We flew to Porto Santo on a direct flight from Manchester with Thomson. It took about 4 hours and amazingly, LO coped quite well with the flight as we had stocked up on plenty of snacks, water and had a wealth of episodes of Postman Pat and Fireman Sam on the iPad. We did arrive quite late but turnaround at the airport was really efficient and we managed to get on the first transfer coach. With a really short transfer journey of 10 minutes, we arrived at the hotel at about 9:30 and were greeted with a warm welcome, a cold glass of prosecco or orange juice and the most efficient check in service I've ever seen. They had lots of members of staff on reception and you didn't even need to worry about carrying your cases to your room as they brought those on once you had settled in.
Pestana Porto Santo is an all inclusive beach resort so pretty much everything is included. Before we went, we had read that room service was also included but unfortunately this is a myth. We booked to stay in a suite, because we find it so much easier to have a separate bedroom and living space so LO can get to sleep and have naps without us disturbing him or having to go and sit in the bathroom. The decor had a lovely bright, contemporary seaside feel to it.
I found the bed incredibly hard although it was absolutely huge! We were lucky that we were on the ground floor and had two verandas which looked out onto the gorgeous pool. We enjoyed not having to use stairs all week.
The living area was again very light and airy. The sofa could be pulled out to make an additional bed as well if you needed to use that. We find it makes a huge difference to the whole holiday being able to have a separate living room to the bedroom and it was nice to just relax and watch a bit of TV in the evenings.
Even though the hotel is all inclusive, the room still had a small kitchenette with sink, fridge and a small cooker. We did't use these at all but it's useful to have just in case. There was also a dining area.
The hotel pool was huge and built in a gorgeous lagoon style. It spanned the length of the hotel and was really beautifully landscaped. There was a covered section at one end which we used a few times when the weather turned rainy at the end of the week.
The view of the pool snack bar. We alternated going here for lunch with going to the buffet restaurant. They did a wide variety of grilled burgers and hot dogs, chips and other hot buffet snacks along side sandwiches and toasties and a salad bar. Drinks and coffees were available from here from 11am until 7pm, at which point the buffet restaurants and the bar opened, so there was never a point during the day when you couldn't get food.
The scenery and gardens were just stunning. You could easily spend hours just wandering around the edge of the pool. We also liked that the ground floor apartments were slightly set back from the edge of the pool so there was no worry of LO wandering out of the room and falling in the pool.
The staff at Pestana Porto Santo are amazing. They were so friendly and welcoming and so good with LO. I think it's the staff which really made the holiday an amazing one for us. From the waiters and waitresses to the cleaners, animation team and ground staff, they all worked tirelessly every day and always had time to give LO a high five, which he loved. Even a month on, he's still talking about one of the waiters!
In the evenings, the hotel bar, which is located on this upper level, had entertainment on for the guests. We actually didn't get chance to go as entertainment started around 9:30pm, by which point LO was tucked up in bed so obviously we were in the hotel room with him.
If you do want to venture out of the complex, the hotel provides a free open top bus service a few times a day which drives you to the nearest town Vila Baleira. We got the bus at around 10am, spent a couple of hours having a wander and an ice cream and then got the same bus back again at around 1pm.
In the town there is a Christopher Columbus museum, a lovely little church, cafes and a few small gift shops. We probably could have found more to do but we picked a really hot day to go and Lo and I didn't have much energy to do lots of walking.
If you're a bit more adventurous than us, you can hire one of these cool electric bubble cars from the hotel and go for a bit of an explore around the island.
It is unusual for us to not go out and explore the local area on holiday, but with a 2 year old and being heavily pregnant, we didn't feel it was the right time to be trekking about in the heat. As it was our first experience of all inclusive, we were worried we might be a bit bored, but we weren't at all. With a gorgeous beach right by the hotel and such a large lagoon pool and a baby pool too, we found enough to do to keep LO occupied during the day. At the baby pool, there are some children's swings (no baby ones) a bouncy castle, a huge sandy play area and climbing frame built like a pirate ship and a kids club which wasn't really in use when we were there as it was term time, but it is staffed and is for children aged 4-12 years. One great thing was that there were loads of toys and inflatables for guests to use, so there was no need to take anything, except arm bands if your little one uses those.
The Pestana Porto Santo has a buffet restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. We found the buffet had such a great variety of food on offer, with salads, cold meats, hot dishes and a show grill where the chef cooks your food to order. One of the best things about the resort is that as a guest, you are entitled to also use the facilities at the sister resort next door called Pestana Porto Colombos. The food was pretty much the same but the restaurant felt a little bit more classy in the evenings. We opted to have breakfast at the Colombos every day as we enjoyed the morning walk and they had a 'liquid kitchen' where they made fresh fruit smoothies to order.
There are also 4 themed restaurants located around the two resorts- Italian, Japanese, Madeiran and Mediterranean (which is for over 12's only). They say it's advisable to book these at the start of your holiday, which we did, but I don't think there was any need to. Initially we booked one meal at the Italian and one at the Madeiran, but later cancelled the Madeiran as we didn't fancy the food on the menu (a lot of meat). They happily let us go to the Italian again instead. Here they have the same salad bar as in the buffet restaurant, and an a la carte menu for the main course. We tried the pizza, lasagne, risotto and calzoni, all of which were delicious. The desserts in all the restaurants were amazing- buffet style, so you could help yourself to as much as you wanted.
This was the view of our ground floor suite (we had the two verandas on the left). We had such an amazing week and felt genuinely sad to leave at the end. We will definitely go back again when we have two little boys, either next year or the year after. We can highly recommend Pestana Porto Santo Beach resort as a place to go for a relaxing break, either with family or as a couple.
I have made a video documenting some amazing memories of our family week away- a particularly special one for us as it's LO's last holiday before baby brother arrives.