Travelling with kids (and babies)
Late last year I have been very lucky to have brunch with Chitra Stern, the visionary mum and entrepreneur behind Martinhal, the brilliant child friendly hotels in Portugal.
Martinhal story is fascinating and Chitra’s entrepreneurial journey is nothing less of remarkable. A month after Lehman’s collapse and September 2008 financial mayhem, Chitra and her husband Roman embarked on developing Sagres resort, the first of Martinhal properties. From training as an engineer and working for PWC, Chitra managed wonderfully to make her visions and dreams happen – a lot of hard work, commitment and impeccable business practice. The inspiration lied mostly in their 4 kids and their own holidays after the children arrived. Now in 2017 Chitra and Roman have 4 brilliant child friendly hotels in Portugal graciously spread: Martinhal Sagres, Quinta de Lago, Lisbon and Cascais.
Martinhal Portugal resorts fill a huge gap in the hospitality market where parents and kids needs are equally addressed and all parties could have their space and ZEN moments – true luxury family retreats.
Chitra’s mantras include parents enjoying their breakfast and cappuccinos with the foam still on, mums having their me & spa time and couples reconnecting whilst kiddies are excellently looked after and entertained.
All in easy reach when decommissioned cars and play areas are around for breakfast; huge kidsclubs stays opened until 10pm and around the corner there are state of art spa and hotel facilities; idyllic outdoors are on the site; trained creche and kidsclub personnel will step in whenever one needs/ wants and baby concierge is there in case items are forgotten or simply not fitting into your luggage.
Raposinhos means little foxes and children are encouraged to be the same: active and inquisitive.
Not only KIDSSORTED (so to speak), but Martinhal Portugal stands out from the mass family holidays by contemporary design and well blending with picturesque Portuguese landscapes. No ugly tall blocks (a sore to the eyes in certain Mediterranean areas!); but little villas spread graciously around the coast or landscapes.
Chitra and Roman retained the charm and history; you’ll find the names of old houses and even beautiful stone ceilings in the kids club at Chiado. Interiors are matching the exteriors and they are functional and beautiful. There’s a tone of beautiful local art as they have been working with Portuguese painters in all of their properties. There are also lots more: gorgeous outdoors – seaside and countryside, sailing, riding, golf, city tripping.
And with Portugal being known as the California of Europe, Martinhal resorts make the perfect luxury family retreats pretty much the whole year round.
Zenbabytravel team tested Martinhal Cascais half term October and all parties fell in love. End of October we have been blessed with 4 days of sunshine and temperatures between 25-30DC. We also wrote extensively about our 4 days in Cascais (article in here)– the area is filled with gems including Unesco patrimony Sintra, Michelin star restaurants by Cascais coast and of course the beautiful Lisbon. Just afraid that 4 days in Cascais (video link in here) were not quite enough, so we are planning again a Lisbon citybreak of course with Martinhal. 2018 is a very exciting year for Chitra and Roman, the 5th Martinhal resort will be opened. We are looking forward to seeing it!