This sophisticated, well-located hotel in a refurbished historic building has all the hallmarks of a stylish boutique lodging, but there's zero stuffiness here at this family-focused spot. Billing itself as 'The World's First City Center Elegant Family Hotel', Martinhal Chiado opened in 2017, and offers stylish kid-friendly self-catered suites as well as stress-busting extras rarely seen outside of large resorts. A Kids' Club with pajama parties, babysitting service, and 'baby concierge' as well as strollers for hire all make for a painless city break, and there's no need to worry about younger members of the family chattering loudly over breakfast, as virtually every guest here has their own brood to manage. From the bright red BMW Isetta in the cafe to the friendly staff, everything at the hotel is geared towards making a stay here enjoyable for every member of the family.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Access to the hotel is up a fairly steep slope, so it's best to take a cab when dealing with strollers, heavy luggage, or tired little legs
The 37 smart, well-equipped rooms at this small city center hotel are all unique in terms of size and layout, but all will appeal to parents and kids alike. Sophisticated decor, with colorful art works depicting typical Lisbon street scenes, will please style-conscious parents, while kids will love the bunk beds and the welcome packs which include cookies, milk, and juice. All suites are air conditioned and have living areas as well as kitchens and dining spaces, complete with high chairs for very young visitors. Some rooms have Juliette balconies, with views of the Chiado district and down to the river. This is a busy part of town, but good sound-proofing means everybody should get a good night's sleep.
Suite layouts vary, with children's beds in the main bedroom, lounge or in separate rooms for kids. A couple have fun loft spaces (with stair guards, naturally).
Bathrooms have tubs with overhead showers, and all the kiddie essentials, from footstools to toilet seats.
The lobby area is compact but smart, with exposed brick and arched ceilings offering a glimpse into the storied history of the building, while framed TinTin and Marvel Comics covers lend the area a child-friendly appeal. Through a glass door, kids can peek into the colorful staffed play area, which has everything from tents and soft toys to arts and craft material.
Adjoining the lobby, but with a separate entrance for non-guests, the M Bar is a fun and relaxed space for kids and adults alike. A stationary BMW Isetta at the entrance provides a focal point of attention for little ones to play in, while the bright colors and comic book covers add color to this otherwise fairly minimalist space, with its exposed wood and stone. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as drinks and snacks throughout the day. There's a focus on fresh, wholesome ingredients, with daily juice specials and wholegrain breads.
M Bar can deliver a breakfast basket to guests in their room, if preferred.
The M Bar doubles as a cafe and bar, and has a good selection of cocktails, coffees, and wines, making it a good place to unwind while kids whizz around with new-found friends.
Lisbon is a hilly city, so slings and baby carriers are a more practical option than strollers (watch out for the slippy cobblestone side walks, too), but strollers are available for hire at reception if necessary. The hotel is located on one of the city's seven hills, making it a bit of a climb for little ones, although walking down to the waterfront is easier. The hilly location means it's best to take a cab or Uber from the airport, an 8-mile drive away. The hotel is a few minutes' walk from Cais do Sodre ferry/metro/train station, which has links to the sights of Belem via train, and the beaches of Sesimbra and Costa da Caparica via ferry and bus. Metro Baixa/Chiado is a 5-minute walk from the hotel and has connections to the airport. Rossio, a 15-minute walk away, has fast links to the child-pleasing town of Sintra, with its fairytale castles and palaces.
The hotel offers babysitting either at the Kids Club or in-apartment, and with fun pajama parties and film sessions, kids are unlikely to complain if their parents head out for the night to explore Lisbon's restaurant scene. An obligatory stop either with or without kids is Mercado da Ribeira (5-10 minute walk), which brings some of Lisbon's best culinary offers together under one roof in a shared dining space. For a kid-free treat, head to the Michelin-starred Belcanto (6-minute walk), the restaurant that made chef Jose Avillez a household name in Portugal and a world-renowned culinary talent.
With the kids so well looked after, it would be rude not to explore Lisbon's famous nightlife. The hotel is located very close to the lively Cais do Sodre, with its many lively late night bars. The most famous is Pensão Amor (5-minute walk), a grown-ups only complex of bars, cafes and shops with a faintly risque vibe that nods to the building's past as a bordello. For drinks and snacks en-famille, visit Quiosque do Cais (5-minute walk), near the Mercado da Ribeira. With a heated seating area, sun loungers and-best of all-a small but well-equipped playground, it serves cocktails and light meals with family-friendly atmosphere.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Quite simply, this is a game-changing concept for city breaks with the family. Martinhal Chiado has all the kid-pleasing benefits of a large resort, in a city center location and with super-stylish design. The Kids Club, pajama parties, and babysitting services mean parents can head out for an evening in Lisbon, and the rooms, services, and facilities are all aimed at minimizing stress and maximizing fun for every member of the group.