The Pig on the Beach, Dorset

Reviews / January 7, 2015

Contributor/ Amy Guttman

Best Known For
The Pig hotels are synonymous with shabby chic, and they do it well. Think whitewashed wood panels and claw-footed tubs. Décor embodies Nantucket neutrals; though this one embraces its past with Gatsby-era stained glass, tin ceilings and rich, velvets. The pride of their kitchen is farm-to-table, locally produced and sourced fruit, vegetables, breads and meat.  Even in winter, a kitchen garden yields root vegetables roasted for supper. Lazy, long weekends of nothing but walks, massages, and hot drinks by the fire, or chilling on the beach, are the done things at the Pig.

The Good Stuff
I’m not a massive spa person, but when at the Pig…pig out on massages and facials. They use Oskia products, and rooms are stocked with Bramley toiletries.  The 25-mile menu is delivered in interesting dishes like cider-cured brill; one to try at home, roasted artichoke salad, and oysters fried like beignets.  We liked the oozy-centered cocoa, hazelnut meringue to finish. Breakfast is bountiful, with mostly homemade goodies, like raspberry apple jam, almond butter, and granola studded with dried figs and apricots, along with a sugar-free version. Oh so moreish.

The Vibe
In winter, mid-week, its mostly couples and families of all ages. It can feel a bit like London-on-Studland, but the restaurant pulls in a considerable local crowd. Children are looked after in summer with special programming and plenty of space to run around. Board games in the nooks by the fire encourage slow time, with only the day’s newspapers absent. This is a place for wellies, and they’ve got loaners, and flip-flops. Leave your brogues at home; it’s comfortable casual, even at dinner.

Inside the hotel – 7/10
The main building, a manor house is warm and welcoming, despite a slightly awkward entrance which doubles as a non-reception, reception.  The property dates back to 1825, and décor inside the main house is more traditional in the common areas, whilst rooms offer a luxurious look and feel of yesteryear.  Two dovecotes offer privacy and modern interiors. Those who crave glamping can take advantage of the double, adjoining shepherds hut.

Outside the hotel – 7/10
The Jurassic Coast path starts at the bottom of the garden, with great views and a long beach. A pub just opposite the property offers an alternative, as do some spots down the road. Adirondack chairs look out at the bay. Two shepherd huts on the lawn make up the spa, an ingenious way of creating a completely Zen zone.  The setup may have arisen out of necessity, but the separation of spa and main house should be replicated more often. The short walk to the outbuildings means the daily grind’s grip has already loosened by the time you hit the table, and seagulls provide the best soundtrack. 


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Amy Guttman
As a child, Amy Guttman regularly cracked open the World Encyclopaedia to discover new, exotic-sounding locations on the glossy pages of the World Map, conjuring up images of locales like Bora Bora and Papeete. Ever since, she's chosen adventurous over mainstream, when given the chance.

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