This day last week I was on a whirlwind trip to Portugal to attend the first annual Martinhal Luxury Family Brand Event. I know it's hard to believe as I'm so fancy... ahem... but an offer of a visit to a 5-Star resort in 'the California of Europe' is not something that comes along too often so I was shocked and delighted to have been among those chosen to go.
My travel buddies were ; Olivia Cannon from Cannon Consulting, Jane from Family Friendly HQ, Tracey from Love of Living, Kellie from My Little Babog plus her littlest bábóg, Laura from Confessions Of An Irish Mammy and Niamh from The Irish Fairy Door Company. While we were there we also met Jenny Taaffe from izest Marketing. A nicer bunch of ladies, you couldn't meet. We all got along like a house on fire and I had a pain in my sides from laughing a lot of the time.
The Martinhal resort at Cascais was... simply put... WOW. I found it difficult to believe that somewhere so beautiful could possibly be kid-friendly, but I quickly began to realise that the entire thing had been designed with families in mind. For example, the stunning white furniture originally looked to me like a disaster waiting to happen if there were kids about - but on closer inspection was made of completely 'wipeable' fabric. There were also games and play-areas around every corner. Then there was the complimentary Kid's Clubhouse which looked incredible.
I'm sure Kellie at My Little Bábóg will be able to give a full-report about that area as her baby seemed to fully enjoy her time making use of those particular facilities.
The rooms were extremely comfortable and absolutely beautiful with huge beds, soft linen and and a proper coffee machine. You'll see more in the video I've linked below.The conference was a very enjoyable day. We heard from a host of inspirational speakers - the stand-outs for me being Paul Lindley from Ella's Kitchen, Elsbeth Teeling from Der Club Van Relaxte Moeders and Niamh Sherwin Barry from The Irish Fairy Door Company - who doesn't hold the title of Chief Storyteller for nothing, let me tell you!
At the end of the day, although I was tired, my head was spinning with ideas and I felt very grateful for the opportunity to share a room with such an interesting collection of successful individuals.
As soon as the conference was over, we hopped in a taxi and headed into Lisbon city centre. There we checked into the Martinhal Chiado Family Hotel for the night. This place had a completely diferent vibe to Cascais but was equally comfortable, beautiful and family-centric. Much as I would enjoy a 'resort' style holiday I really and truly love a city break.I could definitely see myself returning to Martihal Chiado with my family in tow and, as I only got the briefest but most tantalizing glimpse of Lisbon - I am dying to return as soon as possible for more.
After a dash through the rain to a fabulous restaurant and a night in the cosy apartment, we were up early again in the morning to head home.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience - just a little too short! Short and sweet, however and as I said, just enough to whet my appetite for more. Portugal is a wonderful destination. Great food, friendly people and a wealth of culture and attractions. I can't wait to go back!
To see more, check out my video below:
Disclosure: I was invited to Martinhal Cascais/Chiado for the purposes of review. I was not compensated in any other way and all views are my own.