Being completely disorganised as usual, I left booking our summer holiday this year to the very last minute, but was really lucky to get a cancellation for the Martinhal family resort in Sagres, Portugal.
We wanted somewhere where Dafne (3), would have a ball and where myself and Peter could switch off and relax.
We got a lunchtime flight from Cork to Faro with Aer Lingus and the whole experience was really easy and smooth.
I would advise renting a car in Portugal as it gives you way more freedom and is cheaper than a transfer. When we arrived at the resort, check-in was quick and seamless.
We booked a two bed beach house which worked out really well for us. Dafne had her own room so in the evening, myself and Peter could chill out in the living area while she slept downstairs.
The kitchen was really well equipped and there was a welcome pack with bread and other essentials. I have stayed in a lot of places over the years but this was definitely one of the nicest places I have stayed.
We went for half board which I would not do again and would not recommend unless you enjoy staying in the resort for your entire holiday. Dafne wanted to eat as soon as she woke in the morning so she had no real interest in the breakfast which was a ten minute walk away. We also like to get out of the resort and check out different restaurants for dinner so I felt we did not get the full value from the half board option. I advise doing a big food shop on the first day in the larger supermarket up the road which is good value.
The Martinhal is a cashless resort so when you check in, you give your credit card details, and then sign for everything during your stay. I liked it as I didn’t have to bring my wallet with me but I found the pricing on site was not very clear and it can make it slightly harder to budget.
It wasn’t cheap in the resort. A scoop of ice-cream was €3.50 which is quite expensive for a three-year-old. A glass of wine was €7.50 which is pricey for Portugal and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice was €5.
There are at least three swimming pools that we found, including a kiddie pool with loads of water toys so you don’t need to bring or buy any toys. There is plenty of seating and shades and we never had a problem getting a sun longer.
In each of the restaurants, there is a member of staff dedicated to playing with the children. Dafne was delighted to go colouring and drawing in the kids corner on the nights we ate in the restaurant after she finished her food.
I wasn’t blown away by the food in the resort, but for children, the food options were amazing. The kids menu was separated into different stages so if you were weaning a baby, for example, you could order purees.
The one negative of the holiday was that we couldn’t get late check-out. We had to check out at 11am and our flight was not until 8pm so we spent our last day just wandering around the resort.