17 December | Places
Not many hotels are bold enough to proclaim, openly and proudly on their website, that their product ‘isn’t perfect’.

The Pig in Brockenhurst, New Forest, does: the phrase, with an exclamation mark after it for good measure, is front and centre on the landing page for all would be visitors to see. But it is no admission of weakness.

Instead, it is a knowing acknowledgement that the occasional small moment of imperfection or character, shall we say, is what makes The Pig such a charming, memorable place. We hopped in the car with our significant other, a Pig first timer, and headed down recently. But even though we knew what to expect, it didn’t make the experience any less fantastic.

The Pig, which sits in the heart of the New Forest and boasts 30 bedrooms, a simply outstanding restaurant, spa treatments, a smokehouse, a wildflower orchard, even a paddock full of pigs, is an unquestionably authentic place. The furniture and decor feels as though it has organically accumulated in the various rooms; it feels, strangely, as though the well-loved tables and armchairs are in their natural habitat in this cozy, welcoming place.

The menu in the restaurant has a similar feel: it is never dictated by fashion, but always by what the hotel’s forager (yes, forager) or kitchen gardener thinks looks the tastiest. Unsurprisingly, the food is wonderfully fresh and incredibly delicious. The hotel rooms are all good-sized, but still manage to feel like little indoor dens, each designed with relaxation and decadent inactivity in mind. The beds are huge, the in-room 'larders’ well stocked, the decor homely and familiar. We did not take advantage of any of the spa treatments, but not because of any reservation about their quality but instead, because my fellow guest and I each felt we were quite relaxed enough already.

Between the picturesque setting in the heart of a green and pleasant parcel of British countryside, the sumptuous grub, and the comfort of our room, we were more than happy. They might shy away from calling themselves perfect, but the team at The Pig should not be so reticent. Because if this isn’t a perfect hotel, then we demand to see what is.