Friends, we must travel. The first-ever hotel designed by none other than famed French shoe-designer Christian Louboutin opened in April of 2023. The 13 room boutique hotel is tucked away on the coastline of a quaint beach town in Portugal and is filled to the brim with art and craftsmanship from local and international artisans.
We had heard whisperings of this opening for quite some time, and we will admit that we weren’t quite ready to fall head over heels (red-soled heels to be exact). Sometimes luxury fashion doesn’t always seamlessly translate to fantastic interior design, but we’re always ones to admit when we are wrong. On a scale of one to perfect 10, this warm, eclectic design is a true perfect 10. The kind that you will be saving into your home inspiration folders. Each one of the 13 ornate rooms is a unique work of art washed in hand-painted murals, handcrafted artwork and antiques from Louboutin's own personal collection.
You will discover plenty of nods to the iconic brand's signature red popping up throughout the space via plush velvet sofas, embroidered sheets, pool towels and custom beach totes. The venue is more than just a beautifully designed hotel, it’s a place to relax and rejuvenate with a world-class spa and award-winning Portuguese restaurant bringing the Louboutin red cherry on top.
The Backstory “La Vie en Rouge”:
A few decades ago, the French shoe-designer was roaming around Portugal and fell in love with the idyllic beach town of Comporta which became a favorite vacation destination. He soon started exploring further down the coastline and discovered the even quieter town of Melides, becoming entranced with the sleepy village life and eventually moving his atelier there. Louboutin realized that the idyllic beach town didn't have many overnight accommodation options for visitors and in 2019 began working on the design of hotel Vermelho. The name ‘Vermelho’ comes from the iconic shade of bold red that coats the sole of the designer’s luxury shoe collection.
Pictured Above: The Lobby entrance. Vermelho collaborated with Indian design team Klove Studio to craft the green and gold glass-blown art piece inspired by Egypt.
Upon entering the quaint hotel through age-worn wooden doors you will be greeted by a ‘home-like experience’. Accents of alabaster, custom hand painted tiles, ceramic clad floors and walls in fantastic cacophony of colors will feed your gypsy soul. The posh, prestigous paradise is like walking into the vacation estate of a long lost eccentric relative. While the aesthetic is maximalist and eclectic, the service, spa, heated pool and sleepy town will deliver the perfect respite away from the bustling towns of Porto and Lisbon.
Good for Groups: The hotel boasts 13 rooms which makes this an ideal spot for a buyout.
Dinner with Friends: Portuguese Chef David Abreu is at the helm of the onsite restaurant Xtian which can accommodate up to 60 guests. During the daylight hours, the space will comfort you with relaxed bistro style seating, as the sun sets the restaurant is adorned with candles, delivering a romantic wash of flickering light. You will feast on dishes like porco à alentejana (pork with clams), a chicken broth recipe that comes from the chefs grandmother. The olive oil, fruits, fish, produce and meat are all sourced from local farmers and the property will soon have it’s own orchard.
Inside Scoop: If you are a fan of the iconic fountain of Le Sirenuse in Positano created by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ducrot, then you will love the iron ornaments adorning the hotel, crafted in the new rococo style.
Pictured Above: Greek artisan, Konstantin Kakanias painted both the Matinha and Bagas Suites, using inspiration from classical Portuguese design.
Around Town: Away from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon, you will discover the sleepy town of Melides, a pine tree paradise and cosmopolitan mixture of surf spots set along a sandy coastline known famously for being set on "Europe’s longest stretch of uninterrupted beach". With whitewashed houses lining the streets and locals playing cards on bistro tables in front of cute cafes, the beach town is roughly 20 minutes from the popular Portugal destination of Comporta. The small village is more than 500 years old and is famous for its white and blue palette which is characteristic of the Alentejo region, but is starting to see a lot more tourism.
Things to Do:
- Explore the Lagoa de Melides, a beautiful large lagoon that is an ideal spot for wildlife watching, swimming and having beach picnics. The fresh water lagoon, whose sandbar separates it from the ocean, is one of the most photogenic spots in the region. Rent a stand-up paddleboard tour for you and your crew with Surf in Comporta.
- Visit the downtown shopping area of Comporta and follow it up with lunch on the beach at Sublime Comporta Beach Club
- You won’t want to skip dinner on the tiny rooftop of local village restaurant O Melidense after a long beach day. Make sure to try their star dish of grilled sardines, for the vegetarians in the group there are lots of veggie dishes on the menu as well
- Try the traditional arroz de pato (rice and duck) at Tia Rosa
- Have dinner and watch the sunset at local restaurant Sem Nexo. The restaurant is also available to hire for private events and dinners
- Go shopping: the village has two quaint shops to buy souvenirs: Vida Dura, where you can pick up handcrafted dinnerware painted in bright colors and Noemina, which is owned by Noemi Marone Cinzano, Louboutin’s dear friend and the famed heiress of the historic Italian liquor family. The sweet little shop sells home decor, clothing and accessories
- Horseback riding on the beach
- Visit the nearby villages of Porto Covo and Alcácer do Sal
Getting There: The quaint village is about a 90 minute drive from Lisbon. It is highly reccommended to rent a car, as you will want to visit the nearby village of Comporta, beaches and embark on one of the many outdoor experiences. If you don't have transportation, the hotel is roughly 10 minutes from the beach and will provide car service for you and your crew to get there.
Photography: Provided by hotel Vermelho
Rave Reviews: Sometimes the price of a 5 star hotel doesn't align with the service given. A quick glance at online reviews and it seems as though Vermelho is living up to it's luxury status:
- "One of the most notable new five star hotel openings we have seen in years. Every detail of the tasteful decor, guest-focused setup, five star service, Michelin level menu was incredibly well thought out. The choice of the location is a perfection. Away from a more touristy Comporta and near Melides beach which is much less busy despite being more scenic and has an exceptional restaurant (Sem Nexo) where we ended up going 3 times. Lastly, the staff's attention to detail and comfort of guests was unparalleled even in comparison to most 5 star hotels. Great cocktails and lots of interior design inspirations!"
- "Vermelho! What a wonderful hotel, magical and beautiful. I came with my childhood best friends, we stayed 6 nights, and it wasn’t enough. The service was impeccable, the food spectacular, every architectural and interior design detail fascinating. We returned home this week, and are already talking about coming back to Vermelho! Thank you for a fabulous experience."
Read More Portugal Guides Here:
- 11 Serene Escapes in Portugal for Your Next Friendcation
- A Beginners Guide to Exploring 7 of Portugals Regions
- This Portuguese Train Ride is a Nine Hour Michelin Starred Feast