As we pulled up to Hotel Vermelho, an opulent carved wooden door welcomed us. We parked our car on the street as there was no parking out front - an endearing quirk that seemed to say, "We're not your typical hotel." We came out of pure curiosity, needing to be in Lisbon for a business meeting and having heard that renowned shoe designer Christian Louboutin had recently opened a hotel in a nearby region of Comporta, Portugal that is said to be favored by Parisians.
Our journey began with a somewhat disorienting drive down a seemingly endless highway lined with more stork nests than houses and more rice fields than beaches. As we ventured farther from Lisbon and deeper into the austere landscapes surrounding Comporta, we thought Louboutin must have chosen such a retreat for his private residence (and now, unique hotel) due to his love for privacy and proximity to sandy beaches. We finally arrived in the sleepy town of Melides, which really only has two streets, after a 90-minute drive that felt somehow much longer than that.