Martinhal Cascais

near Cascais, Lisbon Coast, Portugal Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Brand-new, heaven-sent resort with stylish hotel rooms and self-catering villas, kids club, playground and pools, 10 minutes from Cascais
Portugal's aristocracy began decamping to the scenic Estoril Riviera for sunshine and play in the 19th century, hence the plethora of hunting lodges and crenellated mansions along this coast. Laid-back luxurious leisure is still the watchword at this brand-new (in 2016) family-friendly hotel set in the exclusive environs of Quinta da Marinha, a short drive westwards from Cascais, inland from the Atlantic. This is the latest incarnation from the successful Martinhal stable, whose winning formula of unparalleled facilities for families in a stylish resort-based setting has garnered universal praise since its first opening in 2010.

Such details mattered little to our overjoyed children who squealed with delight at the freeform lagoon-style swimming pools, and dashed about the playground complete with zip-wires, play structures, large trampoline and lawns. Face-painting and obstacle races in the Kids Club were followed by water play in the heated Clubhouse pools. Their highlight? Driving the camper-van to Africa with fellow intrepid explorers. Ours? Taking time for mealtimes and each other, while our offspring played in the supervised kids space beside both restaurants. There are wondrous beaches and coves nearby, much of the coastline is protected, and day trips to Lisbon, Cascais and Sintra are easily arranged. Luxury for families defined; one of our best ever vacations.


  • Beautifully designed site and sleek spacious rooms in both the hotel and villas
  • Stellar staff
  • Parent pampering in the excellent spa (family treatments available too; I really enjoyed our mother-and-daughter massage)
  • No need for a car as the hotel offers a shuttle service to Cascais station and beach, and can arrange transfers and taxis
  • Superb children's facilities include an excellent playground, kids club (weekly programmes for 2 age groups), bikes to hire, football and table tennis, kids menus and a choice of 6 pools (most heated)


  • There are only 12 self-catering villas, which get booked up quickly; note they do not have bathtubs, only showers
  • Tweens and teens would be less enamoured than the under 10s, but there are outdoorsy activities nearby and you can do day trips to Lisbon and Sintra
  • We found the WiFi only worked within the buildings
  • Having to leave
  • The new-found sense of entitlement your children will acquire here!

Best time to go

The hotel is open all year. The best months are May to September weatherwise. If you can avoid the school holidays, you'll find better availability and rates.

Our top tips

If you're coming with a baby or toddler, remember that a huge amount of gear is available to borrow so you can travel light (baby carriers, potties, even pushchairs). Do bring your swimming stuff - the pools are heated!

Great for...

  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 72 rooms, 12 villas
  • Two restaurants and 2 snack bars
  • 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
  • Bicycles Available
  • Terraced gardens, lawn, choice of lounge areas
  • Football pitch (tarmac)
  • Laundry service


72 luxurious Deluxe Rooms are set in a long 2-storey building facing the restaurants and spa, with lawns and reflecting pools between. All are decked out in warm wood, orange and green highlight colours and white leather-clad seating. Large floor-to-ceiling French windows (and swishing curtains) open to a balcony with outdoor armchairs and a table. Supremely comfy kingsized beds can be arranged as twins. Aside from 4 larger Deluxe Suites which bookend the corridors, rooms vary only according to view (front or back), whether they interconnect with their neighbour (ours did, and we stayed in palatial style), or if they have fold-down bunkbeds.

Spacious bathrooms are all-white affairs with double sinks, a separate rain shower and bathtub (lit by blue and yellow lights for fun colourful shadows).

The 12 Grand Deluxe Villas are sited behind the Clubhouse area, and all have an identical layout of 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms up top, with open-plan living/dining/kitchen below. There's a private garden/patio space with outdoor furniture plus each has parking. Six of the villas have fold-down bunks downstairs so can sleep larger families.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


All eateries have adults, kids and babies menus, and dedicated play spaces for children - no fidgeting at the table waiting for food to arrive.

The central hotel houses 2 restaurants. High-ceilinged O Terraço hosts extensive buffet breakfasts of fresh fruit, pastries, hot dishes (more are available to order), cereals, local jams and honey. There's plentiful coffee, teas and hot chocolate; juices of orange and green hue. In the evenings, dine a la carte on modern Portuguese dishes - I loved my scallops in lemongrass, with quinoa and balsamic followed by codfish on celeriac with a vegetable tower. The children had a mini-bitoque and homemade fishfingers and chips.

For lunches and early suppers, trattoria-inspired Os Gambozinos is a great option with its Italian-themed menu. Our kids enjoyed carbonara, margarita pizza and brownies; we loved our aubergine cannelloni and creamy pea risotto.

In the Clubhouse, M-Bar has a gelataria and all-day snacks and drinks, so no one need leave the area for refreshments. Drinks and snacks are also available at the Pool Hangout. There are plans for weekly barbecues and communal buffets during the summers.

The self-catering villas come with full kitchens plus seating for up to 6, rates include a welcome pack of goodies, and you can arrange for groceries to be delivered. You can also choose to have all meals in the restaurants or collect a breakfast box.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • At the hotel: relax in the Finisterra Spa, hangout at the Pool Hangout, play football or table tennis
  • Take the shuttle to Cascais to explore its charming city beaches (very safe for children), visit the playground and park, the Maritime Museum, the authentic food market (Wednesdays and Saturdays), carousel, and shops and restaurants
  • Nearby Atlantic beaches are superb. We loved Guincho, which has a cafe and is known for surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing, and the hotel operates a shuttle here 3x daily. Or hire bicycles from reception instead; there's a great coastal bike path to follow
  • Day trip to either Lisbon or UNESCO-listed Sintra with its 19th-century Romantic architecture, castles and palaces
  • You're right next to a golf course and there are plenty of others in the vicinity. There's a Tennis Racquet Club 10 minutes away by golf cart

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kitesurfing
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Well being
  • Windsurfing
  • Wine tasting


Martinhal Cascais is perfect for children aged 10 and under. With wonderful child-friendly service, kids play spaces beside the restaurants, kids and baby menus, a kids club for 2 age groups (included in the rates during the winter months), and a superb playground, it was a real wrench to leave! All children get a welcome pack with a present and a cap inside. And, best of all, there are a choice of pools in 3 locations across the site.

Teenagers are less catered for on-site (though the spa does have teen treatments), but there are lots of activities nearby: Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais are easy day trips, and there are great beaches and watersports a short taxi ride away.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All rooms can be configured as doubles or twins. If staying in the hotel, an extra bed or cot can be added to the rooms, nearly a third of which interconnect with the room next door to create a family suite (sleeping 6 as a maximum). Many of the hotel rooms have bunkbeds so can sleep a family of 4 + a baby, as can the suites, which are large enough for 2 extra beds and a cot to be added. The 2-bedroom villas are obviously popular for families, and half of them have fold-down bunks in the living rooms so can sleep a family of 6.

Baby equipment:

  • Potties
  • Toddler steps for the WCs
  • Socket protectors
  • Door protectors
  • Baby baths
  • Changing mats
  • Bottle sterilisers and bottle warmers (free with refundable deposit)
  • Stools
  • Bed protectors
  • High chairs
  • Baby cots
  • Safety gates (one per villa is guaranteed, a second one is subject to availability)
  • Baby carriers (free with refundable deposit)
  • Push chairs (subject to availability)

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

Creche/Kid's Club:

The Raposinhos Kids Club is set in the Clubhouse and offers a weekly programme of activities divided into 2 age groups: 3-5 year olds and 6-9 year olds. Our children had a ball face-painting, running obstacle races around the playground, and playing at being cowboys. Sessions are divided into morning (2 activities), lunch and afternoon (1 activity) - and are free during the winter months. There's also a wired space for tweens and teens, which offers electronic games. Every evening Rafi the fox comes out to dance on the Clubhouse steps to say good night

Children's meals:

All eateries have a kids menu and a baby menu, which is more imaginative than standard kids menus, although our children unimaginatively chose pizza, pasta dishes, fish and chips, salmon burgers and chocolate brownies. We were surprised that sweets were sprinkled over the desserts. We found M-Bar (above the Clubhouse, complete with a gelataria), and Os Gambozinos (the Italian trattoria restaurant) worked best for the children. Pleasingly, there's a supervised kids room next door where children can hang out until their meal is ready, or they are free to run around the lawn outside, while the grown-ups get some downtime. The breakfast buffet has options for all.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Playground
  • Choice of swimming pools
  • The signature Martinhal camper-van turned playspace
  • Table tennis
  • Football pitch or tennis court
  • Supervised kids room beside each restaurant with toys and games

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Beaches
  • Cycle paths (hire bikes from the hotel)
  • Day trips to Cascais, Sintra and Lisbon
  • Surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing on Guincho beach (which has lifeguards on duty)

Families Should Know:

The Clubhouse pools are not fenced but they are gated from the playground, and none are very deep as an additional safety precaution (1.30m). There are double gates to go through to enter the Clubhouse and playground area so smaller kids can't run off easily. Note that you will need to bring your own baby monitor and we have had reports that the signal may not reach the restaurant


  • Airport: 40 minutes (Lisbon)
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
  • Shops: 10 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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