The best account of a country house weekend was by Harold Nicolson, diplomat, diarist and, as resident of Sissinghurst, an expert with first-hand knowledge of his subject. In a celebrated essay, he described the languorous guests, chafing dishes, hot bacon under silver cloches and insistent drizzle outside the French windows. He exposed what he called the jade and lobster of the Edwardian period.

The best account of the English country house hotel is, however, by Robin Hutson, son of a south London heating engineer, who rose from pot-washer to GM to become a proprietor of genius. In one of Hutson’s Pigs, you have an ambience that is sophisticated, but relaxed. A fastidious eye has chosen everything, but not in an intimidating or controlling manner: authentic comforts are understood and addressed.

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