24-hour room service: The Pig: New Forest, Hampshire

Sizzling with style (and organic bacon)

There was a time when "organic" could be roughly summed up by stodgy bread and unappetising health foods. Now it is more commonly found as a guise for wholesome living and rustic perfection. Never mind the lack of synthetic inputs, we want organic to look as good as it makes us feel. Tom and Barbara Good, meet Jerry and Margot Leadbetter.

The Pig, the newly opened little sister to the New Forest's Lime Wood hotel, pins itself to the manifesto for this modern age reprisal of The Good Life. You might expect, as I did, with a name like The Pig that you'd be getting a country inn, all crackling fires and low, timber beams. But you'd be mistaken. The hotel is bucolically beautiful, an early 17th-century New Forest groom keeper's lodge that was later run as a hotel by Brigadier John Doyle, of the Conan Doyle clan. Latterly, it was Whitley Ridge, a Michelin-starred restaurant and contemporary-country hotel that closed in February for the rustic transformation to a self-styled "kitchen garden with rooms".

And, oh, does it look and feel good. A gravel drive sweeps up to the pretty-as-a-picture main house, clad in wisteria and shaded by a mature oak tree. Inside, the drawing room invites you to sink into a deep sofa by the wood fire under the watchful gaze of old oil paintings, with a Forager's Fizz – champagne, vodka and elderflower liqueur – in one of the artfully antique, mismatched cocktail glasses from the bar.

This theme of artful mismatching creeps in elsewhere, too. Wild boars' heads are mounted on the walls in the bar, where club chairs also demand your lingering presence and vintage trunks double as tables. In the Green Room, papier-mâché pigs' heads peer down over a snooker table: one sucking on a pipe is called "Smoky Bacon", another – "Capitalist Pig" – is formed from pages of the Financial Times. In the Library, books are present only in image on the wallpaper.

The restaurant, which rarely seemed to be empty during my visit, is where the stylised interpretation of farmhouse life plays out in full force. A glasshouse-style annexe has been added to brighten up the dark main room, all mossy tones and spruced-up cornicing. Odd wooden tables each sport potted herbs or wild strawberries, while vines and climbers twist up light fittings, old crates stack up in a corner, vintage scales add texture and end-of-run patterned tiles deliver shabby-chic colour to the floor.

The menu aims to source as much as possible from the kitchen garden, with the rest coming from within a 25-mile radius. It includes "piggy bits" (crackling) with apple sauce, home-smoked salmon with silver chard that I'd tasted only hours earlier in the garden, and roast New Forest venison. If you decide on Mrs Bartlett's "Karma ham", spare a thought for the Saddleback and Tamworth pigs which are fattening up for Christmas in the fields behind the hotel (though two pet kunekune "micro" pigs soften the reality).

It's all well-judged, comfortable and accessible – unsurprising given that The Pig's chairman, Robin Hutson, co-founded the successful Hotel du Vin chain and later sat on the board of the Soho House group. In The Pig, he has formed a new blueprint for a mini chain of similar well-priced country hotels in southern England. If they look and feel anything like this first edition, then Hutson will be on to a good thing.

Location

Just a mile from Brockenhurst and five from Lyndhurst, The Pig is well placed for venturing into the heart of the New Forest. High-spec mountain bikes are offered for exploring at speed; Hunter Wellies (you weren't expecting Dunlop were you?) for a more leisurely tramp through the leaves.



Comfort

There are 26 rooms spread between the main house and an annexe in the renovated stables, where the suites – Hen House and Dog House – are also located. Snug and Comfy rooms come without a bath, Spacious rooms boast both showers and roll-top tubs. Some accommodate families; others allow dogs.

My Spacious room wasn't huge, but was luxurious. The lichen and cream palette complemented the forest, and the dark-stained floorboards creaked reassuringly. Pressed flowers were framed on the walls, National Trust books on pig-keeping and wild food added context and a digital Roberts radio and Bakelite phone kept things the right side of stylish. The large four-poster bed was almost overwhelmingly plump; it took the smell of sizzling bacon downstairs to prize me out of its puffy confines in the morning. Sorry, Saddlebacks.

The Pig

Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst, the New Forest, Hampshire SO42 7QL (01590 622354; thepighotel.co.uk).

Rooms

4 stars

Value

5 stars

Service

3 stars

Double rooms start at £125 midweek, £155 at weekends, room only. Breakfast is £10-£15 per person.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor