamy, sea-friendly palette of turquoises and baby blues - from the carpets to the stripy woollen throws and cushions on the beds. There are lots of funky touches, including huge Mongolian beanbags on the floor, oversized cream wicker lamps and giant round wooden hooks on the walls. Every room has sea views of some sort (you pay a bit more for the best ones), and bathrooms are spoiling with walk-in showers (some have tubs too), Voya toiletries, and bathrobes for padding down to the pool.

Attention to detail is impressive: there are flip-flops in both Medium and Large; Nespresso coffee machines; well-priced and delicious snacks in the minibar (eg roasted fig and salted almonds) plus free soft drinks; and iPod docks and electric blinds.

The rooms are in 2 locations: Terrace Rooms on the ground floor of the main hotel building, and Beach Rooms in their own separate wooden-clad clusters beside the hotel (4 per cluster). The 2 clusters nearest the cliff front contain a pair of top-of-the-range Beach Suites, each with super-private sun deck and split-level interiors that can connect to the adjacent Beach Room. We stayed in a Terrace Room and loved the sense of space, and relaxing on our slice of lawn, with sunloungers gazing out to sea.

The resort is also home to dozens of self-catering villas, clustered round about the hotel.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Cots Available
  • DVD player (on request)
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

There are 3 restaurants to choose between. Fine dining O Terraço, a smart venue on the first floor of the hotel, offers classic Portuguese dishes with a contemporary twist, using bountiful local produce. Perhaps sea urchins stuffed with scrambled eggs, or pork loin sautéed with clams and coriander. All is light but sophisticated and there's an impressive Portuguese-only wine list.

The more relaxed As Dunas is a stylish beach restaurant by the pool, which specialises in fish and seafood. We enjoyed our meal of fresh John Dory here. Os Gambozinos is a casual Italian restaurant in the Village Square, overlooking the playground. We liked the arancini, and the Sea and Farm Rigatoni, with clams, shrimps and fresh courgette, was very good. The service, however, was painfully slow.

Breakfast at O Terraço is slightly hectic but the buffet is amazing. We ate delicious fresh fruit - mangoes, local oranges, the sweetest pineapple and cherries - as well as a selection of cold cuts and cheeses including a divine local black pork (like Serrano ham or Prosciutto only nuttier). Finish on a high with pasteis de nata, the melt-in-the-mouth Portuguese custard tarts.

For a change of scene, try the surf-style M Bar which serves breakfasts, afternoon teas, and light lunches (Sushi or Bento box). Or the nearby pop-up grill 'The [email protected]', which serves delicious-smelling Josper chicken quarters and various sides. In the evening the bar is abuzz; we loved its 1970s VW camper van, for kids to play in.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Organic produce
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Laze by the pools on the Fatboy beanbags or comfy loungers. There's a bar by the main pool
  • Indulge in a sea-based spa treatment at the Finisterra Spa. We loved the sound of bladderwrack body glows, organic coral wraps and smoothing sand scrubs
  • Active types can try the wind-related activities on offer in the bay, from windsurfing to bodyboarding, parasailing to blokarting (land yachting)
  • Stroll along the fabulously unspoilt Martinhal Sagres beach (from which the hotel gets its name) to the fishing port of Sagres. It takes around 15 minutes and there isn’t very much to see once there, but the walk is lovely
  • There are, apparently, 12 other beaches within a 15-minute drive
  • Play tennis (there are 2 artificial grass courts) or try the new Padel tennis, a mix between squash and lawn tennis, with plastic bats
  • Hire mountain bikes from the hotel and cycle to the really windy side of the point that faces due west, straight out at the Atlantic: totally exhilarating
  • The hotel can arrange deep-sea fishing, riding, jeep safaris, nature walks, gourmet picnics and scuba diving
  • And yes, you can play golf if you must; the Martinhal has preferential rates and tee-time deals with 5 local courses, the nearest of which is just 10 minutes away at Parque de Floresta
  • Go on a boat trip to see dolphins, but remember sea sickness tablets if you're not a good sailor – the ocean can get pretty choppy
  • Visit the ruins of Henry the Navigator's fort, the Cape Canaveral of the 15th century

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling
  • Dolphin trips
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Kitesurfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Pool table
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Tennis coaching
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting
  • Yoga

Kids

The hotel welcomes children of all ages, and all extra beds and cots are free (including breakfast). You can book a pair of connecting rooms at reduced rates, or the Terrace Rooms can fit an extra bed and a cot - which makes a very competitively-priced option for a couple with 1 child and/or 1 baby who don't need lots of space. If you want more space (including a kitchen and living area), you might prefer to stay in one of the resort's villas instead, which are brilliantly kitted out for kids, and range up to 3 bedrooms.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

English-speaking babysitters available, reserve 24 hours in advance

Baby equipment:

Equipment is available to pre-book through the baby concierge.

  • Highchairs
  • Steriliser
  • Baby monitors
  • Stair gates
  • Pram/pushchair to borrow
  • Children's backpack
  • Baby bedding
  • Potty
  • Bottle warmers
  • Socket protectors
  • Door protectors
  • Baby baths

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Creche/Kid's Club:

There's a fully-staffed creche plus various clubs for kids of all ages: the Creche (ages 6-24 months), the Kids' Club (2-4), Fox Club (5-8), Explorers Club (9-12) and Adventure Club (12-16). Entrance to the first 2, for the youngest children, is included in the rates during the winter months. The last 3 are only open in school holidays, including half terms; and most are divided into 2 sessions, morning or afternoon - (see Rates for an idea of costs.

There's also the Blue Room: a video-game room and playspace for children aged 8 and above. The M Bar is great for kids and adults alike. Adults will love the chilled vibe, cocktails and live music, while the kids will be thrilled by the 1970s VW camper van booth, kids bar with games area, and the adjacent outdoor protected play area. And in the evenings (6-9pm M-F), drop your children off at the Kids Club for the Party Zone which offers fun and games including a mini-disco, dinner at Os Gambozinos restaurant and dressing up for 4-8 year olds, so parents can dine a deux.

Children's meals:

All the resort's restaurants have a Baby Menu for 4-12 month old babies, as well as a kids menu, and all have high chairs. Takeaway pizzas are available from Os Gambozinos, there's a pop-up grill for informal meals ('The [email protected]') and the M Bar contains a gelataria.

Kids Activities on site:

  • 4 swimming pools (all unfenced) including one with water toys
  • Finisterra Spa offers baby massage, plus dedicated treatments for children and teenagers
  • Children's cartoons/animated films in the Village Square in summer months
  • Children's playgrounds
  • Cycling tracks for tweens and teens in front of the As Dunas restaurant
  • Games consoles
  • Football academy
  • Tennis courts and kids' tennis academies

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Boat trips, and dolphin-watching safaris
  • Enjoy the beach or learn to surf or windsurf
  • Mountain biking trails nearby for older kids
  • Older children can take part in the Junior Lifeguard Course

Families Should Know:

There is a nurse on site 9am-6pm daily, and until 8pm in the summer months. The resort shop sells nappies and other baby items. There's a mobile phone signal everywhere in the resort.

Distances:

  • Airport: 1.5 hours (Faro)
  • Medical treatment: on site
  • Nearest shop: on site
Kid Friendly:

Location

Hotel Martinhal Sagres overlooks Martinhal beach and a small collection of islands. It is just round the south side of the point at the most south-westerly tip of Portugal, in the western Algarve.

By Air
Fly into Faro (115km) then hire a car.

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • Faro 115.0 km FAO
  • Lisbon 250.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 0.1 km
  • Shops 5.0 km
  • Restaurant 3.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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