Sam Lewis explores the Dorset ‘piglet’ hotel where the food and treatments are entwined with the land and sea

TWO COSY SHEPHERD huts are the location for spa treatments at this shabby, chic seaview hotel where the local countryside and ocean seeps into everything from the treatments to the food.

Only a short stroll from the manor house, past the quaint walled vegetable garden and giant-sized picnic tables, getting to them may not be pleasant on a rainy day and few guests make the journey in bathrobes and slippers. But rest assured your therapist will bravely wield an umbrella to protect you from the elements and lead you far from the madden crowd.

Unlike other spas, where you can be rudely awakened when neighbouring spa guests slam doors or flip flop up and down the corridors, here, on the rolling lawn, the only sounds are the birds and bleating of the sheep outside – and the distant rumble of the sea roaring on a gusty day. This is a hotel that brings you close to nature, and you can feel the tension in your shoulders drop before the massage has even begun.

Step inside the aptly named Potting Sheds and you’ll discover fluffy towels piled on the massage table and walls decorated with tins, pots, rustic trows and spades. Thankfully, there’s not the faintest scent of compost — just the heavenly scent of fragrant candles.

Like a shepherd protecting its flock, my therapist stands guard outside while I undress and slip under the covers. The spa menu is not vast but the therapist’s knowledge is… I’ve chosen a simple massage and she intuitively tailors it to my needs. She lets slip she’s also trained in reiki and I give her free rein to use it.

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