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Algarve resort is the Holy Grail - a family friendly place for small kids where adults can chill

Mirror logo Mirror 5/02/2017 Sara Wallis

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Let’s be perfectly honest. Going on a relaxing holiday with young kids... is a sentence you never hear. Or if you do, the parents are probably lying.

A holiday with little ones is basically life as normal, but with different scenery – and much more inconvenient because you don’t have instant access to every child-related piece of paraphernalia in your house.

Ever since Josh, now four, and Leah, two-going-on-14, came along, hubby and I have mournfully said goodbye to foreign travel and retired our rucksacks to the loft.

Our admirable collection of travel books are now well out of date and hidden under a pile of Peppa Pig books. And the idea of lying by a pool with a book for more than two minutes uninterrupted has seemed as likely as discovering the lost city of Atlantis.

So you can imagine my shock to discover our trip to Martinhal Quinta resort in Portugal’s Algarve, was... relaxing.

I’d even go so far as to say I came back feeling refreshed, rather than exhausted from jetlag, smeared in Weetabix and vowing never to leave the country again.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc The resort is a collection of authentic villas, each with their own private pool, but with hotel facilities too.

So it’s the best of both worlds – you can enjoy a buffet breakfast and ice cream by the hotel pool, but still put the kids to bed in their room and enjoy a glass of wine on your own terrace.

There’s even a pizza service, and I may have “accidentally” sampled a couple of cocktails at the pool bar while I waited for the pizza and hubby put the kids to bed.

This means no doing laps of a resort trying to get your little darlings to sleep in the buggy.

And no lying deadly still in a dark hotel room at 8pm, scared to switch on your iPad lest two little people pop up their heads like meerkats to see if CBeebies has magically appeared.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Martinhal even has a baby concierge service, which means that the paraphernalia I mentioned is all there for you on request. Whether it’s a tot’s toilet seat, bed guards or stairgates. And little touches like colourful plastic plates and cups at breakfast and in your villa, remind you that kids are welcome and well catered for.

The communal pool has slides perfect for younger kids, a mini splash park, sandpit, trampoline and a camper van. It’s amazing how long a child will be amused by pretending to drive a static vehicle.

Older kids will be happy chilling out in the games room, while the Raposinhos Kids Club entertains children from six months to eight. They’ll even provide a babysitter if you want to investigate that alternative universe you may remember – night life.

But if we’re being perfectly honest, there is much to be said for a villa with air con, a smart TV (with English channels), DVD player, and access to a shop for a bottle of wine and a bag of popcorn.

And the next morning, it’s back to the shop for freshly baked bread to have with your Nespresso at your villa, which, by the way, has a washing machine for those ice cream emergencies, and a daily cleaning service, just for extra smug holiday points.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc On our first day, hubby and I met a family who proudly boasted that in two weeks they had not once left the resort – and we exchanged disapproving eye rolls, because of course, we are intrepid travellers right?

Day two, and we really can’t be bothered to go anywhere just yet. We’ll just get over the jetlag – although there is none because there is no time difference with the UK.

And by day three, well, what could possibly be the point of moving?

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc But being ever so brave, we did venture out, and there is plenty on offer. The hotel shuttle whisks you to the nearest beach in a few minutes if you fancy a paddle in the sea or in our case, some competitive sandcastle action.

And whatever the season or weather, golfers will be in paradise all year round as the resort is in the exclusive golfing haven of Quinta Do Lago. A round or two of mini golf was good enough for us, plus there are pedalos, inflatables and bike rides at the stunning lake, not to mention shops, towns and villages to explore.

In fact, leaving Martinhal and Quinta Do Lago after our holiday was like emerging out of a bizarre (but wonderful) holiday bubble. Our cheery mood lasted so long that we didn’t even notice the budget flight home, and we began merrily discussing our next foreign trip.

We’ve realised the world is our oyster – just so long as it comes with stairgates and a children’s menu.

Is that too much to ask?

Credits: Photographer's Choice © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Photographer's Choice

BOOK IT Martinhal Quinta Family Resort has seven nights on B&B in a two-bedroom townhouse with private pool (four adults and one baby; or two adults, two children up to 12 years and one baby) from around £767 including wi-fi and kids club. Valid for stays to March 31. martinhal. com/quinta/en/

GETTING THERE Ryanair flies to Faro from Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Newquay, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Prestwick and Stansted from £14.99 one way. ryanair.com

TOP TIPS Request a pool fence if you have little ones – not all villas have them. Order a supermarket shop online with Apolonia (apolonia.com). They’ll deliver.

MORE INFO From visitportugal.com


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