“A big beachside hotel with minimalist décor and panoramic views, on Europe's extreme westerly point”
The standard double and single rooms aren't huge but they are sleek, with cool white décor and tasteful accent colours, and some have balconies - perfect for a beachside hotel. Suites are larger and have living areas, kitchenettes and all have balconies. We’d always recommend paying the extra few euros for a frontal sea view, though it's worth noting that the partial sea view rooms get a tiny sideways peek of the ocean and views of the gardens; the best outlooks are higher up, so avoid ground-floor rooms if this is important to you. The land view rooms are cheaper, but you do sacrifice the wonderful vistas for inland views across scrubland and the village.
Each room is flooded with light. Beds are big with all-white bedspreads and sheets; mattresses, on the soft not the hard side, are comfortable and new - though some doubles are zipped-together twins. Floors are pale varnished wood with neat (often spherical) rugs, and there are boxy bedside tables and desks. Bathrooms are simple and functional (most could do with a bit of a revamp), but you get a big stash of ablution goodies: shampoo and conditioner with juniper extracts, citrus-fruit shower gel, orange-blossom body cream.
Amenities in the rooms are fairly minimal. There are flatscreen TVs and modest minibars, and WiFi will soon be available for an additional charge. There are extra goodies in the suites (some duplexes): bathrobes, DVD players, sofabeds, and planter's-style chairs for sitting out on the balconies. Guests staying in the suites can also take advantage of room service until 1am, something that isn't available if you're in a standard room. There are also 6 2-Bedroom Sea View Suites for larger families.
Breakfast here is a cut above the norm. In addition to the full English-style variant, there's a choice of cheeses, cold cuts, smoked salmon, seasonal fruits, cereals, yoghurts, scrummy cakes, excellent bread and croissants - plus a wonderful sea view. You may occasionally need to wait to be seated during the summer months (there are less tables than there are bedrooms), but the waiters will be on your case.
Light lunches and snacks are available throughout the day at the coffee shop, and at lunchtime at the pool bar. The menu features things like soups, salads, burgers, omelettes, pasta, sandwiches and bruschetta; when we last visited in 2013, we enjoyed octopus tempura, bacalao (salt cod) croquettes and a delicious seafood risotto. There’s also a kids’ menu, and during July and August there’s a daily family buffet at 7pm where kids eat for free.
Dinner is good but fairly pricey, and we were puzzled, to say the least, why they drew a curtain between us and the ocean view. You choose from one of 4 set menus, all focusing on local food with a twist: typical starters might be goats’ cheese gratin, a seafood cocktail or crab cakes with pimientos and a balsamic jus; mains, perhaps a chicken supreme or tuna steak with grilled sesame seeds. There's also a 'chef's suggestion' every evening, along with a recommended 'wine of the day'. Desserts are typically Portuguese in their sinful sweetness - crème brûlée, ice cream with cookies, orange pie; you get tea or coffee, too.
The restaurant itself is sleek but not particularly atmospheric, so you may be better off skipping down the steps outside to one of the harbour restaurants below or strolling into Sagres village. The hotel has negotiated a range of special offers with nearby eateries, and you’ll find a list in your room.
You can start or end your evening with a drink in the coffee-shop/bar where, as well as a big choice of long drinks, a dozen or so cocktails are on offer - including 4 different takes on the caipirinha theme.
Those in the suites have basic kitchenettes for simple self-catering.
Memmo Baleeira is child-friendly, with an outdoor pool, a play area and a games room. Note that some of the facilities, including the supervised kids' club and the family buffets, are only on offer in peak season (late July-August). It can be busy at this time of year - it's school holiday time - so bear that in mind. To keep the spa area calm, access to the indoor pool is limited to 10-12 in the mornings and 4-6pm in the evenings for children, year-round.
Children (4-12 years)
If you're travelling with a baby or children, we'd recommend the 1- and 2-bedroom suites, which have sofabeds that can take up to 2 children up to the age of 12 (only the 2-bedroom Suite can take 2 children). There is a 5-night minimum stay July-September and a 7-night minimum stay in August in all suites. Children are free up to 12 years of age. If you are bringing older children/teenagers, you can opt for a 2-bedroom suite or take 2 of the 8 interconnecting double rooms.
English-speaking babysitters are available by arrangement - see Rates.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
A free kids club' operates all year round, but it's only supervised (5-11pm daily) in peak season. It caters for kids aged 4 to 10, with painting, educational games, films and outdoor fun.
Suites have kitchenettes with a microwave and fridge, as well as access to room service. A kids' menu is available year-round (mini pizzas etc), and there's a nightly 7pm family buffet in peak season (kids eat free). The coffee shop and pool bar serve child-friendly food all day, and packed lunches are available on request. There are harbour and beachfront restaurants nearby.
The outdoor pool is cool nearly all year round. Sagres is walking distance away for nappies and sundries; the small on-site shop sells beach gear, if you haven't brought your own wetsuits