Valentine's weekend at The Pig Hotel
Last weekend, Oliver and I headed west to Devon for a Valentine’s getaway. Having heard lots of good things about The Pig Hotel, I’d booked in a weekend away at their outpost in Gittisham, Devon, as a present for Oliver. With six different properties now scattered across the country, The Pig has seen a very successful expansion in recent years, whilst still managing to retain an atmosphere that is distinctly boutique.
From the outset, The Pig at Combe is the perfect country house hotel. A sweeping gravel drive leads you through acres of lush greenery, until your arrival at the property: a beautiful, restored Elizabethan manor. The interior strikes the perfect balance between sophisticated and contemporary, with communal areas such as the bar and Drawing Room featuring plush velvet armchairs, dark wood panelling, and the occasional piece of taxidermy.
Our room was a Comfy Luxe, situated on the first floor of the main house. The spacious bedroom featured a king size bed, cosy sitting area, and elegant rolltop bath in the centre of the room, as well as a fully stocked larder. We arrived late in the evening, meaning that we missed dinner, but some delicious meat and cheese boards were waiting for us, complete with homemade breads and crackers.
Breakfast the next morning was a generous affair, and served in the main restaurant, an airy and characterful room that acts as the beating hub of the hotel: many visitors from the surrounding area visit on the weekends. Mismatched crockery, tasteful taxidermy, and lots of plants give the room a sense of individuality. Guests are able to choose between a buffet table (laden with homemade granola, toast, eggs, and jams) and to order a cooked breakfast too, with options ranging from your classic full English to avocado toast.
Given that The Pig prides itself on being a ‘restaurant with rooms,’ and places a huge emphasis on seasonal and fresh produce, all sourced within 25 miles of the property, I was slightly disappointed with our breakfast. The avocado toast was underwhelming and lacking in flavour, whilst the portion size wasn’t particularly generous. However, we’d booked lunch and dinner in the restaurant for later on in the day, so I was looking forward to tasting the rest of the menu at these opportunities.
We spent the morning exploring the hotel grounds, including their walled herb gardens. The hotel also offers a light lunch in The Folly (a greenhouse-like cafe set in the gardens), as well as spa treatments in the Potting Shed.
We opted for a late lunch back in the main restaurant. The menu is extensive, and features a selection of sharing plates or slightly bigger dishes. Oliver and I both went for gnocchi with mushrooms and kale, and shared a plate of kalettes (a mix between a broccoli and a kale stem), with chips and steamed kale on the side to share (yes, a lot of kale…). The dishes were tasty and inventive, and we were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected flavour combinations: my only criticism would be that portions again seemed to be on the smaller size.
We decided to skip dessert in favour of afternoon tea, which is served in the Drawing Room every day. We enjoyed a cup of tea and slice of homemade cake whilst curling up on the sofa and admiring the view.
The rest of the lazy afternoon passed by, and soon it was time for yet another meal! The atmosphere at dinner time in the main restaurant was electric, with many diners opting to dress up a little in the evening. Oliver and I were both happy with our menu choices: I went for roast pheasant, and Oliver opted for hake, whilst we shared artichokes with Devonshire Blue cheese, and mushroom arancini to start. The only disappointment was a very watery side dish of cauliflower cheese…luckily the desserts managed to make up for it. Oliver opted for a dense chocolate brownie, whilst I ordered the ‘Piggy Fours’ to complement my pot of tea: a small selection of homemade petit fours.
All in all, we had a wonderful stay at The Pig, and I was very reluctant to leave on Sunday morning. Whilst we had a few disappointments with our meals, overall the food was tasty, and these mishaps wouldn’t prevent me from visiting again. The interiors and general atmosphere at The Pig were undeniably luxe, with rooms being comfortable and tastefully furnished. Service throughout our stay (from the manager who greeted us upon arrival, to the ladies at reception and all of the restaurant waiters), was overwhelmingly friendly, and staff were really keen to please. Oliver and I are already planning a visit to another one of The Pig Hotels this summer, and I am counting down the days until then…