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
We recently stayed overnight in one of the suites. On two separate occasions, I did not have enough hands to carry food and drink up to the room for the family, and the bartender and waiter accompanied me personally to help out. Amazing! The room was comfortable yet classy. The restaurant and breakfast were outstanding. All service throughout the hotel was friendly and professional. Great job!
Amazing. I had booked mid level room for me and my wife's first night together and when the owners found out that it was our honeymoon, they put us in the Roosevelt Suite - the nicest and largest suite in the hotel. What a cool experience. Very classy and upscale environment that spells of professionalism and english accents.
My husband recently spent 2 wonderful nights at the Willcox and loved the hotel, but especially the gracious staff. Every need was met and the room was comfortable and roomy. Breakfast was perfect and just enough. The linens were first class and so nice to have 4 towels and not like many hotels just 2. We liked it so much we have already booked another stay. I left my hair appliance and they very nicely went to the room, found it and mailed it to me. That is great service.