We have just returned from the most amazing week in Portugal. Our time seemed to fly past in the blink of an eye and we have returned home to the cold weather. That is not to say it was bright blue skies all week in Portugal, far from it. In fact we experienced more wet days than dry but that did not deter from our fun and adventures. I am going to split our time into a few posts, the first our resort and the second our adventures.
Our stay in Portugal was in the beautiful Martinhal Quinta resort set in the Algarve and in the Quinta do Lago resort. With only a 20 minute transfer to Faro airport this made it perfect for travelling with young children who simply wanted to stretch their legs after a 3 hour flight.
The resort consists of a collection of privately owned town house and villas. Each one of a similar architectural style but internally displaying their own unique stamp by their owners. The resort focuses on being family friendly, with large outdoor swimming pool, indoor heated pool, play area, toddler pool, play van and in ground trampoline.
As the taxi entered the resort we were met with an abundance of colour. Pastel houses lined the grey cobbled streets. Each villa and town house covered in well maintained flowers, trees and shrubs.
The resort was easy to navigate, a perimeter road linked by grey cobbled streets. The majority of traffic, although hardly any, stuck to the main perimeter roads giving us plenty of opportunities to explore on foot.
At Martinhal Quinta resort there are 2 and 3 bedroom townhouses and 3,4,5 bedroom villas. Each one has an outdoor pool and garden space giving plenty of room for a family to relax or play games.
We noticed that some of the villas had fences around their outdoors pools, some had fences to stop access to the front of the property from the back and others had a mixture of the two. The villa we stayed in had neither of these facilities and I guess this is up to the private owners to install so it might be worth checking upon booking. Reception did also state that there are BBQ available to hire, had we had better weather we would have taken advantage of this.
In addition to the gardens we also benefited from two roof terraces. Whilst sitting in the garden you never felt overlooked and even from the roof terrace you were unable to see into a neighbouring garden, this gave reassurances as to privacy which I think is of great importance when travelling with young children.
The interior of our villa was flooded in light, it felt bright and airy. I fell in love with the open plan concept and the high ceilings in the entrance way. Our villa was exceptionally clean, with ladies calling every day to clean it and fitted with modern fittings. The kitchen had all the appliances you could need and full instructions in English too. Hair dryers were fitted into the bathrooms, of which there was one for every bedroom, and we were provided with both pool and bath towels. In fact the only thing I really needed to pack was clothes and swimming costumes, everything else was provided.
There was a high chair for Little Man in the dining room and a travel cot in the bedroom. Stairs were fitted with safety gates at the top and bottom, and additional baby items were available at reception if needed such as sterilisers, baby monitors and socket covers.
One of my favourite aspects of the villa was to stand on the terrace in the morning and watch the sun rise. The warm glow of the sun on my skin was the perfect way to start the day.
Facilities on resort included a hair dressers and a small supermarket which stocked the essentials. This included the essentials for baby too with milk and food, along with nappies and wipes. Had I known this in advance I would have packed less food for Little Man. There is also a larger supermarket about a 45 minute walk away from resort which stocks a lot more choice and variety should you need more than the essentials.
A large number of our days were filled with heavy rain so we made the most of the indoor heated pool. Around the pool was plenty of seating area, for those not swimming, and for those in the pool there were inflatable toys for the children to play with. Little Man was comfortable in the water and given it was his first time in a pool really enjoyed himself.
On sunnier days the large outdoor pool made for the perfect getaway. Behind the slides were water fountains to play in and at the side of the large pool was a toddler pool. Although not heated the girls would not come out of the main pool and spent their time between the two water slides and the floating bean bags.
By the side of the main pool is the entrance to kids club. Upon arrival all three of my children were given a gift from kids club of a beach bag, hat and a toy. We thought this a really lovely touch and it broke the ice with the children and the kids club staff. The girls enjoyed kids club and asked to go most days, it certainly gave them plenty to do on the rainy days. Should we have wanted to there is a baby sitting service available, but we decided not to make use of this.
Baby changing facilities are located next to kids club and before the entrance to M bar. All other toilets, with the exception of the ones in reception, did not have changing facilities.
M bar is a great spot to grab lunch or dinner, or even an ice cream. We often opted to sit outdoors but you could also sit inside. The girls had plenty of choice and there were daily specials to choose from also.
M bar also provided the perfect spot to sit outside but with cover to watch the spectacular rain and it was amazing to watch.
Above M bar is the exquisite setting for breakfast. There was the option to sit outside but we sat inside in case of rain. The girls loved chilling in the sofas after breakfast and watching people go past outside and watching them play golf.
Breakfast was buffet style with plenty of choice. Pancakes, pastries, toast [with a large bread selection], meats, cheeses, fruit, cereals, hot food and an egg station. The girls were spoilt for choice and I have never seen them eat so much. Most days we arrived at 8 and left around 10.30!
The view from breakfast was always breath taking especially when the rain was about to start. The clouds added a real feel to the scenery giving it an extra dimension
Underneath M bar is the heated pool and the blue room. The blue room was the perfect escape, computer consoles and games filled the room which was sure to keep anyone entertained. We would come here after breakfast to let the girls breakfast settle before the day ahead. It was also the perfect retreat when the rain started.
Near the outdoor pool is the Mvan which inside has been transformed into a chill out area for children. Comfy cushions and chairs made it the perfect place to watch the world go by, or if you preferred the driver seat to let your imagination take you any where you wanted.
Quinta do Lago is made up of a variety of hotels and any guest within this area can use another hotels facilities at a discounted rate. Great for golfers as they can access the different golf courses, and great for families who can explore additional facilities. At the top end of Quinta do Lago is the supermarket and a shopping area and at the far end is the beach. Both within walking distance. In addition there are a variety of sports facilities from tennis courts to sailing and a wide choice of restaurants.
The beach is 2km from Martinhal resort and whilst there is a regular shuttle bus from reception we chose to walk and it was a really easy walk. The beach itself is accessed via a long bridge and situated on the other side of a large sand bank. Worth noting that this is the only entry and exit point to the beach. We were greeted with long golden sand and blue sea with white rolling waves. Not a beach I would let the children swim in but one I was happy to have a paddle in with them. The sand was incredibly clean and the girls had plenty of space to run around and explore.
Martinhal Quinta resort is perfect for families and especially those with young children. Everything you need is accessible and there is plenty to keep the children occupied, whatever the weather. We had no need to hire a car as we chose to walk everywhere. Should you wish to explore further afield it is possible to hire a car from reception or use their private car service and they can even provide car seats. Little touches such as separate pool and bath towels, or even providing stair gates and high chairs help to take away some of the stresses when travelling with children. When both your children refuse to get in the taxi to go back to the airport and said they had the best time ever, you know that there is something special about Martinhal Quinta.