It is always nice to be greeted on arriving at a hotel by someone saying enthusiastically: ‘You’re just in time for lunch!’ and even better when you are promptly whisked off to sit in the sun with a large G&T while you dither happily over a mouth-watering menu.
To really make that experience perfect though, you have to be in a place which takes food very seriously, but which isn’t serious in the way it serves it: which makes The Pig near Bath such a perfect example of a friendly, foodie place.
The Pig hotels are rapidly becoming a phenomenon: people are starting to collect them, in the way that once you’ve been to one, you instantly want to go and bag the other ones too. Founded by Robin and Judy Hutson, the husband and wife team behind the very successful Hotel du Vin chain – Robin also previously worked at the lovely Chewton Glen, and also owns the acclaimed Lime Wood hotel in Hampshire – there are now five Pigs.
There’s the original Pig in Brockenhurst, the New Forest, opened in 2011; the Pig in the Wall (Southampton), the Pig on the Beach, in Studland, Dorset, and the Pig near Bath, which was where I was having my first Pig experience. There’s also the newest Pig, the Pig at Combe, near Honiton in Devon – and the group (which is co-owned by Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire chief executive of Ineos chemical company) has just announced that it’s spending £30 million on a further three Pigs to be opened in Kent, West Sussex and Cornwall. Continue reading The Pig near Bath: a heavenly, foodie, country retreat