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Sussex Hotel Review: Inside the ‘Beautiful’ New Pig Hotel on the South Downs

A great British haven, with more zing: The new ‘beautiful’ Pig Hotel on the South Downs is surrounded by some of Britain’s best wine-growing countries.

  • Jane Knight says most of the 30 rooms are in renovated outbuildings
  • The best room ‘is probably the Chicken Shack’, with lights in old chicken feeders
  • The hotel has two acres of grapevines – harvest could be on the menu in 2023


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They could have so easily called him the drunk pig.

On the rolling South Downs, this last of the Pig family of hotels is surrounded by some of Britain’s best wine-producing countries. Their own two acres of vines were planted last year, meaning their first harvest could be on the menu starting in 2023.

But given that founder Robin Hutson is passionate about plonk (he was co-owner of the Hotel du Vin group), why has it taken him up to his eighth pig to find a suitable one for the vine? “I’ve been pretty busy,” Hutson smiles as he strolls through the creepers and reflects on his vacancies at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall last year and Bridge Place in Kent the year before. But I have always liked a vineyard.

Good harvest: the pig in the elegant exterior of the South Downs

Good harvest: the pig in the elegant exterior of the South Downs

The hotel has 30 rooms, which cost from £ 155 per night.  The photo shows one of the cozy rooms.

The hotel has 30 rooms, which cost from £ 155 per night.  The photo shows one of the cozy rooms.

The hotel has 30 rooms, which cost from £ 155 per night. The photo shows one of the cozy rooms.

Decor is 'shabby chic at its finest,' writes Jane Knight of The Mail on Sunday

Decor is 'shabby chic at its finest,' writes Jane Knight of The Mail on Sunday

Decor is ‘shabby chic at its finest,’ writes Jane Knight of The Mail on Sunday

This part of Sussex is bursting with effervescence. One of the best tasting tours is a 15-minute drive in Tinwood, while a sparkling wine tasting session in Digby, which caters to the House of Commons, also hits the spot.

However, Hutson wants to create a really good still wine, much more difficult in this part of the world, and has planted several rows of gamay grapes, used in beaujolais, alongside the usual champagne grapes.

As your vintages mature, there is an extensive list of English wines to try and plenty of places to do so, from the winery’s tasting room to the conservatory restaurant that runs through the 1770 house and has a vine of its own that makes its way through it. length of the ceiling.

The garden has a field of 4,500 newly planted vines, a first for the Pig chain

The garden has a field of 4,500 newly planted vines, a first for the Pig chain

The garden has a field of 4,500 newly planted vines, a first for the Pig chain

Elsewhere, the dimly lit Masai red bar and wood-paneled lounge have a distinct piggy feel, though there’s not the same sense of grandeur in the main building as its sister hotels.

Most of the 30 rooms are in a collection of beautifully renovated outbuildings, as well as a handful of cozy wagons in the large, two-acre walled kitchen garden, a short jog across a gravel driveway.

It’s shabby chic at its finest, this time with a floral touch, designed by Hutson’s wife, Judy, and modeled, apparently, after a fictional 1940s housewife named Mary. However, looking at the vines from a bedroom in the main house, I can’t help but feel that Bacchus also played his part.

This room has wood paneling on the walls and an armchair to relax with a book.

This room has wood paneling on the walls and an armchair to relax with a book.

This room has wood paneling on the walls and an armchair to relax with a book.

Trendy: One of the bathrooms with an avocado-colored bathtub is shown in the photo.

Trendy: One of the bathrooms with an avocado-colored bathtub is shown in the photo.

Trendy: One of the bathrooms with an avocado-colored bathtub is shown in the photo.

The USP: A restaurant with lounges for wine lovers.

The food: Everything you would expect from a Pig hotel, with more vibrancy. The lobster cocktail is particularly good, while the lamb shoulder is magic to melt in your mouth. The beet juice for breakfast made me feel like I was compensating my liver for the excesses of the night before.

The rooms: All beautiful, their colors carefully chosen to go from the curtains to the old rugs; there’s even the odd freestanding avocado bath, which looks quite modern. The best room is probably the Chicken Shack, with its terrace, uneven tile roof, lights in old chicken feeders, and a bathroom next to a chaise longue at the end of a long room separated by beams.

TRAVEL FACTS

The Pig on the South Downs, Madehurst, West Sussex. Rooms from £ 155 per night (thepighotel.com).

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