The 5-star Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel , in Portugal’s sunny Algarve, has something for every member of the family to love. For teens, there’s the half-mile crescent of sandy beach directly below, with kayaks and paddleboards. For younger kids, there’s a club where they can join lively activities, and well-equipped play areas adjacent to all the places their parent are likely to linger over dinner or a glass of Alentejo wine. For parents, there is fine dining, a serene spa and plenty of professionals on hand to amuse the children while moms and dads luxuriate.
For everyone, there’s the excitement of being in an exotic foreign destination, on a beautiful coast that enjoys year-round sunny weather, in a resort where everyone speaks English. Everything at Martinhal is designed with families in mind, whether it’s a couple looking for a quiet escape with their child or a multigenerational clan on vacation.
The focus is on making life easy for families. The Baby Concierge allows guests to pre-book baby equipment such as safety gates, potty chairs, bottle sterilizers, cribs and baby baths, so traveling with an infant becomes a breeze. Babysitting is always available, and the shop in the Village Square stocks diapers and baby food.
At Raposinhos, toddlers can learn face-painting, create colorful crafts, play games and go on treasure hunts. Older kids can print their own T-shirts and make pizza. Teens can hang out in the Blue Room, playing video, board and table games. A nursery gives special attention to babies and toddlers up to age 2.
At the Explorers and Blast Club teens can learn to windsurf, and go on bike tours or dolphin watching trips. At the Sports Academy older kids can learn — or brush up on — surfing, diving, tennis or soccer, all taught by experienced instructors. In the summer, there are evening activities for all ages while parents enjoy a leisurely dinner.
Dinners are worth lingering over. The fine-dining restaurant O Terraco showcases updated Portuguese dishes, with an emphasis on locally raised meats and produce, and the abundant seafood caught off these shores each day. The extensive wine list specializes in fine Portuguese wines from the nearby Alentejo vineyards and the legendary Douro Valley. This is also where breakfast is served, a bounteous buffet that includes at least six different fruits, multiple cheeses, fresh breads and pastries, omelets and other cooked-to-order entrees. A large, staffed kid’s area beyond a glass wall is designed so “mothers can have their cappuccino with the foam still on it.”
The As Dunas restaurant overlooks the beach, specializing in fresh fish and seafood. Along with an appealing kids’ menu, there’s an adjacent fenced-in play area and trampoline. Os Gambozinos is an informal Italian restaurant with a terrace on the Village Square. The children’s menu offers bite-sized portions, and the terrace opens onto a small playground. Os Gambozinos also provides hot take-out for dining in guests’ own houses.
While large double rooms serve couples well, families at Martinhal can choose from garden apartments or entire houses surrounded by gardens. Like all buildings at Martinhal, these are low buildings set into the natural landscape, many with sea views. Rooms are bright and airy, with custom-designed furniture and décor in local woods, cork, stone, woven palm and natural-fiber upholstery, not only reducing the resort’s carbon footprint, but giving it an organic feel.
Pool areas — there are several swimming pools — sports courts and other facilities spread over a large area, where local trees and plants have been preserved. Set into Europe’s southwestern-most tip, Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel is designed to fit organically into the landscape overlooking the sea.
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