Hotel review

Staycation hotel review: Inside the new and ‘perfect’ Pig In The South Downs

New little Piggy goes to market: Inspector calls new Pig hotel in the South Downs and says it’s ‘perfect’

  • The Pig In The South Downs is the eighth Pig hotel in the litter
  • The Inspector is in Room 2 – “accessed by a fabulous cantilevered staircase”
  • The mood of the room is “green and brooding” and “the brooding vibe continues downstairs”
  • ‘Some guests have disguised themselves; others are in shorts. No one shows up, he says
  • Remember the inspector pays his way…and says it like it’s










The range now stands at eight. This latest pig opened in the South Downs near Arundel on Monday and we’re here on day two, but you’d never know.

Guests and staff already seem remarkably comfortable in what has become a time-tested and hugely successful format.

Take a splendid old house in lush grounds with many ancillary buildings ripe for development; redesigning interiors (no matter what) from top to bottom with a nod to shabby chic sustainability; create a superb vegetable garden; hire a talented and enthusiastic chef; find local suppliers within a 25-mile radius; create a sexy bar; fire up the fire pits and — bingo — you have another winner on your hands.

The Pig In The South Downs opened on Monday and is the eighth hotel in the chain

The hotel is a former family home dating back to the 1770s. Pictured is one of the sumptuous bedrooms

The hotel is a former family home dating back to the 1770s. Pictured is one of the sumptuous bedrooms

The inspector describes the atmosphere of the hotel as

Inspector describes hotel vibe as ‘effortlessly inclusive’

But of course it’s not as simple as that. That doesn’t explain the buzz, the unpretentiousness, the sheer joy of being here.

We pull up to the front door of what used to be a family home from the 1770s. I’m exhausted after an argument with the satnav.

“Just leave the car there and we’ll park it for you,” says a bubbly young Irishwoman, who happens to be the general manager.

We are in Room 2, accessed by a fabulous cantilevered staircase that winds past an arched window and up to a long and exquisite landing on the first floor.

The overall color scheme of the room is moody green. Some people might find it too dark, others will find it soothing; everyone will marvel at the vast avocado bathtub.

The moody vibe continues downstairs in the stylish bar and lounge, before heading to the pig’s signature greenhouse dining room, which extends out onto the terrace and into the garden, with a field of 4,500 newly planted vines (a first for the pig) beyond.

The garden has a field of 4,500 newly planted vines, a first for the Pig industry

The garden has a field of 4,500 newly planted vines, a first for the Pig industry

Everyone is there: bright young people in their twenties, exhausted parents who have farmed out their children for a night, elderly couples. It’s all effortlessly inclusive and maybe that’s the secret. Some people dressed up; others are in shorts. Nobody shows off.

We go overboard at dinner, starting with a selection of Piggy Bits, including the best applesauce crackle. The lobster cocktail is great but I’m not so convinced by my main course of scallops wrapped in raw ham. Before breakfast (£20 and not included in the price), we walk through the vegetable garden, where there are shepherd’s huts with outdoor showers and wood-burning stoves.

Interiors follow the chain's signature shabby-chic style

Interiors follow the chain’s signature shabby-chic style

This room has wood paneling on the walls and an armchair to relax with a book

This room has wood paneling on the walls and an armchair to relax with a book

Double rooms at Pig In The South Downs cost from £145 per night

Double rooms at Pig In The South Downs cost from £145 per night

Then we say hello to the hotel hens prowling the hazelnut (another first, which will produce almonds, walnuts and chestnuts) before inspecting the greenhouses, fruit cages and “mushroom house”.

Near the end of breakfast, we spot a note on our table that says, “We know we’re not perfect yet. So please take 10% off your food today.

It all seems pretty perfect to me.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

The Pig in the South Downs, Madehurst, Arundel, BN18 ONL. Double from £145, room only. For more information call 0345 225 9494 or visit thepighotel.com.

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