UK / Europe

Winter warmth at The Pig

Like its namesake, The Pig on the Beach is all about comfort, luxury, and lazy indulgence

Amy Hughes

The Pig hotels, be they in the New Forest, Bristol, or like this one, on the Jurassic Coast, are synonymous with shabby chic, and they do it well. Think whitewashed wood panels and claw-footed tubs. Décor is Nantucket neutrals; though this one embraces its past with Gatsby-era stained glass, tin ceilings and rich, velvets. The pride of their kitchen is farm-to-table, locally produced and sourced fruit, vegetables, breads and meat. Even in winter, a kitchen garden yields root vegetables roasted for supper. Lazy, long weekends of nothing but walks, massages, and hot drinks by the fire, or chilling on the beach, are the done things at the Pig.

I’m not a massive spa person, but when at the Pig … pig out on massages and facials. Two shepherd huts on the lawn make up the spa, an ingenious way of creating a completely Zen zone. The setup may have arisen out of necessity, but the separation of spa and main house should be replicated more often. The short walk to the outbuildings means the daily grind’s grip has already loosened by the time you hit the table, and seagulls provide the best soundtrack. The spa is stocked with Oskia skincare products, while rooms are loaded up with large-sized Bramley toiletries.

Light and crispy: fried oysters
Light and crispy: Fried oysters

The 25-mile menu is delivered in interesting dishes like cider-cured brill; one to try at home, roasted artichoke salad, and oysters fried like beignets. We liked the oozy-centered cocoa, hazelnut meringue to finish. Breakfast is bountiful, with mostly homemade goodies, like buttery croissants, raspberry apple jam, almond butter, and granola studded with dried figs and apricots, along with a sugar-free version. Oh so moreish.

In winter, mid-week, its mostly couples and families of all ages. It can feel a bit like London-on-Studland, but the restaurant pulls in a considerable local crowd. Children are looked after in summer with special programming and plenty of space to run around. I’m told there’s a stand with homemade ice cream stand worth queuing for. Board games in the nooks by the fire encourage slow time, with only the day’s newspapers absent. This is a place for wellies, and they’ve got loaners, and flip-flops. Leave your brogues at home; it’s comfortable casual, even at dinner.

Romantic: The Lookout
Romantic: The Lookout

The main building, a manor house is warm and welcoming, despite a slightly awkward entrance which doubles as a non-reception, reception. The property dates back to 1825, and décor inside the main house is more traditional in the common areas, whilst rooms offer a luxurious look and feel of yesteryear. Manor house room range from cheap and cheerful to snug, comfy luxe, and generous. Two dovecotes offer privacy and modern interiors. Both the Bothy and the Lookout are kitted out with four-poster beds, monsoon showers and bathtubs big enough for two. Those who crave glamping can take advantage of the double, adjoining shepherds huts. One has a bed and log burner, the other a freestanding bath.

The Jurassic Coast path starts at the bottom of the garden, with great views and a long beach. A pub just opposite the property offers an alternative; as do some spots down the road, open seasonally. Adirondack chairs looking out the bay invite endless daydreaming.

The Pig on the Beach

Manor House

Manor Road, Studland,

Dorset BH19 3AU

www.thepighotel.com

Image credits: The Pig

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