“Brand-new, heaven-sent resort with stylish hotel rooms and self-catering villas, kids club, playground and pools, 10 minutes from Cascais”
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.
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.
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 creche (included in the rates Nov-April) and kids club for 2 age groups (included in the rates all year), 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.
Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
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.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
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 included in the rates. 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
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.
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