Our second visit to Martinhal and gosh I wish we had the money just to go there every holiday! It really is the (almost) perfect luxury family resort and we had a wonderful time. I won't labour again (last year's review is May 2013 and called 'Clapham Sur La Mer', which says it all really) but just point out improvements, and then areas they could still work on.
There is now children's plastic crockery and child-sized cutlery in both the restaurants and the villas. Tick. Breakfast runs much smoother as they seem to have more staff on duty, there are many more high chairs, and the bloomin' Fox now comes upstairs so there isn't a mass exodus downstairs at 9am anymore so that the kids can high five him! Service in Gambozinos is, on the whole, more efficient too.
There seems to be more things for toddlers to play on (it might be that because ours were babies last time we just didn't notice). There are toys and beanbags and a converted VW campervan in the bar, and more climbing frames and wendy houses in the Village Square.
We actually made it to the spa on the second last day (it took that long to establish a routine and relax sufficiently in order to, er, want to spend time relaxing). It's gorgeous, and we usually had it to ourselves. The treatments are horrendously expensive, but you can use the sauna/jacuzzi/steam room/relaxation areas for free. Recommended.
So, to the niggles. The main one by a long stretch is that you can no longer get a takeaway as your half board option. Last year the kids had eaten at 5.30 and then we'd pop down later to pick up a pizza for the grown ups. Apparently this has been introduced because the kitchen was being overwhelmed by takeaway orders. In a resort where everything is so geared around families, this seems a rare instance of the organisation prioritising itself, and just feels a bit commercial. And doesn't sit easily with a £5k family holiday. I'm not hungry at the same time my toddlers are. And if you want to leave later then you have to fork out for a babysitter. The fact the kitchen was being overwhelmed implies there's demand. So why not listen to customers and, er, open a separate takeaway? Surely that would be more cost effective for the resort anyway as people would use their half board on a 10 euro pizza rather than a 50 euro 3 course dinner??
Then in no particular order:
They only have BBC World News now and then a load of French/German/Spanish telly. I guess they've changed their subscriptions, but given at least 75% of the holidaymakers are Brits it's a bit rum.
Please can we have mugs in the kitchen? You have to have teeny tiny cups of coffee or burn yourself on a plastic beaker!
Classes/walks/yoga etc were all closed to me as they either started during kids' lunchtime naps or exactly when the Kids' Club opened shop.
Why does Dunas only open at 6pm? It means if your kids eat at 5.30 you're restricted to Gambozinos as by the time you've ordered and got your food at Dunas it's practically bed time.
We got a bottle of wine as a 'loyalty' present for holidaying a second time. Very nice, thank you, but we've now given them over £10k...a 5% discount would be a bit more fitting.
Why isn't Gambozinos open at lunch? Not everyone's spent the morning on the beach!
The resort Nurse wasn't very clued up. All we wanted to know was how we could get hold of children's Paracetamol. She thought we'd have to make a doctor appointment and get it prescribed, in Praia de Luz, which would have cost about £200 including taxi, private appointment etc. We spoke to Hugo in the Kids' Club (who is brilliant) and he called the Pharmacy 5 mins away who said we could get it OTC. On that note, is there any way the shop could get the license to dispense everyday meds? We can't be the only ones who (wrongly) thought 2 bottles of Calpol was enough for one holiday!
The shop is great but soooo expensive still. 12 euros for a bar of soap?! We went on the shuttle again to the Intermarche for our main provisions, but it does feel a bit commercial of Martinhal (again).
On which note...12 euros for movies on demand?!
All that said, it's bloomin' brilliant. So well thought out. And the staff make it. The waitresses in Gambozinos remembered us from last year (probably due to the noise and mess at our table!) The Kids Club were great. God, even the WINDOW CLEANER was child friendly and just smiled when one of mine put her sticky paws right on the bit he'd already cleaned and then made some puddles for them to splash in.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Martinhal Beach Resort & Hotel is the finest luxury family resort in Europe. Positioned within a protected natural park near the historic fishing port of Sagres, on Portugal’s unspoiled western Algarve coast, Martinhal is where luxury meets Nature. Martinhal welcomes families and couples, and the greeting is warm, open and generous. Guests feel at home. And it’s memorable. This is where life-long friendships will blossom, and where lasting impressions will be made. Stylish, contemporary architecture complements the organic personality of the resort, which has been shaped to blend effortlessly into the indigenous landscape. This is function and form at its best. This is sustainability. And Martinhal is more. For conferences, weddings and celebrations, Europe’s finest luxury resort sets the scene. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Martinhal Beach Hotel Sagres
- Martinhal Beach Resort And Hotel