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April 6, 2023

Christian Louboutin’s First Hotel Project Opens in Portugal

The hotel is filled with artistic treasures, some of which came from the designer's personal collection.

By Kim Ayling

The name Christian Louboutin needs little introduction: The French designer’s eponymous shoe label is synonymous with luxury, with those iconic red lacquer soles among the world’s most coveted. Now, however, Louboutin has branched into new territory with the opening of his first hotel. Introducing Vermelho Melides.

The story goes that Louboutin first discovered the Portuguese coastal village of Melides – found less than 90 miles south of Lisbon – by chance as he returned from hospital following an injury sustained while sketching a new collection. 

Having fallen in love with the village, which has long been a mainstay destination for Portuguese vacationers drawn in by its intimate nature and pretty surroundings, Louboutin continues to return each year before selecting it as the location for his debut hospitality project.

[See also: Belmond Reveals First Look at Splendido Portofino Refurb]

lounge at vermelho melides hotel
Louboutin called on several previous collaborators to bring his hotel vision to life / ©Vermelho Melides

Managed by boutique European hotel group Marugal, Vermelho Melides has been designed to emulate the feeling of visiting a friend’s home. The hotel has just 13 guest bedrooms, each of which exudes a distinctly maximalist character. 

While each accommodation is uniquely finished, however, it is the Matinha Suite that takes the top spot. Spread across 904 sq ft, the suite features a private terrace, a separate lounge area and a cascading hand-painted floral mural by Greek artist Konstantin Kakanias.

Almost acting as an extension of his private Lisbon home, Louboutin called on several previous collaborators to bring his hotel vision to life, including Lusitanian architect Madalena Caiado and Carolina Irving, who helped consult on interior decoration.

[See also: The Peninsula Opens Waterfront Hotel in Istanbul]

vermelho hotel bathroom
The hotel’s design is distinctly maximalist / ©Vermelho Melides

Together, the team sought the skills of several leading figures in the world of design, architecture and antiquities, culminating in an electric yet perfectly polished space. Among the carefully curated selection of craftspeople are furniture designer Pierre Yovanovitch, glassware design studio Klove, and Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ducrot.

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“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. 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,” says Christian Louboutin.

[See also: The Best Luxury Literary Hotels Across the World]

Christian Louboutin vermelho hotel
Xtian will be showcasing the traditional cuisine and bountiful produce of Portugal / ©Vermelho Melides

Vermelho Melides’ gastronomic delights come courtesy of Portuguese chef, David Abreu, who will oversee the hotel’s signature restaurant XTian. Abreu’s career so far has taken him to some of the finest hotel kitchens in Portugal, as well as a more recent stint at the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in the UK.

At Xtian, which is set to welcome hotel guests and locals alike, Abreu will be showcasing the traditional cuisine and bountiful produce of his home country with a menu of classic Portuguese dishes interspersed with some creative flair. Post- (or pre-)dinner, diners can head to the cozy Vermelho bar for a glass of fine wine or a signature cocktail.

[See also: Inside Lefay Resort & SPA Dolomiti: A World of Wellness]

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