This is undoubtedly one of the most unusual luxury hotel rooms the gal has ever stayed in. It is The Bothy, one of the two new villas added to the brilliant Pig on the Beach. The word ‘Bothy’ is actually a basic shelter shelter, found anywhere in the UK, usually left unlocked and anyone can use it, for free – in the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, it was a semi-legal drinking den. This Bothy, fortunately locked, is circular, 20 feet in diameter. Inside, the space, painted delicate avocado, continues right up inside the roof. It has under-heated stone flooring and behind the king size bed is a log-burning stove, facing the other direction, which is the bathroom. Lie in the basketball player-long freestanding tub and put more logs in the fire? The gal adds a glass of the extremely enjoyable Nyetimber house sparkling.
The Bothy might be, literally, in the middle of The Pig on the Beach’s vegetable garden – and its thick padded curtains have prints of turnips – but it is high luxury (faultless WiFi) with local and retro touches. The Nespresso coffee maker is above a minibar filled with local products, Purbeck Cider’s Jurassic Apple Juice, Chesil Pilsner Ale as well as non-local De Wetshof Bon Vallon Chardonnay, Backsberg Merlot and La Playa Cabernet Sauvignon, all 2012. The snacks are similarly local, and the silk teabags are from Teapigs Teas (the mugs are Grayshott Stoneware). The clock, made in China, resembles a Victorian alarm. The radio is a real Roberts, fortunately digital, and the phone is black Bakelite, with dials that are actually buttons.
Having seen the farm – sorry, hotel – hens chirping so happily yesterday, I tried the boil-them-yourself egg facility at breakfast. Four, five, or six minutes, the timer allows all. Cut your own bread, make your toast. The buffet tables grown with fresh and stewed fruits, a big bowl of organic yoghurt, cereals, all this for only £10 (pay another fiver to add kippers, or smoked salmon and scrambled egg, or ‘the full Pig’ English breakfast. A full stack of newspapers, growing plants all around the tables. Would you like another plunger of coffee, asks a Swedish server, in the standard unisex uniform of rose-pink shirt, blue jeans and blue and white Converse trainers.
Sarah, the duty person, had been working in a hardware shop until a month ago – who said luxury hotels need people from hotel schools? I made a note to come back in summer, to head down to the beach and its row of wooden beach huts. June 21st, by the way, there will be yet another reason to return: The Pig on the Beach hosts the first Smoked & Uncut Festival, whatever that is. Suggestions, anyone?