Perched in an unassuming agricultural area in the heart of the picturesque coastal village of Melides, Portugal, lies a hidden gem that combines fashion and luxury in the most extraordinary way.
How could we not lunch at Vermelho Hotel Melides? This boutique 5-star luxury hotel is the brainchild of renowned shoe designer Christian Louboutin.
Vermelho, which translates to “red” in Portuguese, is an ideal tribute to his signature hue, while the design pays homage to the area’s exquisite natural beauty and cultural history.
Just south of Comporta and Lisbon, we thoroughly enjoyed this idyllic part of Europe, where lush vineyards, sparkling rice fields, serene white cobbled squares, and majestic views of the Atlantic Ocean stretch as far as the eye can see.
Newly opened in April 2023, the allure of Vermelho Hotel Melides lies in its impeccable taste and attention to detail. The design seamlessly blends Spanish and Alentejo traditional elements with pops of vibrant colors against a backdrop of white and blue, echoing the coastal charm of Portugal.
As we stepped into this purpose-built palace, we were greeted by sculptures crafted by Italian master Giuseppe Ducrot, setting the tone for a truly magical visit.
Lunch at Xtian Restaurant in Vermelho Hotel Melides
Chef David Abreu, a master of Portuguese cuisine, is the driving force behind Xtian restaurant. Drawing from his training in Macau, Lisbon, and the United Kingdom, he brings a flavorful, locally-inspired menu to the table.
This includes dishes like porco à alentejana (pork with clams), octopus salad, and a comforting chicken broth, passed down from his grandmother.
Lunch was relaxed and authentically Portuguese cuisine. The tableware came from the local store Vida Dura, which we’ll talk about more in a minute. With a wine list leaning mostly towards the local wineries, Xtian keeps things local and true to the cause.
For lunch, we went the a la carte route with the Bouquet de Vegetais, a delicious vegetable salad that consists of seasonal vegetables, lettuce mix, basil pesto, and cheese biscuit.
This was complemented with grilled foie gras which had caramelized orange and folar crumbs – a traditional Portuguese bread.
The lunch paired nicely with a white from the Douro Valley, which is amazing wine country about 3 and a half hours north of Melides.
If you find yourself on this side of the world, you should make sure a wine tour in Douro Valley is on your list. It’s every bit as beautiful as Napa Valley and with comparable weather to Napa, the quality of the grapes and wine legitimacy are excellent.
The 13 Rooms at Vermelho Hotel Melides
After lunch, we took a peek inside some of the rooms. Vermelho Hotel’s 13 rooms are a masterpiece of Iberian artistry, and no two rooms are the same.
The past is celebrated in the white-washed walls, blue window frames, and carved wooden doors of the rooms, yet they also offer a delightful surprise of vividness with their green jewel-toned tiled floors and the unmistakable Louboutin red.
The creative vision of Louboutin comes alive through the collaboration of Carolina Irving, whose beautiful fabrics adorn the furniture, and Patricia Medina Abascal, a sophisticated Andalusian aristocrat knowledgeable in Spanish design.
The bespoke doors are sourced from Los Tres Juanes in Granada, complemented by knobs and handles from Orfebre Seco in Seville. it’s the small details like this that makes luxury boutique hotels stand out and memorable.
Bathrooms exude luxury with marble finishes and amenities by Kama Ayurveda, some even boasting splendid baths reminiscent of traditional Spanish and Portuguese farmhouses.
The little details, such as the glove-like beige cotton bed slippers embroidered with Louboutin’s signature red, reflect the designer’s passion for perfection.
This retreat would be a stylish getaway anywhere, but in the sleepy secret resort town of Melides, it feels even more like a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. Nothing about this hotel is off-the-shelf.
The Ambiance of Christian Louboutin’s Vermelho Hotel Melides
Melides, a small Alentejo village, has always been a place of tranquility and simplicity. Christian Louboutin, drawn to its peaceful allure, has transformed this sleepy town into a desirable destination.
Nowadays, this hotel is a magnet for fashion enthusiasts, creatives, and those seeking a slower pace of life. The hotel’s location in a protected coastal area adds to its exclusivity and charm.
Local Artisan Craftsmanship at the Hotel
What sets Vermelho Hotel Melides apart is its commitment to celebrating art, design, and culture. Every corner of the hotel tells a story, from the hand-sculpted façade by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ducrot to the exquisite silver bar made by Villareal goldsmiths.
Let’s start with the amazing chandelier. The moment we step into Vermelho’s reception, we’re dazzled by the stunning gold and green glass-blown mural chandelier created by Klove Studio.
This Indian design studio revolutionizes luxury lighting in India, fusing traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge practices and innovative concepts.
in Matinha and Bagas – two of Vermelho Melides’ most luxurious suites, the walls are adorned with frescoes by world-renowned Greek artist Konstantin Kakanias.
Keeping it Real
The local store, Vida Dura, furnished Vermelho’s distinctive interiors, with an array of handmade pieces from local and international artisans.
Infusing each area of the Melides boutique hotel with the coziness, ambiance, and rural charm of a countryside home. Vida Dura truly brought the space to life at this boutique hotel.
Speaking of locals, a few months before the grand opening, Louboutin hosted a cocktail party at Vermelho for the town locals and gave them a tour of the place. “They said it was like the hotel had always been there,” Louboutin recalls. “That’s the nicest compliment of all.”
The Gardens at Vermelho Hotel Melides
The gardens provide a tranquil oasis where guests can relax and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
This area was reminiscent of peaceful French sanctuaries and when we took a deeper look, it all made sense.
Louis Benech, the renowned French landscape architect, has left his mark on Vermelho’s natural yet vibrant gardens, seamlessly blending them with the Melides landscape. His impressive portfolio includes the celebrated Gardens of Versailles – and he’s made sure every detail is just right!
Activities and Attractions near Hotel Vermelho Melides
Beaches and Water Sports
One of the highlights of staying at Hotel Vermelho Melides is the proximity to stunning beaches and a variety of water sports.
The Alentejo coast offers miles of golden sands and crystal-clear waters, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or simply taking a leisurely stroll. For the more adventurous, there are opportunities for surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking.
Hiking and Nature Trails
The Alentejo region is known for its natural beauty and diverse landscapes, making it an ideal destination for hiking and nature enthusiasts.
Hotel Vermelho Melides is surrounded by pine forests, marshy lagoons, and rolling hills, offering endless opportunities for outdoor exploration. Whether you prefer a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, you’ll find trails suitable for all fitness levels.
Operated by Marugal Hotel Management, Hotel Vermelho Melides is a true hidden gem in the beautiful Alentejo region of Portugal.
Designed by Christian Louboutin, this boutique hotel offers an immersive experience in art, food, design, and culture, all while providing luxurious accommodations and exceptional service.
With its stunning surroundings, delicious dining options, and a host of activities and attractions nearby, Hotel Vermelho Melides is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or a cultural adventure. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience La Vie en Rouge at this one-of-a-kind hotel.