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

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New Little Piggy Goes To Market: Inspector Visits New Pig Hotel In The South Downs And Declares It’s ‘Perfect’

  • The Pig In The South Downs is the eighth Pig hotel of the nest
  • The Inspector is in room 2 – ‘reached by a fantastic cantilevered staircase’
  • The atmosphere of the room is ‘green and moody’ and ‘the moody atmosphere continues downstairs’
  • ‘Some of the guests have dressed up; others are in shorts. No one shows off,” he says
  • Remember, the inspector pays his sentence … and tells it like it is










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

Both guests and staff already seem remarkably at home in what has become a tried-and-true – and wildly successful – formula.

Take a beautiful old house in lush grounds with many outbuildings ripe for development; redesign the interior (whatever it takes) from top to bottom with a nod to shabby chic durability; create a beautiful vegetable garden; hire a talented and enthusiastic chef; find local suppliers within a 25-mile radius; make a sexy bar; light the fire pits and – bingo – you have another winner on your hands.

The Pig In The South Downs is a former family home dating back to the 1770s. Pictured is one of the plush bedrooms

The inspector describes the atmosphere of the hotel as 'effortlessly inclusive'.  Pictured is one of the bathrooms

The inspector describes the atmosphere of the hotel as ‘effortlessly inclusive’. Pictured is one of the bathrooms

But of course it’s not that simple. It doesn’t explain the buzz, the lack of pretension, the sheer joy of being here.

We stop at the front door of what was a family home dating back to the 1770s. I’m exhausted after arguing with the sat nav.

‘Leave the car there and we’ll park it for you,’ says a sparkling young Irish woman, who turns out to be the general manager.

We are in room 2, reached by a fantastic cantilevered staircase that winds past an arched window and leads to a long and beautiful landing on the first floor.

The overall color scheme in the room is green and moody. Some people may find it too dark, others will find it soothing; everyone will marvel at the huge avocado bathtub.

The moody atmosphere continues downstairs in the devious bar and sitting room, before moving on to the Pig’s signature greenhouse dining room, which opens onto the terrace and garden, with a field of newly planted 4,500 vines (a first for the pig) passed.

The garden has a field with newly planted 4,500 vines, a first for the pig chain

The garden has a field with newly planted 4,500 vines, a first for the pig chain

Everyone is here: bright young things in their twenties, exhausted parents who have exploited their children for a night, elderly couples. It’s all effortlessly inclusive and maybe that’s the secret. Some people have dressed up; others are in shorts. No one shows off.

At dinner we go overboard, starting with a selection of Piggy Bits, including the most delicious crackling ever with applesauce. The lobster cocktail is great, but I’m not too convinced about my main course of scallops wrapped in air-dried 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.

This bedroom has wood paneling on the walls and an armchair to read a book comfortably

This bedroom has wood paneling on the walls and an armchair to read a book comfortably

Then we say hello to the hotel chickens roaming the nut garden (another first, which will produce almonds, walnuts and chestnuts) before inspecting the greenhouses, fruit cages and the ‘mushroom house’.

Towards the end of breakfast, we see a note on our table that reads: ‘We know we’re not perfect yet. So enjoy a 10 percent discount on your food today.’

It all seems perfect enough to me.

TRAVEL FACTS

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

Judgement:

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