COASTAL HOTEL REVIEW: THE PIG ON THE BEACH, DORSET
Following my stay at The Grosvenor Arms, it was time to drive an hour south and settle in for a cosy, plush, snuggly stay at The Pig on the Beach in Dorset. The hotel as the name suggests sits in close proximity to Studland Beach and has the most beautiful views of the Jurassic coastline, including Old Harry’s Rock and even The Isle of Wight in the distance.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my luxury stays, infact it’s no secret that wherever go I always gravitate around the Belmond brand but simultaneously I love boutique hotels, unpretentious, relaxing, squishy sofas, homely atmospheres, charming higgledy piggledy properties with character, laid back décor, places where time has slowed down and coupled with locally sourced food and drink, just sings perfection to me. Before I go any further, let me just put everyone out of their misery and say yes, The Pig on the Beach is all those things and more.
The History Bit
The Pig on the Beach is part of The Pig group of hotels, of which there are currently five, with three more new piglets arriving in 2019, namely in the south of England and Cornwall. They all have one thing in common and that is a cosy, English country comfy conviviality with their restaurants being at the forefront of the brand offering a 25 mile menu (more on this later!)
The Manor house was built in the 16th Century for the MP Lord Bankes to house his family including 14 daughters, as their summer residence. He particularly wanted the property to resemble a sand castle, which makes this one of the most unique and charming properties I have ever visited. After the departure of the Bankes family, the house was bequeathed to The National Trust and The Pig group have leased the land from them for 88 years. The estate is said to be The National Trusts greatest endowment to date.
We arrived at the hotel a little prior to our lunch reservation at the restaurant and were welcomed into the beautifully decorated lobby, with carefully arranged sofas around tables in varying denominations and a stunning dresser upon, which stood a very inviting cake. I instantly noticed a fireplace, which made me think of this space as perfect for reading the Sunday papers and snoozing off post lunch with the flickering from the roaring fire
The snug is located towards the front of the property and is a place for hotel residents to enjoy a quiet drink, read and relax. Fires, deep sofas, armchairs fill the room with the odd stuffed animal display.
The Pig on the Beach offers accommodation in the form of 23 abodes, luxury here comes in many forms and absolutely affordable to suit a variety of budgets. In the Manor house itself there are cheap and cheerful rooms, snug rooms, comfy rooms, generous rooms and two Dovecoats. Additional there are two further hut style accommodations. Each room is completely unique in size, shape and interiors, making use of every nook and cranny of this original building.
These are two shepherd huts, Harry’s Hut and The Pig Hut, which are nestled at the bottom of the garden, with stunning sea views of Harry’s Rock. They both comprise of two separate huts, one which is a double bedroom and the other is the bathroom complete with free standing bath. Both huts are joined by a decked area joining the two rooms. These are quite small and bijoux so keep luggage to a minimum!
The Lookout is one of the two Dovecoats at the Pig on the Beach with a four poster bed on the ground floor with coastline views on the first floor whilst bathing in the spacious bathroom.
The other dovecoat, is something I can only refer to as The Hobbit House, was our home for our stay and is accessed through a private gate and tucked away neatly in the kitchen garden. It has its own private area of the garden and is small but perfectly formed.
You enter via the cute bedroom containing all the necessities you would ever need and this compact rotunda houses double sinks, a roll top bath facing a fire (oh yes you can have the most cosiest of baths!), a double rain shower and amenities by the locally based Bramble.
The Bothy is very much open plan, bar the WC. I was glad that it was Dr C I was sharing the space with if you know what I mean! There’s a cute retro telephone and the sought after old-school look Roberts radio in a shade of beige!
The room has a fully stocked mini bar with artisan products and I’m pretty sure you won’t miss room service in these surroundings. However, you can have a light breakfast delivered to your room though.
A favourite of mine for pre-meal drinks and snuggling up in the calm surroundings is the bar. Fully stocked with a wide selection of drinks and an extensive cocktail menu, it’s the perfect place to unwind and there are also snacks on offer such as pork scratchings and cake should you need some extra comforting. Wine drinkers may be interested to learn The Pig on the Beach has its own wine made with expertise from Rhône based Michael Chapoutier.
The restaurant at The Pig on the beach is the main focal point of this hotel. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast was one of my favourites as The Pig’s version of a buffet is just a feast of colours and flavours for the eye. The freshly local produce is laid out on a large bare wood table surrounded by a beautiful dresses adorned with china and a fireplace filled with logs.
There’s also another table, which has SMEG appliances to make your own toasted bread and waterbaths to boil your own eggs. They even provide little egg timers to make sure you get the perfect dippy eggs for your handsome soldiers!
The Pig on the Beach operates a 25 mile menu, sourced everything within this numerical radius. The kitchen is run by Head chef Andy Wright and overseen by Chef Director, James Golding. There is also a resident Forager, Giuseppe Sinaguglia who is on the hunt for seasonal ingredients during his foraging jaunts.
The greenhouse (more of a nursery) and walled garden are where the majority of ingredients originate from and whilst our stay in the Bothy, we often peered out of the window to see the chefs come in to get leeks, spring onions and the like.
The Philosophy here is that what can’t be grown in the kitchen garden, is sourced locally within a 25 mile radius.
During our stay we enjoyed some fine food at the restaurant, a lunch, which consisted of summer garden vegetables containing, potato dumplings, chilli spaghetti and verbena, and a salmon and lemon fresh salad.
Unfortunately, I have no photos of our mains that evening as there was a power cut and candle light photography just didn’t work out but we enjoyed, a Bromham carrot salad with a nasturtium and elderflower dressing. Dr C had the wood roast Purbeck pork shoulder steak with Berryhill potatoes, apple and elderflower puree.The electricity did come back on in time for dessert, which was lemon verbena posset with forest strawberries and a raspberry cheesecake.
THE WOOD FIRED OVEN
In front of the kitchen garden is the wood fired oven, which is perfect for dining alfresco in the gardens with a tasty flat bread or two.
THE KITCHEN GARDEN
The walled garden known as the Kitchen garden is one place where if you’re into your gardening and vegetable growing, you must go. I was just in awe of the care and work of the gardeners in this place. There are three gardeners who cover the whole estate. As I said earlier, most of the ingredients come from the garden and there is also a greenhouse nursery here, which is used to grow plants, which are natïve to the country.
THE TREATMENT HUTS
Although The Pig on the Beach don’t have a proper Spa, they do have two very cute huts, which are equipped for treatments. They’re located half way down the garden area with sheep roaming freely and trimming the overgrown grass around them. Ideally treatments should be booked prior to your stay to avoid disappointment.
During the summer months there is the Summer House which can be hired out for small gatherings with stunning views out to Harry’s Rock. The stunning interiors make for a lovely place to entertain friends with fine drinks from the Sommelier and nibbles via the hotels’ chef.
The is also The Roundhouse, which is more of a private dining space featuring a beautiful medieval table layout. Perfect for a special soiree.
The reference to the name of this hotel means there must be Pigs around right? Yes that’s right, a short walk to the side of the manor houses live the cutest inquisitive piggies you’ll ever meet!
You have to go and pay them a visit as well as the free roaming chickens and quails who provide daily freshly laid delicious eggs for your breakfast and other dishes on the menu. There are also Sheep who prefer grazing around the treatment area huts and aren’t too shy to get close.
Additional there are 3 bee hives located just down the path from the Shepherd Hut accommodations.
INTRODUCING STUDLAND & THE SURROUNDINGS
The Pig on the Beach has an envious location and the hotel does recommend two coastal walks that you can try in between relaxing, pigging out and being pampered. We took a walk down to Studland beach one afternoon.
We also walked up to Old Harry’s Rock, which provides stunning vistas from the Jurassic coastline. Take a coat, some comfy shoes and a camera! Corfe Castle is also another National Trust landmark to visit a short drive from the hotel.
THE PIG ON THE BEACH IMPRESSIONS
Cosy, laid back, unpretentious, locally sourced, fresh and so darn pigging cute. This is a place for relaxing, taking in the sea air and recharging your batteries.
PURE UNADULTERATED PERFECTION FOR
Couples, special occasions, romantic getaways, child friendly (only a couple of rooms available with cots), family occasions, business (the WIFI was pretty good!)
Tell me, are you a fan of this quirky cosy luxury style at The Pig on the Beach?
The Pig on the Beach
Tel. 01929 450288
Reservations can be made directly through The Pig on the Beach website
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