The Pig on the Beach, Manor Road, Studland, Dorset, BH19 3AU
The Pig on the Beach hotel in Dorset is nestled near the dunes and beaches of Studland Bay. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty. It was formerly known as the Manor House Hotel. Before that, it was the summer holiday home of the aristocratic Bankes family of Kingston Lacy. Acquired by the Limewood group in 2014 and added to its growing litter of Pig Hotels, the house was extended, renovated and painted a mellow shade of yellow. Inside the eccentric décor is very much of the shabby chic style.
As with the other hotels in the litter, the Pig on the Beach promotes itself as a ‘restaurant with rooms’, rather than just a hotel. The dining menu concentrates on local produce sourced within a 25-mile radius. Fruit, vegetables and herbs are picked each day from the huge kitchen garden. Unique Boutique Travel visited in September 2018, for a mid-week stay of two nights.
Studland is about a three-hour drive from London. If you are staying for several days it’s well worth having a car as there are a number of local attractions within driving distance. Alternatively, the region is accessible by train, approximately two hours from central London. The nearest station is Wareham, on the London Waterloo–Weymouth line, about 20 minutes drive from the hotel.
All the rooms are delightful, many with interesting original features. They employ vintage style fabrics, chandeliers and beautifully dressed beds, with the Pigs’ signature Roberts radios, well-stocked ‘larders’ (mini-bar) and excellent bathrooms. We stayed in the delightfully thatched ‘dovecote-style’ Bothy tucked away in the walled kitchen garden. The Bothy is the perfect couples retreat for a romantic getaway. It’s a single-storey, open plan structure with a four-poster bed. It also features a monsoon shower, a free-standing bath and views of the kitchen garden. There is another Dovecote on the grounds, the two-storey Lookout.
The menus change daily and are created according to what is available from the walled Kitchen Garden or delivered from the local suppliers. Everything is sourced within a 25-mile radius, meaning that fish, with Studland Bay nearby, features prominently on the menu. The menus can change by the minute. It all depends on what the forager supplies and what the kitchen garden team considers to be in perfect condition. The food is served in the laid-back conservatory restaurant. There is also a wood-panelled bar that is perfect for a pre-dinner drink or a late evening nightcap.
There is no dress code, but all of the diners whilst we were there were dressed in smart casual. Breakfast is not included in the standard tariff, but two options, continental and cooked, are available at very reasonable prices. If the weather is nice, why not enjoy your breakfast in the sunshine on the large garden terrace? Alternatively, sit on the terrace with a cold drink in hand as you look out over the dramatic panorama of Old Harry Rocks.
Service and facilities
The motivated team is made up of experienced staff members from other Pig hotels and newly recruited staff hired from the local community. All are keen, efficient, friendly and hard-working.
- Restaurant, bar and lounge
- Private dining room
- Free WiFi
- In-room TV (Freeview)
- Licenced for civil weddings
- Spa treatments
- Ground-floor public rooms
- Wheelchair accessible
The beach is only minutes away by foot. If the sun is shining, lie by the beach or perhaps rent the Pig’s beach hut for the day. The South West Coast Path from Studland Village to Old Harry Rocks passes the hotel. It’s a 6km circular walk with spectacular scenery right at the start of the Jurassic Coast. Slightly further afield is the Isle of Purbeck, a peninsula packed with winding roads, coastal walks, beautiful beaches, and quaint little villages. Poole, Swanage and historic sites such as Corfe Castle and the geologically famous Lulworth Cove are nearby. All within reasonable driving distance from the Pig on the Beach.
It’s like visiting an eccentric uncle’s rambling house for the holidays. Antiques, oddities and mismatched furniture make it an adventure to visit any room in the hotel. The scenery is superb and there is a huge range of outdoor activities in the region, weather permitting. The smiling staff are on the ball, helpful, but discreet. The highlight of the stay has got to be the conservatory restaurant. The menu is stuffed full of ingredients that were literally grown on the grounds of the hotel. It is a fabulous boutique hotel with an amazing dining experience.