Paint the Town Red: Christian Louboutin’s New Boutique Hotel in Portugal 

Acclaimed French shoe designer Christian Louboutin has stepped into the world of hospitality with the debut of his very first boutique hotel in the picturesque coastal town of Melides, Portugal. 

World renowned for his eponymous red-lacquered soles, Louboutin aptly named the five-star luxury hotel that opened its doors this past spring Vermelho (pronounced vermelyo), which means “red” in Portuguese.

Located about 80 miles south of Lisbon, Melides (pronounced Melidesh) is situated in Portugal’s Alentejo region. The area boasts the last unspoiled stretch of Atlantic Ocean coast in southern Europe, with 40 miles of pristine beach and hundreds of square miles of cork oak fields, vineyards and rice paddies. 

Melides, Portugal

Louboutin has retreated to this special part of the globe for years, finding inspiration from the country’s unique light and local culture to design his popular fashion collections, alongside other creatives including the artist Anselm Kiefer, actress Sharon Stone, and architect and designer Philippe Starck. 

Vermelho Hotel is found right in the middle of town, unassuming from the rest of the neighboring white-washed and blue-accented buildings on a charming cobblestone street that feels like a home away from home. Once inside, you step into Louboutin’s fantastical world, where the interior serves as a showcase for the designer’s love of one-of-a-kind artisanal works and passion for global cultures. 

“I realized many people have the fantasy of designing or owning a hotel. I like to make my dreams a reality. That is why Vermelho was born,” says Louboutin. “This project allows me to empty my storage full of antiques and objects I have purchased over many years! Furthermore, it is an opportunity to show the excellence of many artists and artisans I admire.”

Each of the 13 rooms at Vermelho is different from the other, where Louboutin’s hands-on approach and eclectic, maximalist aesthetic shines through personally sourced furniture and a vibrant collection of art and objets that celebrate Portuguese talent and traditions. 

Guests can cool off in the pool, relax in the tranquil garden designed by famed French landscape architect Louis Benech or indulge in a selection of soothing spa treatments. 

The onsite restaurant, Xtian, serves Portuguese classics with international nuances in a bistro-style setting, while the Vermelho Bar is impressively crafted from hammered silver leaf that’s imported from a workshop in Seville, Spain. Insider tip: Order the Melides Mule, Louboutin’s personal twist on the classic Moscow Mule cocktail that substitutes port wine for vodka with carbonated water and ginger ale., @hotelvermelho

Photos courtesy Ambroise Tezenas & Vermelho Hotel

This story appeared in the AZ Foothills Innovators 2023 issue. Read the full issue here.

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