New-look luxury, says Girlahead, is a perfectly-aligned blend of locale, sense of place, with the rest of the world.
Take THE PIG IN THE SOUTH DOWNS, the latest English masterpiece in a growing hotel portfolio so cleverly conceived, expanded and overseen by Home Grown Hotels’ CEO Robin Hutson. This one, which opened September 2021, is only an hour from London (head south down the A29 towards Brighton and the hotel, seven kilometres west of that road, is clearly signed-posted off it). As so often with this brand, the hotel has been converted from a traditional English country house but, as new-luxury evolves, this PIG is more estate and outhouses that happens to have a two-floor house as well. Here, only five bedrooms are in the house: 25 other ‘rooms’ include four double-size shepherds’ huts in the double-size (= two acres) working walled garden, as well as former ‘utilities’. If you are sleeping in one of these unusual appendages, by the way, take Yeezys or other flat shoes. Gravel on all walkways could do annoying scuffing damage to Manolo heels.
This meant Girlahead was lucky enough to stay, uniquely, in Gracie’s Shed. What was once the one-pony stable for the family pet, is now a luxury-lifestyle 8×6 metre bedroom, completely – floor, walls and ceiling – completely lined, like the bathroom at one end, with recycled wood. Yes, The PIG is a very ESG brand, with great awareness of the environment and social responsibility as well as locale. See, above, such local products as coffee beans, and Henners Native Grace Chardonnay: soon, at least by the 2023 vintage, this PIG will also have its own label, as Robin Hutson led a team planting over 4,500 vines in a sun-drenched two acre field adjacent to the hotel.
Read later about the cuisine here at THE PIG IN THE SOUTH DOWNS. Suffice to say, at this stage, that you might be in the quintessential English countryside but you are part of a much wider world. Whereas most of the other hotel team members are also English, and without exception, obviously passionate as well as professional, the GM, Mairead Gleeson, is Irish, and the chef, Kamil Oseka, is Polish. This guy is unique. His wide collection of cookbooks is on shelves in the Restaurant, displayed with five-litre glass preserving jars of pickles. ‘Call me Mr Pickle’, says Oseka, rushing a foodie diner through the immaculate and busy kitchen to a pantry lined ceiling-high with jars, filled with pickled fruits, vegetables and goodness only knows what else. See his highly-entertaining video, below.