Background & Concept
The Martinhal name has become synonymous with luxury family holidays since its conception over 10 years ago. There are four properties (currently) in the Martinhal portfolio located across Portugal, and whether it is one of their beach resorts or a city centre apartment in which you choose to stay each establishment has clearly been designed with families in mind.
One of our favourite quotes from our recent interview with co-founder, Chitra-Stern, is that the team at Martinhal strive to ensure that ‘parents can enjoy the froth on their cappuccino’ and after our recent stay at the Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Apartments we understand how this promise is delivered to each guest. Read on to discover more.
Lisbon is an expansive city with many neighbourhood nooks and places of interest to explore, and the Martinhal Chiado apartments are (in our opinion!) superbly located on the boundaries of Bairro Alto and Chiado, presenting guests with an eclectic mix of sights and sounds right on their doorstep.
Chiado is known for its boutique shopping scene, historic landmarks and multiple theatres and museums whilst Bairro Alto has a more bohemian vibe with cobbled streets, quirky bars, traditional restaurants and great vantage points.
As first-timers to Lisbon, we’d not fully anticipated its size or hilliness – we now understand why it’s called the city of Seven hills! However, we quickly became accustomed to navigating the steep streets and discovered routes back to the conveniently located apartment, with a little one in tow, which meant shoulder carries could be avoided. If you are travelling with little ones or pushchairs then taxis are relatively inexpensive and there are plenty of fun TukTuk adventures and tram rides to enjoy. The apartments are also within walking distance of a metro station, train and ferry station too should you wish to explore more of the surrounding areas and the knowledgeable concierge team are always on hand to advise and help arrange the best means of getting around the city.
The apartments are within easy walking distance of many attractions including Time Out Food Market.
Rooms and Suites
There are 37 apartments at Martinhal Chiado, ranging from a deluxe studio at approx. 31sqm which is ideal for two adults and a baby, through to a two-bedroom deluxe at over 78sqm which accommodates up to two adults and four children. During our stay, we made a one-bedroom suite our home. This was approx. 71 sqm and comprised a double bedroom, a very cool sleeping area with bunk beds, a spacious master bathroom and a single WC along with a sizeable living room and kitchenette. The décor was bright and created a home-from-home atmosphere.
It really is evident that all the little touches have been given huge consideration and reinforce the ethos of making a holiday as easy and as comfortable as possible for families. For example; a little step to reach the sink in the bathroom, a child-friendly toilet seat, non-slip bath mats, milk in the fridge upon arrival, kiddies coat hangers and a cool BMW Isetta car to entertain the little ones in the Bar 1855 The air conditioning in the apartment had been set to the perfect temperature for our arrival and the solid wooden window shutters kept any outside noise and unwanted sunlight to an absolute minimum.
The kitchenette hosted a dining table which would comfortably seat four, and the cooking utensils, crockery and white goods (including a dishwasher and washing machine with washing tablets too) were first-class. Not that we used any but should we’d wished to cook up a storm we had everything we needed to do so. There was also a Nespresso coffee machine with a selection of welcome capsules for the all-important caffeine kick.
As standard guests receive a welcome pack which includes; a bottle of water, a bottle of milk, chocolate milk shake and a selection of seasonal fresh fruit.
The Martinhal Lisbon Chiado Family Apartments is set across two buildings which underwent an extensive refurbishment and were merged into one when Martinhal acquired the site, as such access to some of the apartments is done via two different lifts or if you’d prefer (and depending on which floor you are located) a short walk up the beautiful staircase!
Food & Drink
Breakfast is served in the hotel’s Bar 1855, where a selection of child and adult-friendly cereals, fresh fruit, bread, homemade cakes and pastries along with a selection of jams and honey (dripping straight from the honeycomb – which I couldn’t get enough of!) was served. Guests could also choose from a simple hot breakfast too.
To make life even easier, there is also the option to pre-order breakfast and have it delivered to your room, we did this the first morning of our stay and we were super impressed with the quality and quantity. And should your departure time be at an unsociable hour, the team will arrange for a simple breakfast in a box to be delivered to your room or collect it at check out so you can eat it on the go.
Bar 1855 (named after the year in which the original building was built) also serves light lunches such as tapas, pinchos and pizza along with daily specials. We didn’t dine here, but it seemed a popular choice with other hotel guests. We did, however, enjoy a gin-based cocktail on a couple of occasions, the atmosphere was so relaxed and child-friendly that it was the preferred choice for a nightcap with our little boy, the novelty of the BMW Isetta was definitely an attraction!
A children’s menu along with a dedicated dinner time for those children staying at the kid’s club is also provided. We didn’t take advantage of the service
These apartments are designed for living, and as mentioned above, all the facilities within each apartment are carefully considered so that a family can have all they need at their fingertips to enjoy a real ‘home-from-home’ experience. In addition to these exceptionally well-done basics, one of the main attractions is the onsite kids club and childcare facilities. This bright, spacious and fun club occupies the ground floor and is set across two rooms with an array of free-play activities, including a mini climbing wall and cinema screen along with various scheduled activities and workshops throughout the day and as Lisbon is a city that comes alive at night, Martinhal’s kid’s club is open until 10pm with a disco and/or cinema showing for the little ones to enjoy. There is also an extended hours babysitting service and a baby concierge service so if you don’t want to bring your own bottle sterilisers, baby gates and potties with you, simply request from the concierge.
We didn’t make use of the kid’s club, however, during our stay we noticed that the children at the club varied in age from babies through to approx. 6/7 years old and the parents we spoke to spoke highly of the club.
Martinhal Lisbon Chiado was a wonderful base, in a great location with everything a family would need for a great city break. I think my next visit to Lisbon would be an adult-only one to really enjoy the nightlife and food scene but if it was with a child I’d highly recommend this as a place to call home.