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
My wife and I attended a function at the Willcox last night and spent the night as well. We had a wonderful time and promised to return for a weekend, perhaps in the Spring. The hotel’s public rooms are very attractive and the staff friendly and courteous. Rooms are beautifully furnished and spacious - we loved the high 4 poster bed. The weather was cold and rainy so we did not get a chance to explore the hotel’s outdoor amenities but hope to do so the next time. If Aiken is on your travel schedule, do not miss the Willcox! Our only disappointment was this morning’s breakfast which was nothing special - I don’t like buffet breakfasts but that would have been an improvement - my ham and cheese omelet arrived with no ham, no cheese, and no toast - certainly not what I ordered and not what you would expect from a hotel that is otherwise so good. That being said, we look forward to returning.
Aiken is a happening sleepy little town. However, there are loads of things to do there. First, you can park your car and walk everywhere you need to go. If you are walk adverse or, well, lazy, uber is an option. Everyone is amazingly friendly, There are numerous nightlife options, great dining, museums, shopping, trail riding, and the list goes one.
The Willcox is convenient to everything. The staff is amazing, The food good. The decor is awesome and overall, just a neat place.
The interior of the inn is like a step back into the past. Hardwood, woodturning fireplaces, couches, piano playing. Just a great charming setting.
The food in the inn is tremendous and surprisingly affordable. Great spa and the rooms are spacious and comfortable.
Look for me when you decide to visit as I'll be back.
We stayed here for a few days over Thanksgiving. Our room was gorgeous complete with fireplace. The restaurant was just terrific with great food and service. Thanksgiving buffet was fabulous and beyond our expectations. The staff treated us as honored guests. Highly recommend this property.
This property isn’t huge but that is part of the historical aspect that I appreciate. Right away the staff was great showed us to our room which was beautiful , had a warm fireplace and had a nice soaking tub! Very comfortable bed!
Experienced a massage at the spa while here as well and it was awesome and the massage therapist was very catering and made my stay extra relaxing.
We had drinks at the lobby bar (bartender was awesome forgot her name long blonde hair goes to USC Aiken) she was superb! Sat on the rocking chairs with drinks and then by the pool with the heaters going on this chilly night. We did eat at the restaurant on site but wrote a separate review on that ...it was good! Breakfast cooked to order in the morning was awesome! I really liked the old style building in the quaint Aiken area. A warm Irish coffee by the lobby fireplace rounded out the night! I will be coming back here!
Loved, loved, loved our stay in the Roosevelt Suite! Double door entrance leads to an entranceway with guest bathroom, and 2 large rooms on either side. To the right is the living room, with a very comfortable fold out couch, large terrace with tables and chairs, a fireplace, and a table for 6. To the left is the master bed and bath - claw foot tub, fireplace, desk, and cozy sitting area. Welcome fudge and turn down service with chocolates! Enjoy!