I’ve just discovered my all-time favourite B&B. Surprisingly, it’s not in a secluded Gloucestershire valley or halfway up a Cumbrian mountainside. It’s actually in Southampton – which is brilliant for catching the Isle of White ferry or setting off on a cruise to sunnier climes, but not exactly known as a holiday destination.
The Pig in the Wall is the sister establishment to the Pig in the Forest, a five star hotel in the New Forest, and opened in October 2012. The name is inspired by its unusual (and very striking) location – the 12-bedroom boutique hotel is built into a gap in Southampton’s medieval wall, just minutes from the harbour.
Inside, it is utterly stunning. The rooms are designed by Judy Hutson (wife of co-owner Robin Hutson, who founded the Hotel du Vin chain) and are so chic and comfortable that I’d love her to sort my own house out. My favourite touches were the mismatching (deliberately) multicoloured floor tiles in the bathroom, the railway sleepers used for the floors and landing, the Roberts Radio and old-fashioned alarm clock by the bed and the framed newspaper prints (one with the headline Titanic Disaster from April 1912) lining the walls.
The Southampton Pig doesn’t have a formal restaurant although there’s a smart-looking Land Rover in the car park that whisks guests to the New Forest Pig if they so choose.
But the Pig in the Wall has an informal deli-bar (serving salads, charcuterie and wines by the glass) and also serves up a cracking breakfast. The stylish green drawing room is filled with books, wooden trays of plants and an eclectic collection of jugs and china and I felt so at home in my leather armchair that I could happily have stayed for hours. I helped myself to fresh apple juice and banana bread, the friendly staff brought several pots of Earl Grey tea and yes, all was right with the world.
The Pig in the Wall, 8 Western Esplanade, Southhampton, SO14 2AZ.
PS. Watch out for the next Pig venture. The Pig on the Beach, at Studland in Dorset, is coming soon…