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One of the best boutique hotels in Portugal for design lovers

An exceptional boutique hotel imagined by Christian Louboutin, the legendary shoe designer

Vermelho boutique hotel in Alentejo, Portugal
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As one of the most artistically beautiful boutique hotels in Portugal, Vermelho Melides is an exceptional creation of visionary design and artisan handcraft. Offering a serious wow factor, this luxury boutique hotel in Alentejo is a place of timeless beauty, superlative craftsmanship, captivating originality and understated elegance.

Vermelho hotel is the brainchild of renowned designer Christian Louboutin, whose passion for Melides, a small charming beach resort located just south of Lisbon, dates back over a decade. Returning to the region year after year, he has transformed his deep affection for the area into an extraordinary boutique hotel.

Richly imagined and precisely crafted, Louboutin collaborated with architect Madalena Caiado, textile designer Carolina Irving, and a team of esteemed artists and artisans to bring Vermelho Melides to life, making it one of the best places to stay in Portugal. The boutique hotel in the Alentejo region embraces Louboutin’s signature colour, Vermelho, which translates to “red” in Portuguese, embodying the hotel’s exuberant spirit.

Vermelho

As a prelude to the impeccably designed interiors, the striking hand-sculpted stone façade, beautifully ornamented with embellished ironwork detailing by Italian master Giuseppe Ducrot, is guaranteed to dazzle. Masterful craftsmanship shows off inspirational design elements that mix sophisticated styling and authentic influences, all complemented by a splendid collection of exquisitely crafted furniture, original antiques, hand-painted frescos, artisan tiles, a gigantic glass-blown mural chandelier and exotic gems.

With the beauty and elegance reminiscent of a luxury private residence, Vermelho Melides offers the intimacy of only 13 individually styled guest rooms and suites. There are plenty of areas to unwind, such as the colourful gardens, a heated outdoor pool, the Indian Lounge, the excellent Restaurant XTian, and the adjacent hammered silver-leaf Vermelho Bar.

This boutique hotel in Portugal would be a chic getaway anywhere, but nestled in the enchanting, under-the-radar town of Melides, it becomes an even more exquisite discovery.

The perfect hotel for a chic getaway in Alentejo Portugal

Why book Vermelho Melides, a design & boutique hotel in Alentejo

Featuring numerous wow-worthy features, it is evident why this visually captivating retreat is one of the best luxury boutique hotels in Portugal. Some of Vermelho Melides’ most notable features are:

  • Legendary designer Louboutin is the visionary behind one of the most fashionable hotels in the world
  • A spectacular townhouse hotel that is an artistically indulgent work of art
  • Masterful craftsmanship shows off inspirational design elements that mix impeccable taste, sophisticated styling, elegant panache and eclectic influences
  • Showcases the perfect union between designer flair and workmanship excellence
  • The beautiful postcard-perfect facade adorned with intricate ironwork embellishments is sure to catch your eye
  • Entering through Vermelho’s imposing wooden doors feels like stepping into an art gallery adorned with an eclectic collection of antiques, exquisitely crafted furniture, art objects and precious textiles
  • With only 13 uniquely designed bedrooms, Vermelho Melides is an oasis of exclusivity and luxury
  • The bedrooms are meticulously crafted with artistic mastery and sophistication
  • The details, individuality and visual aesthetics have resulted in comfortable public areas such as the restaurant, the bar and lounge area
  • Xtian is the best restaurant in Melides. The passionate chef draws heavily on traditional Portuguese cuisine but adds a modern twist and international influences without losing any of the essence of the dishes
  • Indulge in the beauty of the hotel’s vibrant gardens by the beautiful outdoor swimming pool., which emits the ambience of tranquillity and harmony

The backstory

Famed shoe designer Christian Louboutin has had a long-time love affair with Portugal and has owned homes in Lisbon and Comporta since the ’90s. He first discovered Melides 12 years ago, returning from the Santiago do Cacém hospital after cutting himself badly while working on a new collection at his retreat in Comporta. The designer was instantly enchanted by Melides’ dreamy atmosphere, characterised by its dense pine forests and the tranquil embrace of the large lagoon bordered by picturesque rice fields and breathtaking beaches.

Shortly after that, he bought a small fisherman’s cottage along the lagoon’s shores and has returned every June to design his winter collection.

His hope, with Vermelho Melides, is to share the pristine natural beauty of the surroundings with visitors who might previously have bypassed this province in favour of Portugal’s most significant cities or the Algarve – but he is equally keen to preserve the tranquillity that brought him here in the first place.

Architecture & design: Flawless craftsmanship and impeccable artistry

Achieving flawless interior spaces demands a harmonious blend of artistic vision and precision craftsmanship. Skilled professionals, from interior designers to craftsmen, collaborate to transform ordinary spaces into stunning works of art. With careful attention to detail, an elegant interplay of materials, and a commitment to quality, the resulting Vermelho Melides hotel is visually striking inside and outside. It is guaranteed to capture the imagination of everyone who walks through the door.

While Louboutin deserves much of the credit for the hotel’s multi-layered aesthetic vision, he also demonstrated keen judgment in assembling a remarkable team of artists and craftsmen to bring it to life through their expertise, making it one of the best places to stay in Portugal.

Collage of art at Vermelho Hotel in Melides Alentejo Portugal

Eclectic, maximalist and daring, Christian Louboutin’s essence oozes throughout each space and passage at Vermelho Melides. Incorporating a rich collage of cultural influences from around the world, nothing has been left to chance. The colours are bold — a palette to inspire, with thoughtful but unmissable bursts of vermilion, that iconic hue synonymous with Louboutin (vermelho means red in Portuguese). Every accessory has its role: a glow of light, unique details, decorative accents and objects of intrinsic beauty. Behind this effortless elegance lies impeccable craftsmanship and artistic mastery, exuding design excellence and quietly timeless sophistication.

You will instantly be impressed by the hand-crafted façade with its lavish iron ornaments, all skillfully sculpted by the Italian artist Giuseppe Ducrot. Here, he pays homage to historical artistic techniques, fusing Greek, Roman, and exuberant Baroque influences with a dazzling flair.

Louboutin also worked with Carolina Irving, whose rich fabrics upholster the furniture while adding splashes of colour, and Patricia Medina Abascal, a distinguished interior designer and a great expert in the Spanish decorative tradition and its historical legacy.

Marvel at the beautifully intricate patterns of the beautiful Portuguese tiles from the legendary Azulejos de Azeitão or the exquisite frescoes crafted by the Greek artist Konstantin Kakanias. You may be tempted to open each elaborately designed door, masterly crafted by the Spanish artisan carpenters Los Tres Juanes and come across unique pieces such as the Klove mural chandelier that graces the hotel. Or be enticed to try a flamboyant cocktail served at the custom silver bar, a masterpiece made by Villareal, a renowned goldsmith in Seville. Further enhancing the beauty of the bar, it is exquisitely ornamented by a magnificent paso “canopy” (like floats that accompany Holy Week processions in Spain).

The rooms and suites at Vermelho Melides boutique hotel in Portugal

Filled with fine workmanship, splendid artistry and exquisite detailing, each magnificently crafted bedroom and suite is a work of art. Evoking a quiet opulence and absolute comfort, they offer not just restful nights but also a visual feast for the eyes.

Collage of images showing interiors from some of the 13 guest rooms at Vermelho, one of the best boutique hotels in Portugal

Think of the 13 rooms as artistic expressions of Iberian craftsmanship, infused with the region’s rich heritage layered with global influences. Elements of this aesthetic vision are thoughtfully integrated into every detail, from the white-washed walls and charming blue window frames to the luxurious Frette bedlinen and intricately carved wooden doors. However, amidst this timeless beauty, vibrant pops of colour appear, such as emerald-hued, jewel-toned tiled floors and the iconic Louboutin red.

Each room is unique, showcasing maybe some of Louboutin’s personal collection of decorative objects, original antiques, tasteful furniture and exotic gems or a one-off artisan signature piece. This is where luxury and elegance meet the very essence of the tranquil Melides lifestyle.

Most rooms are decorated with charming hand-painted tiles, primarily from Azulejos de Azeitão’s renowned workshop near Setúbal. Moorish side tables, Murano glass-style wall lamps, antique Venetian mirrors, sea shell-shaped reading lights by the bed, and chic armchairs coalesce to create elegant yet imminently comfortable rooms. The Baroque-style marble bathrooms feature fragrant Kama Ayurveda amenities — personally chosen by Louboutin — and indulgent Frette bathrobes and towels.

Most rooms feature outdoor areas, inviting you to bask in the sun. This includes suites with balconies on the first floor overlooking the garden and ground-floor rooms with terraces that provide direct access to the pool.

Interior of guest room at hotel Vermelho in Melides Portugal

Making a definitive design statement, some of the signature pieces include a baldachin bed, an opulently tiled outdoor bathtub, wardrobes with Maison Gatti’s renowned French latticework and splendid frescoes that embellish the walls, hand-painted by Greek artist Konstantin Kakanias.

Food & drinks

The captivating beauty of the boutique hotel’s spellbindingly stunning décor continues to the restaurant, the bar and the lounge. The picture-perfect interiors are a testament to the seamless integration of artistic vision and meticulous craftsmanship. Here, exquisitely designed pieces elevate the décor with artistic perfection. Every design element, from furniture to lighting, wall treatments to decor, contributes to the overall aesthetic and ambience of the spaces.

Vibrant artisanal tableware brings pure Portuguese craftsmanship to the dining room, while colourful bistro-style chairs complete the setting. Together with Christian Louboutin, the century-old Parisian handmade rattan furniture studio Maison Gatti imagined the unique style of these chairs inspired by a 19th-century design from the studio’s archives.

Set table at the Xtian restaurant in hotel Vermelho Melides in Alentejo Portugal

As for the cuisine, the Portuguese Chef David Abreu offers an exclusive gastronomic experience at Xtian, the new epicurean meeting place in Melides. Celebrating the wealth of Portugal’s culinary possibilities, diners will experience a delicious spectrum of flavours, textures and techniques. David infuses Xtian’s menu with fresh energy and inspiration, offering refined, authentic Portuguese cuisine with a modern twist.

David Abreu’s journey began in Portugal, working at several luxury hotels like SANA Malhoa Hotel, Grande Real Villa Itália Hotel & Spa, and Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon. In 2017, he moved to England, refining his culinary skills at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire and the gastronomic institution Waterside Inn, mentored by legendary Chef Alain Roux. With enthusiasm, passion and a unique culinary style, David delivers creative modern interpretations and global influences on traditional Portuguese dishes, always using the finest seasonal ingredients.

His signature dishes include pork with clams, a grilled octopus salad, chicken soup (from his grandmother), Aunt Fátima’s wild boar stew, fried red mullet with squid and rice or the ever-present bacalhau (cod stew). Make sure to end with one of the scrumptious desserts: a slice of apple tarte tatin, the cheesecake with Alentejo honey, or the poached pear with mulled wine. The smartly curated wine list, offering a thoughtful selection of Portuguese wineries, is integral to the Xtian dining experience.

Intimate, exquisite and extravagant, the Vermelho Bar beckons those searching for a welcoming hideaway, welcoming guests from dawn till dusk. Here, you can share convivial moments with family and friends, savour flamboyant cocktails, enjoy the tempting snack menu, exchange stories by the fireplace, and raise a toast to the place’s distinctive spirit and playful vibe.

Collage of images of the restaurant and bar

Not holding back on the wow factor, the indulgently hand-crafted bar is a true work of art. The historic Sevillian house Orfebrería Villarreal was commissioned to craft a hammered silver-leaf bar for Vermelho Melides, showcasing these highly skilled goldsmiths’ exceptional artistic brilliance and immense workmanship.

Centuries of history come together to form the Indian Lounge, an exclusive space for Vermelho guests that will transport you from Melides to the other corner of the world. With its gracious atmosphere of unpretentious luxury and tranquil surroundings, this is the ideal place to disconnect, enjoy a relaxed chat, take afternoon tea, chill with a book or challenge friends and family to a board game. Amidst its extensive collection of art and antique furniture, Pierre Yovanovitch has furnished the Indian lounge with his Asymmetry armchairs and sofas in a subtle gradation of powdery hues.

The garden and outdoor areas at the boutique hotel in Alentejo, Portugal

A particular highlight is found in the wonderful outdoor spaces. Here, guests can enjoy relaxing in the sun or unwinding in the shaded area whilst indulging in some quiet moments.

Detail from the hotel garden

Renowned French landscape architect Louis Benech, known for his impressive portfolio that includes iconic sites like the Gardens of Versailles, has meticulously overseen every aspect of Vermelho’s colourful yet natural gardens, seamlessly blending them with the picturesque Melides landscape. Filled with lush green foliage and local flora, the attractively landscaped haven offers unparalleled tranquillity, a soothing sense of escapism and a refuge from life’s hectic pace.

Set in an oasis of native vegetation, the natural heated outdoor swimming pool guarantees maximum outdoor enjoyment. The glorious rooftop terrace tops it all off by boasting stunning views of Melides and the verdant rolling hills beyond.

Activities at Vermelho Melides boutique hotel and its vicinity

Although the friendly staff is readily available to organise a myriad of activities, the true allure of Vermelho and Melides lies in embracing the unhurried rhythm of local life and beautiful countryside. It is a place where you should recline on a comfortable seating nook or relax in a cosy armchair with a captivating book, put away your mobile, and only rely on the gentle chimes of church bells to signal that it is time for dinner.

Designed for pure disconnection, the hotel’s small wellness area offers an experience of rest, vitality and rejuvenation. Pamper yourself with a bespoke facial, a body renewal treatment, a soothing or holistic massage, or maybe an ancient Ayurvedic healing technique.

For the active, there is plenty to do. Explore the wide range of activities awaiting guests in Alentejo. Indulge in a feast of culinary treats with a delicious picnic, especially prepared by the hotel’s chef, and embark on a leisurely bicycle journey through the charming village of Melides and its unspoilt countryside. Enjoy horseback riding along the picturesque Comporta coastline or perhaps a visit to the region’s vineyards, culminating in a delightful tasting of exceptional Portuguese wines.

The nearby lagoon is a perfect spot for paddleboarding. During summer, guests also have easy access to the beach (10 minutes away), as Vermelho Melides offer an exclusive car service. Short trips to nearby towns such as Comporta, Porto Covo, and Alcácer do Sal are offered.

Eco-credentials

Hot-cold air conditioning through geothermal energy, excess water reducers in the bathrooms, LED lighting, filtered water in glass bottles for the rooms, local suppliers of olive oil, vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and more. In addition, Vermelho will have its own garden in the coming months.

Location & access of Vermelho Melides boutique hotel in Portugal

Get immersed in a world where sun, sea, and authentic allure coalesce along the coastline of Alentejo, Portugal. The coastal towns of the Alentejo region present a captivating blend of pristine natural splendour, a rich maritime heritage, and a relaxed atmosphere. From traditional fishing villages to spectacular beaches and dramatic cliffs, these coastal gems beckon anyone looking for a magical escape off the beaten path.

Olive grove in Alentejo Portugal

The small village of Melides still feels like a well-kept secret. Despite being just 80 minutes south of Lisbon and 20 minutes from its fashionable neighbour Comporta, it is unspoilt, quiet and yet assuredly charming. Nestled between the untamed hills of Serra de Grândola and the sprawling coastline, Melides is home to vineyards, rice fields, lush forests, an expansive stretch of pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches and a gentle pace of life.

In the heart of Melides lies an enchanting cobblestone square adorned with a commanding whitewashed church spire overlooking quaint restaurants and rows of terracotta-roofed cottages boasting exquisite wrought-iron balconies. Additionally, the bustling local market, nestled in the village’s core, serves as a vibrant hub where hard-working farmers and fishermen proudly showcase the fruits of their labour from the land and sea.

Final thoughts: Artistic excellence at this design hotel in Melides, Alentejo

Dreaming of a luxury holiday in Melides, Alentejo? As one of the best boutique hotels in Portugal, Vermelho hotel in Melides is a testament to Christian Louboutin’s impeccable artistry and exceptional eye for design and detail. This is a world where the gentle pace of Melides’ life meets the ultimate luxury, with panache.

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