Monthly Parenting Magazine

A parent-pleasing stay at Domes Lake Algarve

A parent-pleasing stay at Domes Lake Algarve

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Carly Glendinning visits Domes Lake Algarve, for a parent and kid-pleasing getaway

Before we became parents, my husband and I had been on very few resort holidays. Even our honeymoon was a pack-as-much-you-can-in USA road trip, because truth be told I’m just not that great at relaxing by the pool. 

Travel has (inevitably) changed a lot since we’ve had our daughter. With a toddler in tow there’s still not a lot of relaxation, but the convenience of a resort has definitely become a lot more appealing. 

Despite this, I think a lot of parents will be with me when I say I can’t bring myself to book a stereotypical family getaway. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean you wake up one day and no longer care about stylish hotel rooms, access to a luxury spa, or a quiet stretch of coastline. 

Very much wanting the best of both worlds, we decided to book a stay at Domes Lake Algarve. Overlooking Praia de Falesia, the stylish family-focused resort is renowned for being as much geared towards parents as it is little ones. 

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We were staying in the stylishly decorated Sapphire Retreat with views overlooking the pool and lake. But what we loved most about the room was the enormous bed. The hotel had set up a travel cot for our two-year old, but we had plenty enough space for co-sleeping. The room also had a balcony, which was great in the evenings when we wanted to have a glass of wine after putting our little one to bed. The bathroom had a separate bath and shower, and we loved the thoughtful little touches such as Le Petit Prince toiletries. 

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Our stay included a buffet breakfast and dinner at Gustatio restaurant. Not your run-of-the-mill buffet, we were really impressed with the sheer variety on offer and how good the food was. There were plenty of options for our picky toddler, and also lots of plant-based dishes for me. The hotel describes the food as ‘Portuguese comfort cuisine with a Mediterranean twist’. Breakfast was mountains of fresh fruit, porridge, and beautifully baked traditional pastries. My husband indulged in a cooked breakfast, and my daughter picked from our plates. For dinner, there was an array of salads, fresh seafood, and other dishes inspired from around the world. Having the option to eat early (the evening buffet starts at 6.30pm) and have lots of little tastes of different things was perfect if you have kids. We ate lunch at Makris on the Lake, which has a relaxed vibe and serves lots of crowd pleasers – including a very good burger and fries. The hotel also has two other restaurants: Topos, which serves award-winning neo-Greek seafood, and Soros, a beach-bar restaurant (above). 

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We put our daughter in the kids club one morning so that my husband and I could visit the spa together. We’ve never done this on holiday before and it felt like a huge treat to have a couple of hours to ourselves. First up was a couples massage, which was so relaxing I nearly fell asleep. We then spent some time in the plunge pools, indoor swimming pool, sauna, and steam room. The space is beautifully designed and we were very lucky to have it all to ourselves. I wish we could’ve stayed all day, but a few hours of us-time did us the world of good. 

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We were really impressed with how geared towards little ones Domes Lake Algarve is. The resort not only has a big swimming pool, but also a lake with a man-made beach. This was heaven for our toddler and meant that we really didn’t need to leave the resort if we didn’t want to. The resort is right next to a beautiful stretch of coastline, so we did venture out one afternoon and our little one had so much fun running in and out of the waves. The hotel has beach sun loungers and you can borrow towels too. It was really quiet when we were there in September. The resort also has a brilliant adventure playground complete with lifesize wooden jeep. Kiepos, the kids club, was quite quiet at the time of year that we visited, but the staff were so sweet with my daughter and she didn’t want to leave when we came to collect her. Mini Club is for babies and toddlers from four months up to four years, and the kids club is from age four to 12. Activities include yoga, recycled crafts, and pirate face painting. 

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The Algarve is a great destination for families with year-round sunshine. We didn’t feel the need to leave the resort, as everything we needed was there. But there’s lots to do in the area for families, with Zoo de Lagos, and Zoomarine (and aqua theme park) nearby. Vilamoura offers busting markets and a picturesque marina. The resort is 30 minutes from Ria Formosa, a natural wetland paradise, and the area’s natural wonders can be enjoyed inside the resort with beautifully landscaped gardens and lots of wildlife to observe. It’s also minutes away from five world-acclaimed golf courses. All in all, we couldn’t recommend Domes Lake Algarve for a family-friendly holiday more.