Villas Martinhal Sagres

Sagres, Algarve, Portugal Book from

Reviewed by Kate Parsons
Chic, resort-based villas for self-catering, on a long beach in the lower Algarve (sleeping 2-10); perfect for families
It goes without saying that we are big fans of independent villas. So why do we have a Portuguese resort of over 100 houses and villas on our site? It’s simple: these are done so well that we couldn’t resist adding them to our portfolio. Designed with the same sleek lines, eco-concerns and modern style as Hotel Martinhal Sagres, and sharing the same resort and facilities, these contemporary villas completely redefine your expectations of the Algarve by being family-friendly yet ultra-chic.

So many things make them fabulous. They are well set up for self-catering, with swanky designer kitchens, but you can pick up a takeaway from the on-site shop if you feel like spoiling yourself. They have extraordinarily well-organised facilities within walking distance – 3 stylish restaurants, 5 swimming pools, tennis courts, a spa - plus a gorgeous sandy beach a mere stroll away. They are a dream come true for families, with kit to borrow, a crèche and a kids' club, even screenings of cartoons in the village square on summer evenings. And on top of all that, the design really works – villas are arranged unusually with a lounge, kitchen and dining space on the first floor and ensuite bedrooms down below, so the living areas really capitalise on the sensational sea views.


  • A range of villa options, to suit all budgets and specifications. Some have their own pool, others are set within a private walled garden
  • Gorgeous interiors - a mix of Portuguese materials (local stone, cork), contemporary furniture and luxury gadgets (iPod docks, Nespresso machines), and funky extras (wicker lamps, Mongolian beanbags)
  • Perfect for families: there's equipment to borrow, a beach to run around on, a play area, crèche, kids' club and family pool, plus babysitting for when you want adult time
  • The place feels special, untouched, out-of-the-way, yet it's only 1.5 hours from Faro
  • Active types will be in their element: hike through the national park; stroll along stunning coastline; windsurf and surf; try deep-sea fishing


  • Keep an eye on the extras - meals, spa treatments and activities can soon add up, though the villas themselves are good value
  • Given the exposed location it can be very windy in the summer months, especially on the beach; on the upside daytime temperatures are kept cooler and the evenings are fresher so kids sleep better
  • Service in the resort is mixed – staff are lovely but can be laid-back
  • Stylish and low-rise though the resort is, it all feels a bit suburban (and not very i-escape), but the upside is a wealth of facilities
  • Those without kids may find the resort too family-filled; the equally beautiful Hotel Martinhal Sagres is more couple-oriented, though children are allowed

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. October half term can be hit or miss - one year we had glorious warm sunshine every day, another time we had two days of torrential downpours.

Our top tips

To avoid disappointment, book spa treatments ahead of your stay if visiting during school holidays.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Villas
  • 153 villas
  • Self-catering (+ walk to restaurants)
  • 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
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Concierge Service
  • Tennis Court
  • Pool Table
  • Bicycles Available


There are 6 types of self-catering villa, all sharing the resort’s facilities (including pools, crèche and kids' club). Each has a daily maid service, fully fitted designer kitchen, terrace, and a living/dining area with satellite TV, video on demand, WiFi and iPod dock. They were designed by Brit interiors specialist Michael Sodeau, mixing cork, stone and timber with pops of bright colour. Each villa is a little bit different and they thankfully haven't taken a cookie-cutter approach.

The villas are mainly in the Martinhal Village, which means they are very close to the resort's facilities. Referred to as Houses, there are 132 spread between Ocean, Bay, Garden and Pinewood categories, and there are 2 or 3 bedroomed houses in each category (plus 1-bed houses in the Garden category). Master bedrooms are all kingsize; second and third bedrooms can be set up as twins or kingsize doubles on request. All have ensuite bathrooms - the masters have a tub and shower, the secondary rooms just have a shower - and bedrooms are all on the ground floor. The living spaces for each villa are on the first floor, to maximise the stunning views (except in the Garden and Pinewood Houses, which are laid out traditionally, with the bedrooms above the living areas).

The Ocean Houses are arranged in small terraced groups at the front of Martinhal Village, with gorgeous sea views. The Bay Houses are much more spacious and secluded, and positioned to catch the sunrise and sunsets from their terraces. We stayed in one of the Garden Houses. These are set within walled, private gardens, making them a safe, attractive choice for families with young children, although the lack of shade made sitting outside at certain times of day rather difficult. Pinewood Houses are set in a quiet close next to a pine forest, and each has a small private pool and garden.

There are also 23 Villa Mimosa townhouses, which are privately owned but available for rent at certain times (please enquire for details). These are a more compact option, away from the main resort, with access to a clubhouse with a heated pool, a baby pool and a private garden. They each have 2-3 large bedrooms plus a parking space. Similar are the 14 Luxury Villas, which are jaw-dropping gorgeous, some with pools, others with games rooms and home cinemas; enquire for details.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dishwasher
  • DVD player (on request)
  • Extra beds
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob stove
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toaster
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


With a swanky designer kitchen at your disposal, keen cooks will be in their element. There are double ovens, gas hobs, microwaves, blenders, big fridge/freezers, Nespresso coffee makers and a whole wealth of equipment including cheese graters and vegetable peelers.

i-escape guests get a welcome hamper on arrival (UHT milk, muffins, bread, a selection of jams, and coffee) and there are a couple of dishwasher tabs to start you off, but you'll need to stock up on essentials like bin bags, washing-up liquid, salt, pepper and oil. There's a mini market (O Mercado) in the resort selling vegetables, fruit, fresh bread and cakes, milk, cheese, ham and baby food, though it can be a little pricey. It also provides prepared food to take away - pizza, curries, that sort of thing (order by 8.45pm). There's a small Inter Marche supermarket in Sagres, 5 minutes away by car, and a larger Lidl 10 minutes in the other direction, but most people head to the big supermarket in Lagos City (25km) to do a big shop on arrival, then pick up bits and bobs to see them through a stay. With fresh fish from ports along the coast just begging to be baked in your oven, meals will be a joy.

If, however, your ideal holiday involves the space that a villa offers but the food a hotel can provide, you're in luck. You get access to the 3 restaurants in the village (As Dunas, Os Gambozinos and O Terrazzo), and can purchase breakfast and meal supplements at the time of booking, or go à la carte. The food is one of the things that makes Martinhal really stand out. Families can dine at As Dunas, a stylish beach restaurant beside the pool that specialises in fish and seafood, or enjoy brasserie-style Italian fare in Os Gambozinos, or head to slinky O Terraço, which works both for couples and families. Do check out the family bar, M-Bar, a relaxed surf-themed bar where parents can enjoy a drink whilst the kids play. And the new Pop-Up Grill 'The Wolf @ Martinhal' which has a take-away menu too.

For snacky lunches or a change of scene, head to Zavial beach restaurant, just around the headland - try the fantastic monkfish cataplana. And don't miss the classic Portuguese custard tarts wherever you eat, washed down with a short espresso.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Food blender
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob stove
  • Microwave
  • Organic produce
  • Oven
  • Restaurant
  • Toaster
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Welcome hamper
  • Takeaway meals
Eating: M Bar


  • Laze by the pools on the lime-green Fatboy beanbags or comfy loungers. There's a bar by the main pool

  • Indulge in some sea-based spa treatments 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 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

  • Challenge your fellow guests to a game of tennis (there are 2 artificial grass courts) or try the new Padel tennis, a mix between squash and lawn tennis, with plastic bats

  • 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

  • Make the most of your villa's views by taking a bottle of Portuguese wine (or sherry) on to your terrace as night falls

  • Younger children will love the playground, swimming pool and the activities on offer at the Kids' Club - face painting, treasure hunts and simple arts and crafts. Older children can go to soccer school, take tennis or Padel lessons or learn to surf

  • Go on a family boat trip to see dolphins, but remember sea sickness tablets if you're not a good sailor - the ocean can get pretty choppy

  • 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

  • If the weather turns, there are toys, games and puzzles at the Kids' Club (which has a team of qualified childminders). And for older kids, there's the Blue Room, which has pool tables, video games, table football and internet

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Historical sites
  • Horse-riding
  • Junior Lifeguard course
  • Kitesurfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Pool table
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Soccer school
  • Surf lessons
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Tennis coaching
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing


i-escape's Best for Kids Awards 2014
Winner: Best For Kids Facilities
> See the full list of winners

There's so much to say about Martinhal's family facilities that we'd need about 10 pages to tell you everything, so trust us that we're keeping it brief here. Most of it is free, although babysitting and crèche facilities incur an extra cost. All kids over 2 receive a hat and goodie bag on arrival - a nice touch.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Any of these villas works fantastically for families, which is who they were designed for after all. Villa renters have access to the kids' clubs, equipment and activities on offer. Cots are free.


English-speaking babysitters are available (reserve 24 hours in advance). They will only take 2 children under the age of 6 each

Baby equipment:

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

  • Highchairs
  • Steriliser
  • Stair gates
  • Baby monitors
  • 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). 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. In the evenings (Mon-Fri) a Party Zone for 4-8 year olds from 6-9pm allows parents to dine a deux while children enjoy a mini disco, face painting, balloon-modelling, pillow fights and dressing up in costumes; dinner is provided in the Os Gambozinos restaurant too.

Children's meals:

All villas have kitchenettes with blenders and microwaves. All the resort's restaurants have a Baby Menu for 4-12 month old babies, and all have high chairs. One restaurant offers child-sized portions, and takeaway pizzas are available from the resort's wine bar. The shop sells takeaways too. The Family Bar at the Village Square is designed for families, and Pop Up Grill 'The Wolf @ Martinhal' is found there too. There's an ice cream corner at Mbar, which serves homemade ice cream, waffles and crepes.

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 playground
  • Cycling tracks for tweens and teens in front of the As Dunas restaurant
  • Games consoles and computer room
  • 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.


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

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