“Affordable country hotel with beautiful shabby-chic interiors and fabulous freshly grown grub”
Most of The Pig's rooms are in the main house: Snug, Comfy and Comfy Luxe. In all, the focus is on comfort and quality - cosy linens, snuggly robes, large and inviting beds. The palette is neutral creams and whites, with colourful splashes made by botanical print blinds and retro Roberts radios.
We stayed in a Comfy Luxe room with a four-poster bed, bare wood floors and a fantastic view of the grounds. There was plenty of storage space and a writing desk stacked with books on wild flowers and forest foraging. For in-room foraging, 'larder-style' minibars have Dorset Piddle lager, Orchard Pig cider and a great selection of organic wines, plus New Forest biscotti and old-fashioned sherbet dippers or cola cubes. There's a Nespresso machine for coffee lovers.
Bathrooms are tasteful with slate-grey tiles, powerful monsoon rain showers, and rolltop baths in some of the bigger rooms. All have delicious herbal toiletries by Gilchrist & Soames and heaps of fluffy towels.
The remaining rooms are more spacious and have been added since our visit, by converting the original outhouses. There are 3 Hideaway Suites, which are all unique, with names like Tamworth, Hen House and The Dog House. There are also 2 Family Rooms, Old Spot and Pig Sty, which each have a double bedroom, a twin bedroom and bathroom with tub and shower. More recent still are the Pig House and Pig Lodge (both good for families with 2 bedrooms and a kitchenette), and finally the Forest Cabin (a super-private couples hideaway).
Since our visit, Bert's Box has been added within the grounds; we're yet to personally view this space.
Meals are taken in the glass-walled conservatory, our favourite room. The eclectic interior has a slight hint of Great Expectations, with colourful Belgian floor tiles, potted plants, old wooden chairs, twisting vines and curio antiques. The idea is that nothing matches; Robin Hutson trawled second-hand shops to find vintage glasses, mismatched cutlery and odd-sized plates, creating a feel which is homegrown and organic, much like the food that he champions.
Overseen by chef James Golding (formerly of The Ivy and Soho House NY), the menu is dictated by the kitchen garden and its bounty, and hence changes daily and in accordance with the micro-seasons. For other ingredients the kitchen stays true to its locality; most produce is sourced from within a 25-mile radius, and meat and fish are smoked on site.
Dinner will be the highlight of your stay: the warm ambiance is the perfect setting for a slow-paced evening meal. We kick-started with a cocktail and some 'Piggy bits' (homemade scotch eggs straight from the oven) and saddle-back scratchings with apple sauce. Starters were wood-smoked salmon with nutty homemade bread and a superb New Forest wood pigeon salad. For mains we tucked into a huge T-bone steak (38 day matured) and tasty Lime Bay Diver scallops with a pea jus and smoked bacon bits. And just when we thought there was no room for more, we somehow managed to polish off a creamy lemon Verbena mousse with white strawberries. As you'd hope, the wine list was impressive and the staff were knowledgeable and friendly.
Breakfasts at The Pig are similarly expansive (though expensive). A hearty spread of granola, fruit, yoghurt, honeycomb and homemade jams greets you, and the juices are all deliciously fresh. For those who still have space from the night before, the cooked options are superb. We erred on the side of gluttony and opted for the 'Full Pig-out' and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, both of which were accompanied by freshly baked breads and creamy butter.
Weather permitting, for lunches and lighter snacks you can head to the outdoor courtyard, where there's a wood-fired oven for flat breads and pizzas.
Families are welcome at The Pig, and cots and extra beds are available; there's flexible accommodation including bunk beds in the Family Room. The Pig is well set up for families with animals on site and kids will love the New Forest and all it has to offer. The closest village for any essentials is Brockenhurst, which is only a mile away, and there are also larger towns nearby within a 15-20 minutes drive.
Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)
The two Family Rooms (called Old Spot and Pig Sty) have 2 bedrooms each (a double and a bunk room) and a shared bathroom with a shower and tub; The Pig Sty has a lounge, too. Both of these can also take an extra bed or cot if necessary. The Pig House and the Pig Lodge are also good options, each with 2 bedrooms (including a twin), a kitchenette and a quiet setting. You could also book a Comfy Luxe Room but note that not all of the Comfy Luxe Rooms are able to accommodate an extra bed or cot. All Family and Comfy Luxe Rooms have bathtubs. There are two interconnecting rooms in the main house - a double, Comfy Double Room, and a twin, Snug Room - which would be better for families with older children.
Available on request. The Pig works with an outside agency which supplies English-speaking babysitters. Prices on request.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Children's menu (Piglets Menu) available, and breakfast is charged at a reduced rate of £5 per child.
Most rooms are not on the Ground Floor so if you're bringing your buggy note that you may have to fold it up to get it into the room. There are a lot of stairs and steps around the hotel, most of which do not have a handle bar or at least not at the height for small children to hold onto.