Understated luxury with every possible family need catered for, I’m not surprised Martinhal Sagres is one of the Europe’s best family resorts.
I love a good sea view, in fact I firmly believe I was meant to live beside the sea. Thinking back on our five fabulous days in one of Europe’s best family resorts, it may surprise you to learn that it is the view from our beach house at Martinhal Sagres that I miss the most.
It’s not just the gorgeous sea views that I loved, but our balcony was huge. I spent many hours there listening to the waves lap against the shore. Considering Martinhal Sagres is one of the best family resorts in Europe, and the fact that we visited during the October mid term break, it was surprisingly peaceful.
Martinhal Sagres is a Mecca for families. Everywhere I looked there were children, yet somehow it never felt noisy or intrusive. There were no loud pool games or tacky night shows, everything about Martinhal was understated – even the dress code.
As I stumbled down the stone steps for dinner on the first night, I suddenly realised I was the only one wearing heels. Despite being a luxurious five-star luxury resort, Martinhal Sagres is not a place for Louboutins and a little black number.
Martinhal’s casual, relaxed atmosphere is definitely part of its charm. It is located in the surf capital of the Algarve, Sagres, and somehow the town’s surf vibe has continued on into the resort. Teeshirts, shorts and flip flops were common dress attire for dinner, and it was so refreshing for a five star hotel.
We dined in the seafood restaurant, As Dunas on our first evening, and the food was superb – see more on that below. The first thing that struck me was that parents all around us were able to appreciate the great food and enjoy a leisurely meal, while their kids played happily outside.
I started thinking that I wished I discovered Martinhal Resorts sooner – my kids are 14 and 11…
In front of As Dunas restaurant, and also in the Italian Restaurant, there are kids play areas with sunken trampolines. This simple but very effective idea is a game changer for families who want to enjoy leisurely meals without the constant, ‘can we go’ messaging that usually accompanies family meal time. There are also supervised children’s play areas in the restaurants too.
This was our first real experience of what a holiday at Martinhal Sagres is all about, and why it won Portugal’s leading family resort, and Europe’s best villa resort at the World Travel Awards.
I had some experience of Martinhal’s attention to detail during our super stay at Martinhal Chiado in Lisbon, which incidentally is another property I can highly recommend for a family stay in Lisbon. This attention to detail was reinforced during our stay in Sagres, and compounded my belief that Martinhal Sagres is one of Europe’s best family resorts.
The following morning I set off to investigate the resort, and was a little taken aback by its sheer size. We were staying in a two-bedroom beach house, which we loved, and I would highly recommend paying the supplement for a full sea view.
However, there are hotel rooms, apartments, garden houses, townhouses and villas in this luxury resort. Regardless of room type you choose, you can expect daily cleaning and services of a five-star hotel.
I particularly liked the extra touches like Martinhal flip flops and Voya products that are in the rooms. There are also five swimming pools, four restaurants, five kids clubs and a host of sports facilities at Martinhal Sagres.
Despite its size, it never felt busy, and no matter which area you stay in there is a pool close by. We spent some time at the main pool overlooking the beach, which was heated, but there are quieter, more laid back pools to choose from.
There is an indoor pool, which also has an outdoor section adjoining it – this is ideal families where some prefer inside and others outside – did I mention that Marinhal Resorts have thought of everything?
There are many different relaxing areas to choose from too, including cabanas, hammocks and quiet snugs with gorgeous day beds. Martinhal Sagres is located right on the beach. So if like me, you prefer the beach to the pool – there is a gorgeous private sandy beach for you to enjoy.
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Nevertheless, while we enjoyed lazy beach and pool days, most of the families visiting Martinhal Sagres were enjoying the extensive kids clubs and activities available. And when I say extensive…
Kids clubs and activities and Martinhal Sagres
There are five different kids clubs available. A creche is available from 6 – 23 months, and toddlers and younger children have their own kids club too – with separate clubs from 2-5 years, 6-9 years and tweens from 10 -14 years.
Teens are not overlooked either with a Blast Club for 14-17 year olds. There is also a games room with table football, air hockey, as well as Playstations for teens who just want to hang out. However, I did find that Martinhal was probably more geared towards families with younger children.
There are different complimentary activities each day such as, mini golf, introductory tennis lessons, family football and soft play, and additional charges for kayak tours, surfing, football and swimming lessons. Paddle boards and bikes are also available to rent, and there is a pump track for kids who like to ride mountain bikes.
Note that the kids clubs are complimentary in low season and cost approximately €21 per hour during school holidays. See more here.
Baby facilities at Martinhal Sagres
Martinhal is without a doubt one of the best family resorts for babies and younger children. The baby concierge service allows you to pre-order all sorts of baby equipment including high chairs, monitors, sterilisers, and even buggies before you arrive.
There are steps and child toilet seats in bathrooms, buggy lanes throughout the resort, stair gates, bed rails and nappy bins in the beach houses, and no shortage of hooks either – which I find a Godsend for keeping a place tidy.
The attention to detail doesn’t end there. The baby and toddler menus were some of the best I have seen, with separate menus for 4-8 months, 9-12 months, 12 months+ , as well as kids gourmet choices which are similar to what you would find on an adult menu.
There is also a kids buffet in all restaurants which is free for babies under two, and costs just €10 for children. As previously mentioned there is also a creche available from 6 – 23 months (charges may apply) as well as complimentary baby swimming each morning.
Dining at Martinhal Sagres
There is a choice of four restaurants to choose from at Marinhal Sagres, but we didn’t get a chance to sample them all. The seafood Cataplana in As Dunas fish restaurant was sublime, as was Cormac’s seabass that he chose from the fish tank on our way in.
The fish from the kids menu was delicious too, but they also have meat and plenty of other options if your kids are not fish lovers. The Piri-Piri chicken was a big hit with my son Luke.
We also enjoyed a delicious meal at the Italian restaurant, Os Gamozinos, in the lively Village Square. There was a kids buffet here too, but the kids opted for pizzas instead.
We enjoyed risotto and chicken pesto pasta, and everyone was happy – overall I found the food excellent in Martinhal Sagres, with a wide variety for children too.
The Village Square is a great place to dine during the evening. There is a surf bar located right next to the restaurant, and the teen club placed overhead.
There are sunken trampolines as well as a large playground and bungee trampoline located here too. Alex loved the bungee trampoline, and at €5 for 3 minutes it didn’t break the bank.
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We also enjoyed tasty breakfasts in O Terraço Restaurant – the sea views are spectacular and you can enjoy indoor or outdoor dining here. We also ate in our beach house some mornings – the onsite supermarket sells hot croissants and bread rolls that are hard to resist. Incidentally the supermarket is well equipped, but pricey.
There is a delivery service available from all restaurants so if you fancy a night in, this is easily arranged – simply order from any of the restaurants via the Martinhal Sagres app.
Dining and Activities close to Martinhal Sagres
We also dined in some of the local restaurants. Sagres is predominantly a surf town and isn’t particularly pretty, but it does have plenty of surf shops and a choice of dining options.
Three Little Birds is a great Mexican restaurant that has tasty burgers, tacos and quesadillas on the menu, and only five minutes drive from Martinhal Sagres.
D’Italia Pizzeria is a good choice for pizza. The burrata salad was delicious, but the Italian Restaurant in Martinhal also serves up great Italian food and pizza, so I’m not sure it would be worth leaving the resort for.
One spot that is worth the drive is Boia Bar in Salema. It is about 20 minutes drive from Martinhal Sagres but its beach front location is hard to beat.
We had dinner there – I can recommend the goats cheese starter and the spaghetti with clams, but it is a cool place to go for cocktails too. The restaurant is small inside so if you need to eat indoors, make sure you book in advance.
I would also recommend taking a trip to nearby Cape St Vincent. It the most southwestern tip of Europe and boasts amazing sunsets. We were unlucky not to see one during our visit, but I’m told they can be spectacular. It is worth the trip for the scenery alone and it is only about 10 minutes drive from Martinhal Sagres.
Spa and Fitness at Martinhal Sagres
Like everything at Martinhal Sagres, even the Spa caters for children! As well as adult-only traditional treatments, there are Mother / Father and child packages available. For €70 you can both enjoy a mini pedicure or manicure, or parent and child massages – how cool is that?
There are also teen facials available, my 14 year old enjoyed his first facial there – something I couldn’t imagine him trying at home. I had a fabulous massage and loved relaxing in the garden in outdoor cabanas afterwards.
Martinhal Sagres also has daily fitness classes including pilates and aqua spin, as well as an outdoor fitness circuit and a gym. See more here
Final thoughts on Martinhal Sagres, and why it is one of Europe’s best family resorts.
Martinhal Sagres is one of the best family resorts I have seen to cater for babies and young children. For parents travelling with their children for the first time, I doubt you could find anywhere better.
Prices are expensive in peak season, especially if you are planning on using the kids clubs, however the standard of accommodation together with the onsite facilities are reflected in the price. The real value is to travel off peak, especially if you have children who have not yet started school.
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If you like glitz, glamour and designer shopping, then Martinhal Sagres may not be for you. However I loved its laid back vibe and that it was luxurious without being pretentious. The attention to detail and the fact that every possible need for children is catered for, means parents can enjoy its luxurious surroundings and delicious food, and feel they enjoyed an adults holiday too.
How to get to Martinhal Sagres
Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Tap Air Portugal fly to Faro from Ireland. Transfer time is 90 minutes from Faro Airport or just over 3 hours from Lisbon.
Car hire is not essential if you are planning on spending most of your time in the resort – an Uber into Sagres costs just €5. However, if you want to explore the Algarve’s beautiful towns and coastline, I recommend hiring a car.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Martinhal Sagres, and that it helps you plan a visit to one of Europe’s best family resorts. For prices and to find out more visit Martinhal.com
Note we were given four nights complimentary stay at Martinhal Resorts, and paid for four nights. This review of Martinhal Sagres is not sponsored by Martinhal Resorts, and all views, as always, are my own.