Marina Fogle: Algarve Martinhal Hotel on the beach
As a founder of The Bump Class one of the things we really try hard to do is prepare women for life as a mother. Until you experience the realities of your life being dominated by your little bundle of joy, you don’t realise the magnitude of the changes. And nowhere is that change more evident than going on holiday. A friend once explained how the term holiday when it involved children is misleading: actually it should just be called ‘travelling with children’.
We took a while to find our feet when travelling with children but during our Easter holiday in 2013, we had a revelation. On the recommendation of a friend in the know, we travelled to the Algarve, where, nestled in a national park and surrounded by wild flowers, lies a gem of a hotel, the Martinhal. Not only is the hotel the height of low key chic andaspoiling place for the most discerning of parents, but it embraces children and makes sure their holiday is as memorable as it is for their parents.
Who’s it good for? Martinhal is recommended for families with young children, hence the baby four-night package created by Marina. It’s also just a short 3 hour flight from London, so if you’re looking for beautiful sunny weather and hassle taken out of travelling with your new baby, head to the Algarve.
There aren’t many places that have managed to combine spoiling parents with embracing the needs of children of all ages so seamlessly. In every restaurant there is a table supervised by one of the eternally energetic staff, filled with colouring, lego and puzzles that the children could go and spend some time. It meant that, for the first time since we’d become parents, we could enjoy a leisurely glass of rose before our food arrived.
For those who just want to be spoilt, each restaurant also boasts a ‘puree menu’ so that your baby, whatever age, can eat with you.
Facilities: For a hotel to be really spoiling it has to go beyond great facilities, beautiful rooms and a great location. It’s all about the detail, and when it comes to children this is the most impressive at the hotel. If you speak to the baby concierge before you arrive and let them know what you’ll need for your children, everything will be on hand when you arrive and will make packing mercifully easy.
Not just for the kids though, the 25-hectare beach resort takes its ‘barefoot luxury’ ethos seriously for families. It has a spa for parents, kids’ clubs, sports club and an array of restaurants to suit all tastes – so parents can indulge in the joys of this luxurious resort.
Family suites: The kitchenettes in the rooms are fully equipped with tupperware and equipment to puree baby food. From cots to sterilisers, high chars to stair gates; they have thought of it alland it makes travelling with your newborn or toddler much less complicated.
The Baby’s First Holiday package is a four night stay with breakfast, staying in a one bedroom garden house. The package includes two hours childcare at Raposinhos Crèche per day (6 months – 24 months), a baby and parents water experience, a relaxing massage and a three course romantic meal with babysitting services.
Price: This four night break will cost from €864.
How to get there: British Airways flies from London to Faro from £140 return.