Travel etc.: The Pig Hotel in Combe

The Pig. Two words that have been circling my subconscious since I first planted them upon discovering them 4 years ago. I longed to go. And now I long to go back.

So much is thrust in our faces, all the time. We are so used to everything, everywhere, every second of every day, that it’s hard to appreciate each thing for what it is, on its own. I think that, because of this, because there is so much, muchness, the people managing such things - brands, products, services - take for granted that their customers perhaps don’t have, let alone take the time to, appreciate the small things; and therefore don’t take time over them, themselves.

Not here. Not at The Pig.

The Pig is a place where there are fifty shades of pure, incandescent green, strangers say ‘hello’ and the horses have space to disappear from view, within a single field. Food served for dinner comes from within a 25 mile radius, the sky is black at night and the sound of silence is a luxury. The air smells of freshness - if freshness had a smell - and you actually have time to hear your own exhale.

Cosy nooks and crannies for when getting lost in a book is your only real concern, natural light that floods every room, sustainable practices that run through it like a life-giving vein.

For fear this is becoming more of love letter to The Pig (not that I mind), here’s a summary.

Rooms + Bath : 4.5/5

If you imagined your idea of a picture-perfect old country barn conversion, this would be it. The bathroom too: prime focus being the bath-tub (which we obviously made full use of). Locally sourced bathroom amenities (all naturally scented, of course) and plenty of natural light. The beds were plush and one could lost beneath the blankets; dark wood with shades of green, burgundy red or mustard yellow accented throughout. With the right amount of space to sit comfortably without feeling the chair was an afterthought; lounge space is key.

Food 3.5/5

The breakfast buffet was my idea of perfection. Fresh pastries, fruit, seasonal compotes and local honeys to a-top any muesli, granola, nut/cereal/seed bowl you so desired to create. An à la carte menu to fill in the gaps and a boil-your-own egg station with egg timers so cute it took a lot of self-control not to leave with one (they have 3 hourglasses of sand, setting 3 different times for 3 different ‘cuisson’ of egg. Brilliant if you ask me). They cure their own meats, smoke their own fish, grow 12 different types of mint, produce around 17 tons of their own fruit and vegetables per year, across all sites, eliminating the need for packaging and travel. The only disappointment was that while the food was beautifully fresh, I (we, collectively) felt the dishes on their own lacked a little 'pzaz'. As a party of 4, we collectively tried more or less every dish on the menu, across 2 nights. Something to bear in mind for anyone with a thirst for flavour-fireworks, considering an extended stay.

"The kitchen garden is the beating heart of THE PIG-at-Combe" - The Pig

Design: 5/5

Every Pig Hotel is designed with a character pig in mind; except The Pig in Combe. Which is simply a lesson in spectacular antique fair hunting, vintage finds, local craftsmanship and seriously, seriously good, design.

Service: 4.5/5

Hard to fault, really. I knew, as soon as I saw the row of hunter wellies, lined up in the hallway in every size, every which colour, that an eye for detail was certainly not amiss.

Location: 4/5

Only really accessible by car, making it all the more recluse; which personally, I loved. Also neatly on the way to Cornwall (Padstow pitt-stop chez Rick Stein and or Paul Ainsworth anyone?).

Sustainability 4/5

Home grown produce. Locally reared and sourced menu. Composte heap. Vintage furniture pieces. Can't really fault them. Maybe the only addition would be refillable bathroom amenities... oh, and our granola on the menu ;)

Extras

The spa is a serious, must-try-treat.