One of my biggest worries before having a baby (which is why I took so long to have one!) was the change in lifestyle. I loved my life before. We travelled a ton, and since moving to London it got even better from that perspective. Travel feeds my soul and the thought of giving it up after having a baby was really scary.
While now there are lifestyle adjustments of course, like fewer nighttime activities and a slower pace on holidays, we’ve kept our lifestyle mostly the same which has been great. That said, Arin is a really easygoing baby (thanks SNOO!) so we’ve been able to take him along to most things. Travelling is totally possible to do with a baby, you just need to be a bit flexible and easygoing when it comes to routine etc.
While I was pregnant, I started looking up baby friendly resorts, and Martinhal came up as a recommendation so many times. I had it at the back of my mind for ages, and when we finally got Arin’s passport it was the first place I wanted to visit.
There are few Martinhal hotels all over Portugal, but we went to the Algarve, known for its beautiful beaches. All we wanted to do was just chill and have beach time, and this fit the bill perfectly.
We had a 2 storey Bay House, fitted with everything we could possibly need for the baby. Nappy bin, cot, baby bath, high chair, baby crockery and cutlery, even stair gates. The rooms are designed with babies in mind, so you won’t find any sharp edges anywhere, for example. The house had 2 balconies and a garden, so it was wonderful to spend time chilling here. Since having Arin, we’ve realised we can’t really book single hotel rooms anymore. He needs space to crawl, and when he goes down at night we need a separate area to have the lights on, chat etc. This house had more than enough space for us to be comfortable.
The resort is made up of hotel rooms, bay houses or garden houses like the one I stayed in, and larger villas, which would be great for a group. It is a luxury property so cost is on the higher end, but a stay becomes a lot more affordable in low season (Nov – Mar.) The Algarve is sunny all year round, so going in low season is a great option to experience the resort at a bargain.
We were there for 4 nights, which was the perfect amount of time to properly relax. Mealtimes were a dream – there were tons of babies around, so we didn’t feel awkward if Arin started fussing or if he messed food everywhere – there was a lady whose sole job it was to sweep under the high chairs! (If only I could have that at home :D) The restaurants all had baby menus, and one of the restaurants even had a baby buffet – which is free for under 2s. It was great for Arin to try different cuisines and it meant that his food was ready as soon as we sat down. All the restaurants also had soft play areas and a supervisor for kids over 2.
We didn’t leave the resort for the duration of our stay, because there was just so much to do. There’s an on site creche for EUR25 for 2 hours, so we checked Arin in everyday and used the time to read, play tennis, swim or just have some much needed couple time.
Pools all have paddling areas for toddlers, so we spent a lot of time with Arin swimming, or playing in the sandpit or on the swings. I also took advantage of the daily yoga sessions overlooking the beach. We tried swimming in the ocean but it was way too cold.
The resort is like a mini village, complete with its own supermarket, so you really don’t need to leave. It was the perfect recharge we needed – it felt like they had thought of absolutely everything. Every flight of stairs had a ramp for prams!
Martinhal has done a great job of catering to new parents – would highly recommend them for baby’s first holiday! Thanks to Martinhal for hosting us during our stay – we had a great time.