Travel

Great British boltholes: A review of The Pig at Harlyn Bay, Cornwall

As a Cornwall resident, I’ve seen Rock, Polzeath and Padstow draw staycationers by the carload. But now there’s a great new diversion from the main drag: The Pig at Harlyn Bay, which will entice not only the hotel group’s faithful (and fashionable) following but grateful locals alike.

A stroll away from Harlyn’s expansive beach, this is the seventh Pig hotel in the litter and it turns out to be seventh heaven for me. The beautifully renovated Grade II listed manor has 16th Century origins and medieval, Jacobean and Georgian features.

Its elegant exterior, grounds and bountiful walled kitchen garden take my mind off social distancing, and amiable staff respect physical space while being anything but distant in personality. 

Inviting: The Pig at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall is the hotel chain's seventh property. Pictured is the hotel's terrace

Inviting: The Pig at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall is the hotel chain's seventh property. Pictured is the hotel's terrace

Inviting: The Pig at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall is the hotel chain’s seventh property. Pictured is the hotel’s terrace

Rooms are 'sexy, fun, luxe' - from generous main-house rooms, many with sea views, to the Stonehouse and Wagons

Rooms are 'sexy, fun, luxe' - from generous main-house rooms, many with sea views, to the Stonehouse and Wagons

Rooms are ‘sexy, fun, luxe’ – from generous main-house rooms, many with sea views, to the Stonehouse and Wagons

Vicki says that The Pig at Harlyn Bay will entice not only the hotel group’s faithful (and fashionable) following but grateful locals alike

Vicki says that The Pig at Harlyn Bay will entice not only the hotel group’s faithful (and fashionable) following but grateful locals alike

Vicki says that The Pig at Harlyn Bay will entice not only the hotel group’s faithful (and fashionable) following but grateful locals alike

The interior of the hotel is at times darkly atmospheric, but also invitingly snug. This image captures the vibe

The interior of the hotel is at times darkly atmospheric, but also invitingly snug. This image captures the vibe

The interior of the hotel is at times darkly atmospheric, but also invitingly snug. This image captures the vibe

Although sunny outside, the darkly atmospheric Map Room has a roaring fire and the bar is tempting. I’d already like to stay for Christmas.

Robin Hutson, founder of The Pigs, has a twinkle in his eye; his wife Judy, interior designer, spins yarns about catching couples in flagrante and the characters she’s imagined she’s decorating the hotels for (here, it’s actor Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell from Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall).

After tea in an inviting snug, I climb the stunning staircase to my room. No 8 (of 11 in the manor house) is all moody dark green/grey tones with gnarly wooden floor, whopping great bed, and elaborately carved desk that demands a quill for writing. 

Vicki writes: 'Robin Hutson, founder of The Pigs, has a twinkle in his eye; his wife Judy, interior designer, spins yarns about catching couples in flagrante and the characters she’s imagined she’s decorating the hotels for (here, it’s actor Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell from Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall'

Vicki writes: 'Robin Hutson, founder of The Pigs, has a twinkle in his eye; his wife Judy, interior designer, spins yarns about catching couples in flagrante and the characters she’s imagined she’s decorating the hotels for (here, it’s actor Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell from Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall'

Vicki writes: ‘Robin Hutson, founder of The Pigs, has a twinkle in his eye; his wife Judy, interior designer, spins yarns about catching couples in flagrante and the characters she’s imagined she’s decorating the hotels for (here, it’s actor Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell from Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall’

The bedrooms have whopping big beds, gnarled wooden floors and writing desks that will have guests reaching for a quill

The bedrooms have whopping big beds, gnarled wooden floors and writing desks that will have guests reaching for a quill

The bedrooms have whopping big beds, gnarled wooden floors and writing desks that will have guests reaching for a quill

Dinner in the rustic panelled dining room is 'relaxed' and much of the seasonal menu is gleaned from the kitchen garden

Dinner in the rustic panelled dining room is 'relaxed' and much of the seasonal menu is gleaned from the kitchen garden

Dinner in the rustic panelled dining room is ‘relaxed’ and much of the seasonal menu is gleaned from the kitchen garden

The hotel is a beautifully renovated Grade II listed manor with 16th Century origins and medieval, Jacobean and Georgian features

The hotel is a beautifully renovated Grade II listed manor with 16th Century origins and medieval, Jacobean and Georgian features

The hotel is a beautifully renovated Grade II listed manor with 16th Century origins and medieval, Jacobean and Georgian features

The piece de resistance is a 15th Century stone frieze with mysterious sea beasts bordering the ceiling. 

The large bathroom has a rainfall shower and huge tub by the window overlooking a pretty terrace where guests gather. A blind provides privacy as I soak. 

There are 15 more stylish bedrooms in the new slate Stonehouse adjacent to the manor and a quartet of Garden Wagons which are like private suites – as well designed and comfortable as the other rooms.

Dinner in the rustic panelled dining room is relaxed (think no dress code, mismatching vintage crockery). Much of the seasonal menu is gleaned from the kitchen garden so vegetarian choices feel right. 

Food is 'outstanding', with a ‘25-Mile Menu’ that includes Cornish seafood. Pictured is The Scullery

Food is 'outstanding', with a ‘25-Mile Menu’ that includes Cornish seafood. Pictured is The Scullery

Food is ‘outstanding’, with a ‘25-Mile Menu’ that includes Cornish seafood. Pictured is The Scullery 

The hotel has an elegant exterior, grounds and bountiful walled kitchen garden, says Vicki

The hotel has an elegant exterior, grounds and bountiful walled kitchen garden, says Vicki

The hotel has an elegant exterior, grounds and bountiful walled kitchen garden, says Vicki

Intense-green pea soup has a toothsome twist: spiced almonds and black peppermint. Fennel risotto has crunchy tempura fennel tops and chilli oil. Mint mousse with chocolate sorbet is exquisite. Jovial drinks follow. Here’s to a country house hotel that feels much more country home.

The USP: Location, fabulous grub, warm atmosphere, knockout decor, great staff, Potting Shed spa.

The rooms: Sexy, fun, luxe – from generous main-house rooms, many with sea views, to the Stonehouse and Wagons. All have Nespressos, kettle and personal safety kits of masks, gloves and hand sanitiser.

The food: Outstanding, with emphasis on its kitchen garden produce and a ‘25-Mile Menu’ that includes Cornish seafood. Salmon is smoked on site. At breakfast, the ‘Full Pig Out’ is aptly named, croissants are the size of your head and compotes divine. The alfresco Lobster Shed’s char-grilled meat, wood-roasted lobster and barbecued vegetables are top-dollar choices. 

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