Toddlers and golfers DO mix! Finding the perfect way to keep all the family happy in Portugal
- Portugal is just a short flight from the UK – and the Algarve has great weather
- Katie Nicholl went to Quinta do Lago with her husband, children and parents
- They stayed at five-star Monte da Quinta, which has indoor and outdoor pools
Family holidays are changing, with tour firm First Choice saying the big new trend is for three generations to head to the sun together for an ‘inter-generational vacation’. It sounds daunting, but I discovered there’s a lot to be said for going away with mum and dad – and the kids.
My parents live just ten minutes away from us in London and, as they help with the childcare, we already see them a lot. But a big family holiday seemed a great way to break up our routine.
We picked Portugal because it’s a short flight, I knew the weather in the Algarve would be good and there were plenty of fabulous golf courses to keep my beach-allergic father and restless husband happy.
The five-star Monte da Quinta in Quinta do Lago. It has a kids’ club and indoor and outdoor pools
Family affair: Katie with her children, husband and parents at the resort in Portugal
With two energetic kids (Matilda, six, and George, two), I warned my parents it wouldn’t be a relaxing holiday. But my dad still started collating a series of thrillers to take with him. I didn’t have the heart to say I’ve yet to finish a book on holiday.
We chose the five-star Monte da Quinta in Quinta do Lago. It has a kids’ club, indoor and outdoor pools, three restaurants, a spa and several golf courses within walking distance.
The three-hour flight to Faro was a breeze as we’d fully charged the tablets and took the children’s favourite books and toys, our favourite game of Uno and a hefty snack box. Collecting our hire car, a seven-seater so that there was space for everyone plus the pram, car seats and luggage, and driving 20 minutes to the hotel was just as easy.
We had booked two family suites and I chose garden rooms so the kids could get outside easily. I also made sure we weren’t next to each other so we had some privacy and my parents didn’t feel they were on constant babysitting duty. That said, the hotel did put a cot in both rooms, which opened up the happy prospect (for my husband and me) of a sleepover for the kids with Nanny and Grandpa.
Once we’d settled in, the concierge helped us put together a perfect itinerary including golf for my father and husband, and a day at the nearby Aqua Show water park and the beach for the rest of us. Key to it all was splitting up occasionally.
Some days my father and husband took George so that my mother, Matilda and I could relax at the hotel spa. On other days, my parents did their own thing while we took the children paddle-boarding, kayaking and for a motorboat ride on a nearby lake. Sometimes we all met up for lunch, notably at Casa do Lago, where we sat on the waterside terrace and enjoyed the sun.
The Bovino restaurant at the resort. It claims to serve the best steak in Portugal
We seemed to eat endlessly and well. The hotel’s Bovino restaurant claims to serve the best steak in Portugal and it didn’t disappoint. We also had a wonderful dinner at Maria’s on the beach where we watched the sunset while sipping delicious wine.
We also checked out The Campus, Quinta’s new sporting facility. A day pass, which costs about £40, lets you use the gym, spa and outdoor pool. Classes are an extra £14 and my mum, a fitness instructor, and I enjoyed power yoga and barre fitness.
Meanwhile, Matilda joined the brilliant football camp Football Escapes for a two-hour training session where she got to wear (and keep) a personalised orange football shirt and shorts.
With George busy building Play-Doh creations at the hotel’s kids’ club, the week flew by and was enormous fun – we had very few toddler tantrums and no grown-up disagreements.
My father even managed to read a book…