What We Love
- Walking distance to Aiken’s town center, which is filled with boutiques, restaurants and horse sculptures
- The property dates back to 1898; original features abound
- Live Jazz by 4 Cats in the Doghouse fills the house every Thursday night
What To Know
- Free WiFi
- Tuesday night’s free hors d’oeuvres draw a crush of locals, so claim your table early
- Aiken is the equestrian center of the South; the small town swells with owners and trainers (the “Winter Colony”) between October and May
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Sophisticated hunting lodge. Off the rocking chair–lined veranda, the lobby living room feels ever so turn-of-the-century, with two large stone fireplaces, curly heart pine paneling and distinctive, high-backed “Aiken” sofas. Downstairs, hallways are done in warm shades of red, gold and bronze and adorned with equestrian artworks, while on guest floors peanut-red doors add punch to the grass cloth–covered corridors.
Bed and Bath
Housed in interconnected 19th-century houses, guestrooms range from petite Queen Rooms to the sprawling Roosevelt Suite, with its Chippendale veranda and separate living room. All are individually designed in an attractive melange of new and old furnishings, including chaise longues, four-poster beds and gas fireplaces. Beds sport coma-inducing feathertop mattresses, white linens and cream-colored matelasse coverlets. Modern all-white tile bathrooms feature custom Carrara marble-topped dark wood wash stands, glass-enclosed showers and, in suites, deep soaking tubs.
Bed and Bath
A few steps above the Living Room, the magnificent 19th-century Oak Bar is a refined spot for listening to live jazz (every Thursday), sipping specialty cocktails and sampling exquisite “petites” such as chicken liver pâté and rock shrimp bruschetta. Overlooking the garden, the Restaurant has a more contemporary feel, in burgundy velvet chairs and button-studded banquettes, and serves up exciting gastropub fare overseen by chef Regan Browell. Steps away, the pampering four-room spa gets high marks for complete hair and nail services, as well as restorative treatments using Dermalogica and Phyto products. Outside, the intimate, patterned-brick pool area is a calming place to relax or dine. The historic landmark’s legendary service is laced with genteel Southern charm.
In the Area
Two hours from Atlanta and Charlotte, this charming town is an equestrian epicenter thanks to an abundance of the soft clay soil expensive thoroughbreds love. Here, more than 200 green islands filled with arching live oaks, azaleas and magnolias grace the main thoroughfares, while streets named Easy and Whiskey are lined with enormous cottages and studded with water troughs for horses. Catch a polo match on an emerald-green field, then head to the Track Kitchen for a yummy down-home breakfast with jockeys and trainers. For a dose of retail therapy, family-owned shops including Vinya’s and Lionel Smith have a cult following; Equine Devine and Aiken Dry Goods offer natty sport clothes as well as saddles and boots. After browsing the Aiken Antique Center, in old McCrory’s five-and-dime, grab a tasty sandwich from Betsy’s On the Corner, and head for Hitchcock Woods, one of the largest privately owned urban forests in the country, open to walkers, riders and carriages.
How to Get There
I love the Willcox for its old-world charm but have always found the restaurant to be hit and miss. My last hamburger there was inedible so last week I chose fish and chips for lunch. The fish was miniscule, practically a fish nugget. My friend had chosen the hamburger and she said it was excellent. It will be the last time I eat here for a while.
We had the pleasure of revisiting the Willcox Inn this week for two days. The whole experience was wonderful. Our room was romantic, high quality, relaxing and comfortable.
The staff went out of their way to be helpful and accommodating.
Thank you. 5 star facility.
I proposed to my wife here and wanted to spend valentine’s day dinner there as well. The staff had truffles and champagne at our table when we arrived. Special touches to be sure. Dinner was delicious and the service was spot on southern hospitality. And the duo providing music was the touch that made the evening that much more special.
We went here with two other couples who have just relocated up to Aiken South Carolina. They insisted that this is a ‘must visit’ when you go to Aiken and they were correct!. The hotel/restaurant is a classic, but also relaxed, and the food we had from bread, drinks, appetizers, and entrées, we’re all outstanding.
Our server, Ebony, was amazing. Her drink recommendations, her entrée recommendations, her attentiveness, and her amazing smile made dining a pleasure.
For anyone visiting or living in Aiken this is a must visit. We hope to be back, and I only wish I took some pictures to share because it was beautiful.
We booked the Astor suite (room 212) to celebrate a birthday weekend, enjoy the pool and massages from the spa. The suite's living space is impressively spacious and very well appointed - including two fireplaces! I love the giant soaking tub and separate walk in shower. There were so many well-thought touches throughout, books & magazines, a sewing basket kit (which I used to mend a fallen hem) and spa items in the bathroom. The hotel breakfast that's included is one of the nicest spreads I've seen. Hanging out in the lobby during the evening was a great experience, talking with the friendly staff, other guests and locals. The Willcox is our favorite place to stay and each visit is made special by the wonderful experience it has to offer.