Martinhal Cascais

near Cascais Lisbon Coast, Portugal Book from Book from £149 per night

A heaven-sent family hotel with stylish 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 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 Algarve resort opened in 2010.

Such details mattered little to our overjoyed children who squealed with delight at the playground complete with zip-wires, play structures, large trampoline and lawns. Face-painting and obstacle races in the complimentary 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.

Information provided by Martinhal Cascais on 24/07/2020.

Cleaning and hygiene
Clean & Safe certified by the Portuguese Tourist Board. Staff wear face masks and gloves. High touch areas sanitised several times daily. Rooms disinfected; Clean & Safe logo denotes rooms sanitised.
Clean & Safe logo

Food and drink
In-house dining options, with take-away available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spaced out seating. Digital menus. Takeaway and delivery services available. Enhanced sanitation at dining and kitchen areas. Culinary team have additional protection.

Facilities
Spa treatments in room or villa. Gym machines and bicycles sanitised between use. 2 metre social distancing in pool areas. Two-way traffic to and from pool. Pre-booking online essential for kids clubs. Kids Clubs sanitised after each session, toys disinfected. Masks provided for kids.

Other
Online check-in and check-out. Pre-arrival procedures incl itineraries and activities confirmation by email. Settling bill via online payment. Virtual concierge.

Highs

  • Superb kids facilities include an excellent playground, bikes to hire, football and table tennis, and a choice of 6 pools!
  • Parent pampering in the excellent spa, with family treatments available (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
  • We loved the sleek, spacious rooms in hotel and villas alike
  • The staff are stellar

Lows

  • We have received bad feedback recently about meals, but management are aware and planning improvements
  • The 12 self-catering villas get booked up quickly (and they only have showers)
  • The lovely free-form Lagoon pool is open June-Sept only
  • The hotel shuttle bus has a small surcharge and runs mostly during the day but local taxis are cheap
  • Bear in mind that it's aimed more for under 10s, but teens can enjoy tennis, football, surfing and day trips to Lisbon or Sintra
World Favourite Family Hideaway

    Best rooms for families

    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.

    Parents 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
  • Baby cots with bedding
  • 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)

Some equipment may need to be requested in advance

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. Pleasingly, there's a supervised kids room 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.

  • Playground
  • Choice of swimming pools (kids pools are heated and covered so can be used year-round)
  • The signature Martinhal camper-van turned playspace
  • Table tennis
  • Football pitch or tennis court
  • Supervised kids room beside each restaurant with toys and games
  • Workshops including Lego robotics, build a fairy door, cooking and mocktails
  • 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)

Great for...

Beach
Family
Foodie
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 72 rooms, 12 villas
  • 2 restaurants and 1 bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pools
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Babysitting
  • Creche / Kids Club
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • 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
Room:

Rooms

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

Eating

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

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 enjoyed scallops in lemongrass, with quinoa and balsamic followed by codfish on celeriac with a vegetable tower. The children had mini-bitoque and homemade fishfingers and chips.

In the Clubhouse, M Bar offers casual all-day dining. The menu features global favourites, such as pizzas, salads, hamburgers and curries, which can be washed down with a healthy smoothie or coffee. For something a little more authentic, there's a special Portuguese Family Dining experience, bringing the chance to try some of the local cooking.

The Lounge Bar is your place for healthy smoothies, cocktails or an afternoon coffee, plus it hosts a delightful Family Afternoon Tea experience.

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

Activities

  • At the hotel: relax in the Finisterra Spa, spoil yourself on a one- or two-night Ayurvedic detox retreat, 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

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!
Kid Friendly:

Location

Martinhal Cascais is in the exclusive Quinta da Marinha area, just west of the coastal town of Cascais on the Lisbon coast.

By Air:
Fly to Lisbon Portela (about 40km away). Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving here.

From the Airport:
The hotel offers transfers, but you can easily travel independently via Metro and train. The hotel can also arrange taxis to Sintra, Lisbon and beyond, so you won't need a car while you're here, but if you want to hire one, see our car rental recommendations. The hotel has free parking.

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

More on getting to Portugal and getting around

Airports:

  • Lisbon Portela Airport 40.0 km LIS

Other:

  • Beach 6.0 km
  • Shops 4.0 km
  • Restaurant 2.0 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 4 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
6/10
Food
8/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Overall

We stayed In a 2 bedroom villa - lovely and spacious, modern/contemporary style. The outdoor garden seating area and balcony could be much better - the garden area is shaded by the big overhanging upstairs balcony which makes it very dark and underground bunker-like downstairs which is a shame.
The villas are great for privacy and are quiet. We were pleased we were not in the main hotel rooms, as the rooms are very close to each other. Lovely communal areas, clean and the indoor pool/spa were good. Our daughter is 7 and loved the outdoor play area but I’d say the whole place is best suited to families with babies - 5/6 year olds. There’s not so much for older children.
Food: breakfast was average at best. After the first morning we opted for do-it-ourself cereal etc in our villa. The main restaurant was expensive for what it was but provided a nice ‘grown up’ setting /meal with good childrens options. The more casual brasserie restaurant near the play area was better value. The main reception staff were excellent and overall service was very good.

7/10,

We loved our holiday and would definitely go back. The villa was brilliant and facilities and kids club were spot on for our 3 year old. Our only small criticism was the food. We found dinner at the main restaurant too fussy (they had amazing ingredients and nice service but the dishes were, for us, trying to be too fancy when a high end gastropub approach would have been better). The bar / cafe option had a good menu but the food was a bit bland and it closed at 5.30. So both missed the mark for us, and as we were on a half board deal, this did matter more than it would on a B&B basis, because we were tied to eating there every day. That said, in high season they also have a pool area with extra cafe option that wasn't open when we visited, so that would give an extra place to try. And this is a fairly minor criticism because we would go back in a shot.

9/10,

Rooms and pool area were excellent. Service on the reception desk was very good but patchy elsewhere although well meaning. Service was particularly poor around the pool hangout and at the restaurant above the kids club - slow and confused and they often forgot parts of our order. The food is very expensive for the quality offered. It just isn’t up to the prices charged or the hotel’s 5* rating and was often tasteless. Kids Club good. Overall we enjoyed our stay but would hesitate to return.

6/10,

It was fantastic! Just what we needed. Food was OK, but not a 5 star standard. Restaurant evening service was a bit slow.
Staff are all incredible, but staff at the kids club deserve a 10 out of 10.
For the service we have received it was absolutely worth it.

9/10,

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