On Thursday afternoon I found myself in the very fortunate position of being on a plane on my way to a five star family resort in Portugal. Just your average weekday you know?
I was invited to travel to Martinhal’s Cascais resort to attend their Luxury Family Brand Event. I don’t mean to sound wishy washy but as our flight took off and I looked out the window at the fluffy white clouds I did truly find myself thanking the universe. I can’t quite believe that I find myself in these situations. I feel so lucky.
I travelled with Olivia Cannon from Cannon Consulting, Jane from Family Friendly HQ, Kellie from My Little Babog, Sabdbh from Where Wishes Come From, Laura from Confessions Of An Irish Mammy and Niamh from The Irish Fairy Door Company. We were later introduced to Jenny Taaffe from izest Marketing too. Such a lovely girl and what a fantastic company she runs. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of women to enjoy this trip with. We had so many laughs, chats about the industry and the added bonus was enjoying it alongside the little babog hereself. Kellie brought her eight month old and she is 100% the happiest most chilled out baby I have ever come across.
I could write a million words about the resort and the trip but I’ve had to break it down a little bit because I tend to get over excited about these things.
First up is the conference itself. My God was it filled with inspiration and motivation. One minute we were laughing at Paul Lindley‘s anecdotes about toddlers and business and the next we were bawling crying at Niamh’s (Irish Fairy Door Company) video which visually shows the magic behind the company and their beautiful products. Watch it and show your kids – it’s just pure magic.
The day was jam-packed with speakers from across the globe. There was a lovely myriad of topics and accents. I found it incredibly motivational and it felt like an honour to sit there and have access to such wisdom. The best part about the day was the vibe. I know that sounds odd but I mean it. The vibe was overwhelmingly positive. Paul Lindley’s talk was one of the highlights for me. He is the founder and owner of an incredibly successful business (Ella’s Kitchen… let’s not forget Paddy’s Bathroom too) and he’s talking to us on such an equal level. Telling us that his best ideas and business practices come from thinking like a toddler. He’s even written a book on it. I was also captivated by Elsbeth Teeling‘s words. She is a very successful blogger based in Holland. Her story was really inspiring. Her book came first and she later went on to create a blog due to the demand for her words. An unconventional series of events as we are used to seeing it the other way round. Elsbeth and her husband sat at our table on the first night during our welcome dinner. They are a really lovely couple and her success is so inspiring.
Chitra and Roman Stern are the two wonderful people behind Martinhal and indeed this conference. They curated such a brilliant event and I think every single person left the day feeling as though they had been injected with motivation, inspiration and a plethora of ideas. What more can one ask for? It was a truly brilliant day and I hope to be lucky enough to attend the future events as this is no doubt only the beginning for this conference.
You all know how much I look forward to the food at these kind of things. It was fabulous. I am one of those people who eats everything. Genuinely. There’s a random packet of “iced caramel sweets” that I despise with everything that I am (I think I ate them when I was sick as a child and the memory never left me) but I just eat everything. I particularly love seafood so the food in Cascais and Lisbon was a real treat. Seabass, sizzling garlic and chilli prawns and complementary Lobster and Cray Fish to name but a few. It was devine.
The buffet style food in the Martinhal resort was fantastic. I particularly enjoyed breakfast. There was a huge selection of fresh fruit (Oh my God PAPAYA) and baked goods as well as an impressive hot food selection. I had the nicest breakfast which reminded me of overnight oats. It was a creamy yoghurt which was infused with muesli. I paired it with the most incredible preserved apricots. They were smoothered in an amazing concoction of honey, pink peppercorns and all sorts of other wonderful things. I went for seconds because it was to die for. The food at the conference was also fantastic. We had several coffee breaks which involved lots of fresh fruit, Portugese custard tarts (they have an actual name but I know you will know what I mean. Think Nandos but 1000000% times better), sandwiches, samosas and juices. We were stuffed by the end of the day but still managed a huge meal when we arrived in Lisbon that night. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to stay at Martinhal’s Lisbon hotel for the second night. Our rooms were apartment style and would be perfect for a family. We battled against the torrential rain and found ourselves in this beautiful restaurant. There was lots of bread, olives, steak, prawns and Rose wine so I was in food heaven. What a stunning reataurant. Fabulous ambiance as well as incredible food. I just loved it.
What can I say – Martinhal is some place. It really does offer five star luxury while at the same time being completely family friendly. Kellie availed of their babysitting service and kids club and they were so impressive. I cannot describe how lovely the babysitter was. The minute we met her we got the warmest feeling from her. She was so polite and friendly and you could tell that she genuinely cared about her job and the children she was looking after. The kids clubs were unbelievable. The brightest and cleanest facilities with the loveliest staff. Kellie was back and forth all day checking on her little babog and every time she visited the staff were so engaged with the children. Every child seemed so happy. A real holiday treat for the whole family as parents could enjoy some time alone while the kids genuinely have a ball. It really changed my opinion about kids clubs if I am honest. I always said I wouldn’t use one but now I can see the appeal of using them for a couple of hours. It is 100 times more fun for the children and that is what I learnt at Martinhal.
The decor of the resort is stunning. Big white open spaces. Truly modern and yet still very family friendly. The bedrooms are the best I have ever witnessed. So stylish and luxurious and yet practical at the same time. They have thought of everything. I stupidly forgot my european travel adapter and called reception to chance my arm and was greeted with an “of course”. Less than a minute later there was a knock on my door with a brand new adapter. They go the extra mile and it was such a treat to experience such luxury. Isn’t that what holidays are all about?
The staff are a true credit to the resort and the brand. They make you feel comfortable from the moment you arrive and there is such a positive feeling in every corner of the resort.
I cannot recommend Martinhal enough. If you are looking for luxury accomodation in a seriously family friendly capacity then this place was made for you. Thank you, Martinhal, for a truly wonderful experience.
I was kindly invited to Martinhal for this trip but all opinions and photographs are completely my own.