This is a review of Martinhal Chiado family suites, a gorgeous family hotel in the heart of Lisbon. We spent a wonderful Easter break here and this is what we loved the most about this convenient and welcoming hotel.
A family city trip to Lisbon had been high on my travel agenda for some time. I visited Lisbon for the first time over 20 years ago and the city had left me with beautiful memories of diffused light, old world splendour and friendly vibes.
I knew the city would prove a hit with both Philip and the kids but there was one element that stopped me from booking a trip there until now: Lisbon’s hills! Lisbon is built on 7 hills, just like my native Rome, and part of its charm is made of the steep cobbled streets and rickety tram rides negotiating this peculiar geography.
How family friendly would it prove? Would my kids embrace the hills or would the trip end up in frustration for all?
The solution to this dilemma presented itself: one day, while browsing facebook, I came across the Martinhal hotel’s page and their proposition of luxury family city suites in the centre of Lisbon.
I booked the following day.
Martinhal Chiado Review
Martinhal Chiado practical info
- What is it: Martinhal Chiado is a family hotel part of the Martinhal brand, a group of Portuguese luxury hotels catering for families.
- Location: Chiado, one of Lisbon’s city centre district
- Category: 5*
- Facilities: beautiful family apartments (studio, one and two bedrooms) with cooking facilities, washer/dryer, baby items (high chair, bathroom step etc), cafe/restaurant on site, baby and kids club and baby concierge service.
- Attractions nearby: Lisbon city centre is at your doorstep (Including Convento de Carmo, Elevador de Santa Justa and the river) and the closest metro station is one minute up the road
Martinhal Chiado: arrival and welcome
We got to Lisbon in the morning, a little worse for wear after a long night and an early flight.
The city welcomed us in all its dusty splendour: the efficient metro system brought us to the city centre in no time and we soon found the cobbled street that would become our home away from home: Rua das Flores.
We had hoped for good weather and had optimistically left our jackets back in Dublin but that morning Lisbon had different plans for us.
The sky was grey and a light rain was falling on us, making us a little too cold for comfort.
I looked at steep Rua das Flores with a little concern but my kids soon spotted something that would change the course of the day: with stars in their eyes, they dashed to the window of a cafe sporting colourful decor and a small car. ‘Here, I want to go here!’ they both screamed and before I had the time to say that no, we had to go to the hotel first, I realised the cafe WAS the hotel!
What an amazing surprise: Martinhal was in front of us and their cheerful, welcoming cafe/restaurant was the one attracting the kid’s attention.
We soon went in and were tended to straight away. Recognising our need for coffee (6.45 am flight!) they welcomed us to the hotel, got our bags, gave a present each to the kids and let us relax in the cafe.
It was one of those moments that make you feel on holiday: beautiful surroundings, kids playing and parents chilling in front of a hot coffee. It was perfect.
Martinhal family city suites: our room
After our injection of caffeine (plus a hot chocolate and sandwich for the kids and a delightful beef carpaccio for me), we went to our room.
Martinhal welcomes you like a hotel, with a 24h reception and a super attentive service, but the rooms are not really rooms but rather full of apartments. We had one on the first floor and it had a hall, a large living area with open space kitchen, a large room for us parents and of course a fully equipped bathroom.
The building hosting the Martinhal Family suites is historical and strikes the perfect balance between charm and modern comfort. The reception has beautiful, thick stone walls and large windows with wooden shutters open over the nearby streets.
The windows are equipped with thick glass, blocking outside noise (the apartments are incredibly quiet, which is unexpected in such a central location) and for safety reasons they are locked, so you can enjoy the light and view without worry.
The apartments are air conditioned and we didn’t need to open the windows, but should you want to it is possible to ask reception for the key.
Our room was equipped with a lovely kitchen with all we needed for our stay.
On the table, we got a ‘survival kit’ with bottled water, milk, biscuits and lovely Nespresso coffee (complimentary to all guests) and the kitchen was equipped with all necessities.
Rooms come with high chairs, they all have a bathroom step for the kids and if you have a baby you can avail of the baby concierge service. This is a fantastic service that allows you to ask the hotel pretty much anything you may need for your baby: bottle warmers, potties, you name it, they get it for you, so you have all your home comforts without having to lug your house around on your travels.
Martinhal’s Lisbon kids club
The first things my kids noticed about the hotel was the cafe but the second was the kids’ club.
As you enter the reception, you see on your left a door decorated with the signature Martinhal mascotte (a fox, really cute!) opening up to a colourful room full of toys, tables and games.
This is the kids’ club, the supervised space where parents can leave the kids in safe hands while exploring the city.
The kids’ club is open to babies and kids up to early teens and offers a variety of activities suited to each age.
The space is wonderful: clean, welcoming, spacious and full of wooden toys and colourful games.
The kids club is open during the day but also in the evening and it’s an excellent way for parents and kids to mix time together and individual needs. You can leave the kids in the club all day or you can go sightseeing with them and then go for dinner or listen to fado while they play in the hotel. I found this a lovely approach that would suit all types of parenting and family travel styles.
An important note about safety. All rooms in Martinhal, including the kids club and the cafe, are operated by electronic keys. This is a fantastic extra touch as it means kids cannot leave any area without the supervision of an adult nor operate the lift. It’s a little thing that makes a huge difference!
For this city break, we partnered up with Martinhal who had us as their guests for the purposes of this review.
This arrangement might make you feel that my enthusiastic words about Martinhal are biased but I can tell you in all honesty that we adored the place. We found it convenient, comfortable and luxurious in a non-arrogant, non- pretentious kind of way and we felt truly welcomed while here.
Martinhal Chiado embodies the very same family travel philosophy I have, that families can and should visit cities and that a ‘family friendly’ hotel is more than a place where kids are tolerated but one where both adults and kids can carve their own experience and build family memories.
At the end of our trip, we are going to stay in another Martinhal property, Martinhal Cascaiscas (on the coast), and we are already looking forward to it.
Do you have a city hotel you loved and just can’t stop singing the praises of? Maybe you have also been to Martinhal? Let me know in the comments!