If, like me, you love a luxury boutique hotel, then reading that The Pig on the Beach was voted best hotel in the UK in The Times will have left an impression. The kind of impression that stays with you until you can come up with a good enough excuse to visit. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I took the opportunity to buy Mr B some vouchers for The Pig to celebrate his birthday at the end of May, and off we excitedly went.
The Pig hotels are a small boutique chain, now with four hotels. They think of themselves as a restaurant with rooms, and place an emphasis on home grown, or very locally sourced food. They have kitchen gardens that you can wonder around and they even go as far as having their own livestock.
If you have heard of Limewood (and therefore know of its luxury), you might be interested to know it’s The Pig’s big sister. Bearing that in mind, at The Pig although the emphasis may be on the food, the aesthetics and luxury have not been pushed to the side in any sense.
Mr B and I stayed at the original The Pig which is in the New Forest a couple of years ago, and loved it. Here is my personal review of the Pig on the Beach.
Inside, the public parts of the hotel are a bit like a rich, great aunt’s old house. Where velvet sofas are combined with mismatched furniture and slightly wonky photos. The result is delightfully cosy, laid-back and stylish.
There are roaring fires that are lovingly kept alight by the staff, the smell of fresh coffee fills the air and the seats are so, so comfy.
It is a big old house, that creaks and strains as you would expect but it has been beautifully restored and the restaurant is in a lovely orangery with tiles you won’t be able to help yourself from taking a picture of for Instagram.
Whilst outdoors you’ll find manicured lawns, a lust-worthy kitchen garden you can have a wander through, sheep, pigs, wild rabbits and more.
The staff are good; very willing to help and there are plenty of them so you don’t need to hunt around to find someone which I consider a big bonus.
Pretty special huh?!
The 23 bedrooms are organised into a number of different tiers based on size. They are each designed with luxury and comfort in mind, and it is easy to forget you are in an actual hotel. I dream of achieving that boutique hotel feel in my own bedroom at home.
We had a Generous Room, complete with gorgeous sea views, a roll top bath in the window, an AMAZING waterfall shower room and the comfiest bed ever (I remember just how comfy the bed was in the last Pig. It prompted me to spend a lot of money on a great mattress, mattress topper and down quilt. Well worth it). The rooms come with a Nespresso machine for complimentary coffees and real milk in the fridge for tea (essential).
I think the pictures speak for themselves – the breakfasts are great. In the buffet, there are two types of homemade granola (one is sugar free), freshly baked breads, home made jams, local honey, eggs from the garden, fresh juices, homemade compote and more…..quite frankly, I could eat their breakfast for lunch and dinner and I normally I don’t even like breakfast! There’s a menu too with delicious cooked options. All in all, one of the best hotel breakfasts I have come across. It is just a shame the breakfast is not included in the room price.
The Pig on the Beach, as a the name suggests is set on the beach. It is located in beautiful Dorset so there is no shortage of gorgeous countryside to explore. The hotel is only a few minutes drive to the car ferry which is a short hop over the water to Poole and Sandbanks. It is also only a few minutes drive to Corfe Casle which was stunning and the local village is well worth a look round.
A great location for a relaxing weekend get away.
The restaurant is the heart of the hotel, with a menu they say can change by the minute depending on what is in season and ready to eat, or what the forager has found. Anything they can’t grow themselves, will be sourced within 25 miles of the hotel.
I can’t fault the food, everything we ate was delicious and beautifully presented. It wasn’t cheap though, but worth the money for really delicious food that was beautifully presented.
We ate dinner twice at the restaurant and had two quite different experiences. Our Saturday night meal was at 9pm which turned out to be dinner rush-hour and it was full of people on their Saturday night jolly so for us in a couple, it was bit loud and rowdy and we could’t have a conversation without having to shout at each other to be heard. The food was excellent though, and the service was good. If there are only two or three of you dining on a Saturday, I’d perhaps recommend an earlier sitting rather than a later one.
Our experience on Sunday however, was perfect. The waiter had more time to spend with us and as a result we had truly excellent service. He had a great knowledge of the menu, and offered us an appropriate level of advice and was funny and personable at the same time. The food was just as delicious as the night before but we felt we we able to savour it more.
We also had a snack pizza one day from the wood fired oven in the garden and it was truly delicious.
Hire a beach hut, borrow Hunter wellies, have a spa treatment in a hut in a field, explore the kitchen gardens and say hello to the pigs, borrow a bike – all available!
I really enjoyed my stay here, and I would definitely recommend others to stay. But, in the interest of being 100% honest, here are some of this things I feel are drawbacks.
You have to stay for two nights over the weekend. I understand the reason why, and on one hand it is great because you get to stay longer but it isn’t cheap so this makes it difficult for people without big budgets (or gift cards!).
You have to pay extra for breakfast – this is my bugbear in hotels across the world. Unless it is a business hotel, I think almost all guests want a bit of brekkie after their night’s sleep and that should be covered in the room price. The Pig gets away with it more than most because it is THE BEST breakfast ever!
Unreliable wifi – I had some work to do whilst there but had a tough time logging on to their wifi. I have spoken to them about it and they explained it was partly down to their rural location, and partly due to a down line. They reassured me that work is started imminently to upgrade the network to the property so this should be resolved shortly.
I gave The Pig some further feedback on our stay, and they seem genuinely keen to make sure every guest has an excellent stay there.
The Pig on the Beach is a great getaway from it all. A beautiful hotel, set in beautiful surroundings with a good team of staff. I would recommend a stay here, or indeed any of the others, particularly for a special occasion or if you are in need of some real TLC.
Find out more and book your stay here.