The latest arrival in THE PIG litter, opened in July 2016, is a dreamy Grade I-listed Elizabethan manor surrounded by undulating Devon countryside and grazing horses. This is the fifth opening in as many years for Robin and Judy Hutson, with partner David Elton. Previously Combe House Hotel, romantic and traditional, and already loved by this guide, it is now also sexy, says our series editor Fiona Duncan.
Step directly into the wood-panelled, glamorous bar (previously the reception hall), with shelves of colourful glasses stacked against the windows and a blazing fire. Other spaces have also been reimagined: in the dining room, a tall bricked-up window has been revealed, bringing in light and beautiful views. The old garden folly has been transformed into an atmospheric bar and outdoors dining space where you can taste delicious wood-fired pizza, and the potting sheds are now treatment rooms. The kitchen gardens and Victorian greenhouses have also been restored: they are wonderful for a walk, and provide some of the fresh herbs and ingredients for the restaurant’s “25-mile” menu.
Judy’s design talent is evident in the bedrooms: they are traditional and stylish, with quirky touches (such as pantries hidden inside antique cupboards), and they are conceived for practicality and comfort. One occupies a converted row of stables stalls; many have charming vintage furniture and freestanding baths.
The 3,500-acre grounds offer plenty of space for terraces, deck chairs and vintage sun umbrellas. The hotel’s location just off the A30 makes it easy to reach – although going back to the routine after a stay here might not be as easy.
See all the other PIG hotels: the original PIG at Brokenhurst (Hampshire), THE PIG in the wall (Southampton), THE PIG near Bath (Somerset), THE PIG on the beach (Dorset), THE PIG at Bridge Place (Kent), THE PIG on the Downs (South Downs), and THE PIG at Harlyn Bay (Cornwall).