April 14, 2016
Content and imagery from the Plymouth Herald.
Work on the transformation of our newest Pig, THE PIG-at Combe is now well underway. Not just another cookie-cutter roll out, the £9 million transformation requires more than 100 contractors a day on site at what was the Grade I listed manor house Combe House in Gittisham, Devon.
Work has begun on the historic great hall that will become the bar and entrance. This will completely changing the traditional arrival experience – head straight to the heart of the action in a house of fun not formality
The stables are being converted to create beautiful bedrooms. These will retain much of the original features, partitions and even flooring and tiling.
The grand staircase is wrapped in plastic to protect it during works. Whilst the pavilion in the grounds is being converted with a wood fired oven for informal outside dining and will be left 'derelict-chic' serving pizzas.
At Combe, the walled gardens and greenhouses have been restored and two of the potting sheds will become rustic-style spa treatment rooms. Planting has already begun in the kitchen garden. There’s a saying in Devon that ‘if you stick your finger in the ground it will grow’, and the kitchen garden will be the beating heart of the new addition. The difference here is there are 3 walled gardens - the vegetable garden, the herb garden and the infusion garden.
The original Georgian kitchen with a working range will become a private dining area, whilst the pantry will become a private bar.
Robin Hutson, our Chief Executive, says that the Elizabethan country estate in the Otter Valley is a great match for the brand known for its quirky décor. Due to open in July THE PIG-at Combe will be the fifth restaurant with rooms to open as part of our family. And speaking of family the interior wil be designed by Robin's own wife Judy, and produce grown in the hotel's own kitchen garden will be led by their son Ollie.
"We are only really interested in doing exceptional buildings, for every dozen that pass my desk a week, I probably visit one a month and come across something really special once a year and that one was Combe House."
The plan is to make the hotel more accessible by bringing down room rates and offering a restaurant where informality rules. We will be taking out the panelled and formal banqueting and drawing rooms, banning polished panelling, pelmets and fitted carpet, instead opting for stripped back signature bare wood floors and restored shutters.
We want people to just come in and enjoy some pizza and a glass of rose if they want to. Hence the decision behind our name “THE PIG” which was deliberately chosen to 'de-posh' the country house hotel experience.
THE PIG-at Combe will be the first in Devon and we imagine that many of our customers will come from London and the South East. We want to give them a country retreat experience with local food. Thanks to THE PIG-at Combe’s location being 8 miles from the coast the menu will consist of fresh fish as well as the very best Devonshire cheese and locally reared meat from butchers around the market town of Honiton. As with the other PIGs, what cannot be grown in THE PIG’s kitchen garden will be sourced within a 25-mile radius.
The hotel will have 27 bedrooms including suites in the stable yard and outbuildings. The loft of the main house will be transformed into spacious rafter bedrooms.
"I hope people will like what we have done and realise that we love old buildings just as much as they do. We want people to enjoy it here and use it as much as they can."