Last summer my hubby and I and two friends went for lunch at The pig on the beach hotel in Studland Bay, Dorset. We loved it so much we booked a year ahead to stay there for two nights. It was one of the best weekends of my life.
We had perfect Summer weather, so incredibly lucky as the U.K weather is so changeable! We made a whole weekend of it by travelling down to Sandbanks, Poole on a Friday morning. We stopped for lunch at Rick Stein’s fish restaurant, which opens onto a harbour – a table with a view. The food was beautifully presented and tasted divine. The wine was served in one of the most tasteful coolers I’ve ever seen, so much so that we had to buy one! Jill Stein’s Porthdune range is also stunning and my favourite colours of blue and white!
The short journey from Sandbanks to Studland across the water is via a chain ferry, which I believe was £5 to cross in our car. Once across the water it’s not more than ten minutes to the hotel.
Now, I must point out that staying at The Pig was a real treat for us. It’s quite expensive to stay there with rooms at the weekend starting from £165 a night and going up to a lofty £365 and that’s without breakfast. We stayed in one of the shepherds huts at £275 a night. However, I must say that it was worth every penny and we have no regrets. Breakfast is an additional £12 for a continental buffet and £16 for a cooked meal. The breakfast buffet is a sumptuous cornucopia of delights though and the eggs Royale I ordered was heavenly, so don’t miss out!
If the public areas are anything to go by inside the hotel then I’m sure the rooms there are beautiful. For us though, we wanted something a little different and opted for one of the two shepherds huts they have available. They are a little distance from the main building, tucked away in an wild flower meadow overlooking the sea. There is one hut for your bedroom and one for you bathroom in a small private courtyard furnished with Adirondack chairs.
The first thing that strikes you is the view, it’s truly stunning and such an open expanse of sky! An incredibly friendly young lady showed us to our huts, that’s a theme that continued all weekend. All the staff were delightful, knowledgable and couldn’t do enough for you. The manager that taught them needs a medal. It’s so rare these days to find staff that just seem to instinctively know what a guest wants.
The ethos at all The Pig hotels is that they are restaurants with rooms. They only use produce that they can grow themselves in the kitchen garden or source from with a 25-mile radius. Each hotel has its own identity, more evolved than designed, using antiques and salvaged items. The kitchen garden is a highlight and forms the corner stone of each location.
The bedroom hut we stayed in is small! However, my hubby is 6”2 and he managed just fine. You need to see it as extraordinarily posh glamping, but without any damp grass or deflated airbeds in the morning! The bed is king size and they have even added a little cut out in the wall at the end of the bed if taller people need a little more leg room! Every detail has been thought about for you: the beautiful bath robes are in both the bedroom and bathroom hut, just in case you forget and want to protect your modesty. Although, hardly anyone ever walks passed the huts after about 8pm. There is a very well stocked mini bar and a vintage goodies draw for those midnight snackers.
Plenty of wardrobe space was provided for a short stay and very deep drawers lie under the bed. The attention to detail is quite wonderful with a vintage telephone, Roberts radio, tarnished brass fittings and a wood burning stove. The bathroom held a roll-top bath for those all important relaxing moments and fragrant Bramley Products toiletries.
We were celebrating our birthdays and the hotel had very kindly left a complimentary half bottle of Bollinger champagne in our room, such a lovely touch. We decided to spend the evening with our friends who were staying in the other hut available. We gathered our Adirondack chairs, which even come with comforters and made our way to their private patio. We ended up staying till very late and just ordered “piggy nibbles” from the restaurant, which were kindly brought to us. It was a magical evening with an astonishing sunset, views and fabulous friends – what’s not to love?
The next day was spent relaxing on one of the resident-only loungers facing the sea. We’d had plenty for breakfast, but still managed to order one their delicious wood-fired flatbreads for lunch. Later that evening we dined outside at the hotel’s restaurant – greedy, I know, but when at The Pig, why not be one!
There are beautiful walks to the beach, where you can be at one with nature. Treatments are available in shepherds huts overlooking the sea and, of course, you can stroll around the kitchen garden with perfect rows of Peter Rabbit style vegetables. Whatever you do, I promise you will love this home from home. We’ve already booked for next year!