Step into a pair of Louboutins and hit the streets of the small village of Melides, Portugal. In the heart of town, situated within a sand pine forest, Christian Louboutin’s new hotel, Vermelho Melides, awaits fashion-forward creatives who seek the same inspiring scenery that has helped Christian design red bottoms for the last decade.
Of course, the main entryway’s windows and doorways are trimmed in the signature Louboutin red. It’s even what gives the hotel its name—Vermelho is the Portuguese word for “red.” Christian pulled together elite designers and personal friends to create Vermelho’s aesthetic, which blends Rococo flourishes with religious iconography, ancient Roman sculpture, contemporary painting, traditional Portuguese tile, and Indian crafts. Christian brought in Lusitanian architect Madalena Caiado of Oficina Ponto, who designed his personal home in Lisbon, textile expert and longtime friend Carolina Irving, and Sevillian art advisor Patricia Medina to decorate the hotel with pieces by local artisans.
Vermelho’s curated craftsmanship is immediately apparent. The building’s sky blue facade sports bas relief stucco, which curls around windows and balconies with a baroque flourish. Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ducrot, who has made busts for the Vatican, designed these architectural details.
Inside, the guest houses each embody their own maximalist personality. One might sleep in a room painted by Konstantin Kakanias, who has co-designed accessories for Christian. His murals in the Matinha and Bagas rooms play upon the spiritual esoteric art movement with pastel-colors and organic, but abstract, shapes.
While not every room has one of Konstantin’s murals, guests will always see famous azulejo tiles in their bedrooms and bathrooms. Fábrica de Azulejos de Azeitão, using local clay from Leira, hand makes each tile in the 16th century European tradition. Floral patterns tessellate the headboard and pink stars travel through the bathtub.
Common areas are decked out with eccentric light fixtures by India’s Klove Studio, Spain’s Villarreal, and Frenchman Nicolás Cesbron. Klove’s glass-blown, birdlike chandelier stretches across a wall in the reception area. Villarreal, who made a palanquin for a Louboutin exhibition back in 2019, illuminates the bar with an iconoclastic crown plated with gold and silver; their metalwork of ornate hammered silverleaf also wraps around the counter. In one enclave toned pink with painted frescos, Nicolás’ wooden chandelier sprouts in all directions, lights hidden in globes that resemble the bulbs of Craspedia flowers.
Another warm area is the Indian Lounge, which continues the pink color scheme with plush, asymmetrical lounge chairs from Pierre Yovanovitch Mobilier. They look extremely inviting underneath paired with the building’s exposed beams, covered in the Louboutin red, which pop off against a thatched roof. There are metal coffee tables with mirrored surfaces scattered about the room. Their sides, roughly sculpted as if from clay, reflect the warm tones emanating throughout the room. They’re furnished by Vida Dura, a company founded by Christian, the aforementioned textiles master Carolina, and designer Rui Freitas.
To think that Louboutin’s been limited to shoes and handbags is a mistake. Vermelho shows that Christian has long been a tastemaker in other domains, and finally, he can share his flair for eccentric interiors and design with friends and travelers.