The Portuguese village of Melides still feels like a well-kept secret. Despite being only an hour and a half south of Lisbon and minutes from its lively neighbor Comporta 19, this sleepy little village seems to be from 19 century. At its center is a cobbled square, where whitewashed church steeples loom over small family-run restaurants with outdoor terraces and rows of terracotta-roofed cottages with wrought-iron balconies. It was completely deserted on a warm spring day – as was the beach, a golden, windswept part of the Alentejo coast just minutes by car.
But changes are happening. Meander down the town’s winding lanes, past orange trees and shuttered storefronts, and you’ll come across an imposing gate carved from dark wood. Behind it is a buzz that, as a finishing touch, is guaranteed to attract a trendy new crowd and slowly transform the area into one of the country’s hottest destinations: Vermelho, the legendary hotel’s first hotel cobbler Christian Louboutin.
The designer, who has owned properties in Lisbon and Comporta since the 90s, stumbled across Melides more than a decade ago. He is said to have been in a car accident and was driving back from a local hospital when he discovered the picturesque town, surrounded by lush forests and a vast lagoon. Soon after, he bought a fisherman’s house by the sea, and continues to return twice a year to work and relax (his expanded compound now includes a studio with views of the water). Along with Vermelho, Louboutin hopes to share the pristine natural beauty around him with tourists who may have previously bypassed the province to make their way to Portugal’s largest city, or the Algarve — but he’s equally keen to preserve the serenity that brought him here in the first place.
For this reason, with the help of Louboutin’s friends, his new boutique hotel consists of only 10 rooms and exterior design, Portuguese architecture Architect Madalena Caiado seamlessly blends the powder blue and white walls, gently sloped roof and intricately carved chimneys into the environment. However, once you walk through the gates, it gets more eclectic: while there are many unique Portuguese details, from coffered ceilings to the stunning azulejo The murals, facing the reception, and the interior design also pay homage to Louboutin’s French and Egyptian heritage, as well as the extensive travels that inspired his countless collections.