It’s a hog’s life being one of the pet pigs at country house hotel The Pig.
Sure – in the hotel’s almost self-sufficient kitchen garden and smallholding they keep pigs whose fate is to become delicious smoked bacon or hand-cured sausages – but for the most part, the life of the pet piggies is as relaxing and idyllic as that of the hotel’s other guests.
Situated a short drive from Southampton, the Pig has 26 rooms; 16 in the grand converted manor house and 10 which are slightly more Boho apartments in the stable yard.
The views at The Pig are breath-taking. Sit in the restaurant’s airy conservatory and look out over the croquet lawn, or from the less formal courtyard bar you can peer through the garden wall at rolling fields, a small lake; the lush blooms, ripe fruit or turning leaves of the kitchen gardens – and of course – the pig pen!
Each of the rooms and suites is decorated in muted, shabby chic tones and has touches of understated luxury such as oversized showers, super soft linens and vintage Bakelite telephones.
Wander through the vegetable patch and follow the footbridge over the lily pond and you’ll reach the hotel’s bijou spa – perfectly formed in a converted woodshed and offering a range of treatments and massages all year‘round. (We’ve heard guests often traipse through the snow to the shed for a sauna).
The menu? Head chef James Golding (ex Ivy, Caprice, Soho House NYC) relies on his Gardener and his Forager to ensure as much is sourced within a 25 mile radius if not home grown or from the forest. Elderflowers picked by hand are steeped in gin to create jelly, honeycomb from local hives is frozen to make a dessert terrine, wild mushrooms are served on toast and you’ll fine freshly laid duck, hen or quail eggs on the breakfast table.
And the pigs? Nothing is wasted as the organically fed animals become hams, pate, Brock eggs, crackling and pork pies. But the pet ones – they just get a mud pack and enjoy the view.
For more information or to book a room at The Pig go to www.thepighotel.co.uk