Picking your first family holiday abroad can be difficult. We decided to combine the holiday with the celebration of Tibbs’ first birthday. After a year of becoming parents and moving to Bristol, we decided to take the plunge and go on a holiday to remember. We chose Martinhal Hotel and Beach Resort, near Sagres, Portugal.
Here’s some reasons why it was the perfect holiday for us:
- We chose the Baby’s first holiday package in conjunction with Stieff (fancy German teddy bears). This gave us two hours childcare per day in a very well equipped, age-appropriate creche with qualified staff, a dinner with babysitting, I got a 60 minute massage at the amazing spa, and a Stieff welcome pack of towel, flannel, teddy bear and packing case. It was the childcare that really made this holiday for us. Two hours of sitting, beach walking, talking, a minor bit of drinking on a sunny balcony. Knowing that the baby was safe and having fun.
- The accommodation is nothing short of outstanding. We had a one bedroom garden house. There wasn’t a sharp corner or exposed wire in the place. Or even a stair to bang your one year-old head on. But there was a steriliser, blender, dishwasher, washing maching, private garden, lush organic baby and beauty products, and a welcome pack of food and milk from the shop
- The food. Every one of the three restaurants had a qualified childcare professional in a kids corner, happy to keep an eye on those who didn’t want to sit still for the whole meal. The food itself was fresh, varied and perfect for babies and kids. The menu was even split into children’s age groups. The waiting staff loved children, and spent more time than was probably within their job description playing with every small customer
- The atmosphere was so chilled. The bar had a beanbag and small table area with ipads for kids to relax in and get fresh juices. There was a VW camper van in the bar for them to play in. The football was on. The beer was cold. The Blue Room had every kind of activity a pre-teen would want, from cinema seating to air hockey and iMacs with the latest games on
- You could relax, knowing that somebody would always be ready and able to help you out. Tibbs had her first swimming lesson with a baby swim teacher and her dad, and it was a joy to watch, especially as we apparently have an aquatic genius on our hands
- The attention to detail – when we picked Tibbs up from childcare on her birthday, the nursery staff had been told it was her big day and had made her a card which said ‘we hope you always get to follow your dreams’. When we got back to our apartment there was a cake with candles and fruit waiting for us. Amazing service!
- The choice – four pools, one half indoors, and one incredible, long, sweeping, sandy beach. Two large supermarkets nearby and one on site with artisan bread, local meats and cheeses, and basic baby goods
Martinhal is a luxury place, we were very lucky to have got what we think was a good deal with the package, and we did feel like we were treating ourselves. But, having been there once, I would save all year if it meant I could go again!