The Willcox Hotel in Aiken, South Carolina, offers a quintessential and luxurious Southern experience. Gracious, genteel and understated, yet sophisticated and chic, the gloriously grand white-pillared hotel exudes the grace and charm of the Gilded Age. Built in 1898 and beautifully restored to its former glory, the hotel boasts high coffered ceilings, individually designed and decorated guest rooms and suites, period antiques and vintage furnishings, fine dining and an exclusive spa and wellness center.

During the Gilded Age, Aiken was a popular winter destination where high society would gather to enjoy polo, pampering and glittering society balls, and The Willcox Hotel was at the heart of it all. Visited by politicians, royalty and captains of industry, the grand hotel gained its world-renowned reputation for atmosphere, impeccable service and outstanding cuisine, a reputation which has stood the test of time and is still revered today.

1.The Willcox Hotel Rooms & Suites

The Willcox Hotel Rooms & Suites  

Reflecting the luxurious, palatial ambiance that permeates through the hotel, guest rooms and suites at The Willcox are exquisitely appointed havens of tranquility. Individually decorated to exude their own character, rooms and suites feature high ceilings and ornate crown moldings, spacious bedrooms, living areas and en suite marble bathrooms with deluxe bath products, crackling fireplaces and expansive windows embracing beautiful views.

Guests have a choice of a variety of rooms and suites, ranging from Superior, Deluxe and Premium Rooms to Junior, Premium and The Roosevelt Suite. While each room and suite offer unique character and views, all rooms feature modern amenities such as telephones with voice messaging services, executive desks and chairs, flat-screen televisions and DVD players, yoga mats, in-room safes, iron and ironing boards, hair dryers, bespoke bathrobes and complimentary high-speed Internet access.

Superior Rooms offer comfort and style with a king or queen-sized four-poster bed with feather-top mattress and feather pillows as well as a spacious sitting area. A lovely en suite bathroom has a glass-enclosed walk-in shower and bath with deluxe bath products and bespoke terry bathrobes. Room amenities include an executive desk and chair, flat screen television and DVD player and complimentary high-speed Internet access.

Beautifully appointed Deluxe Rooms welcome guests with king, queen or double beds, luxurious en suite bathrooms with bathtubs and showers and deluxe bath products, romantic fireplaces and large windows with breathtaking views.

Representing the ultimate in luxury, Premium Rooms are the largest of the guest rooms and feature high ceilings, creamy wallpaper, crackling fireplaces and smooth wood paneling. Spacious bedrooms offer king or queen-size beds and the en suite bathrooms have deep soaking tubs and plush terry robes to pamper and comfort.

Luxury is taken to new heights in the beautiful Astor or Barrymore Suites, which are spacious, sumptuous and impeccably appointed. These suites feature fluffy, king-size feather beds dressed in imported linens, en suite bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs and separate showers, common living areas with fireplaces and walls adorned with fine art and antiques. Additional suite amenities include a pull-out sofa for extra guests and complimentary high-speed Internet access.

Premium Suites include the Vanderbilt, Whitney, Hitchcock and Churchill Suites and offer the ultimate experience in privacy and comfort. Inviting and warm, each suite boasts the charming architecture and style of the Colonial and Second Empires, with each suite individually decorated to preserve the historic character of the period. Suites enjoy large, comfortable living spaces, ornate fireplaces and luxurious en suite bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs and separate glass-enclosed showers. Additional suite amenities include a pull-out sofa for extra guests and complimentary high-speed Internet access.

The Roosevelt Suite offers the ultimate in luxury and style with a contemporary approach to indulgent comfort. Discerning guests can curl up in front of one of two fireplaces, unwind in an oversized soaking tub, and enjoy the very best of Aiken cuisine at their own dining table. The Suite is flanked by a 52-foot balcony which offers stunning views over the city and is the perfect spot for an early morning coffee or a late nightcap.

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2.Dining at The Willcox Hotel

Dining at The Willcox Hotel  

Enjoying the reputation as one of the best restaurants in the country, The Restaurant at The Willcox serves an inspired menu of American cuisine with an international flair. Grandiose Southern décor and soft lighting create an alluring, cozy ambiance that is matched by a menu that features fresh ingredients that are brought in daily.

Organic or naturally-raised items such as certified Angus beef and fish are flown in within 24 hours of the catch from the Hawaiian Seafood Company. Headed up by Executive Chef Regan Browell, the hotel’s team of talented chefs create a menu that includes signature dishes such as a delicious risotto with roasted artichoke, lemon and feta, and a grilled salmon filet with stone-ground grit sticks and roasted asparagus. Cuisine is accompanied by a curated selection of fine wines, champagnes and spirits from around the world.

The Lobby Bar offers a casual, relaxing environment in which to unwind over drinks and appetizers, tapas and other small plates including crispy calamari, Vietnamese marinated brochette and New Zealand lamb lollipop chops with smoked onion jam. Signature cocktails are created by expert mixologists behind the bar and classics like martinis and G&Ts are the order of the day. Open until late every evening, The Lobby Bar is the perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail or post-dinner drinks with friends. Make sure you don’t miss their signature cocktail ‘The Parisian,’ which earned the Lobby Bar the title of ‘Home of the Tastiest Cocktail.’

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3.Hotel Amenities & Activities

Hotel Amenities & Activities  

In addition to luxurious accommodations, award-winning dining and an exclusive spa and wellness center, the Willcox offers an array of first-class amenities, including a sparkling saltwater swimming pool, a 24-hour fitness center and cardio room with stationary bicycles, and a library of DVD’s, board games and Stave puzzles. A fully-equipped business station has a desktop computer, printer and high-speed Internet access and a shoe shine service is available during the evening.

Guests can work out in the comfort of their rooms with a complimentary yoga mat, a menu of exercise equipment and exercise DVDs that can be borrowed from the library. Personal yoga, meditation and fitness trainers are available upon request for an extra fee. If you prefer to work out off-site, guests have complimentary use of the exercise equipment and classes at Gold’s Gym.

Animals-lovers can enjoy peace of mind with the exclusive horse and dog concierge services provided by the hotel. Horse concierge services include tack repair, vet and farrier referrals, blanket washing and repair, equine massage and horse show/event contacts. Dog Concierge services include grooming, dog walking, vet referrals and dog training.

The Spa

The full-service salon and spa at The Willcox Hotel give guests the opportunity to unwind and relax with a range of pampering and indulgent body treatments, massages and massage therapy, facials and facial enhancements, skin care, manicures, pedicures, hair styling and make-up application. Health and beauty solutions are delivered by expert spa therapists in comfortable, fire-lit treatment rooms, ensuring absolute relaxation and rejuvenation.

A signature specialty of the Willcox includes a unique Sleep Concierge package, which includes a cashmere hot water bottle provided at turndown, a meditation DVD with meditation pillow, a bedside sleep sound system with 36 natural sounds, a luxurious eye mask and essential oils applied to the bottom of the feet.

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4.Weddings, Reunions & Conferences

Weddings, Reunions & Conferences  

From intimate ceremonies to sophisticated receptions, The Willcox offers an array of private venues for every style of wedding. Offering uncompromising personal service, signature attention and the experience of a certified wedding planner, The Willcox has been inspiring and providing generations of storybook weddings for decades.

Experts can customize the entire experience from the ceremony to the reception and everything in between, including bridal showers, afternoon teas and rehearsal dinners. The kitchen and catering team can custom design menus to impress from classic buffet style banquets to individually plated gourmet affairs. The Willcox caters for a variety of events such as proposals, engagements, bridal and bachelorette parties, weddings, honeymoons and babymoons.

The Willcox offers a variety of private venues to suit every occasion from a British country house feel in the Hunt Room or Old English club ambiance in The Pub Room to flowing waterfalls, lush gardens and twinkling lights at The Pool or a combination of the three. The Roosevelt Suite can host up to 25 guests and is ideal for guests wanting an intimate and private event. Conference Facilities

The Willcox specializes in combining an outstanding venue with state-of-the-art technology, ample space, impeccable service and a professional ambiance to provide the perfect setting for exclusive board meetings and corporate retreats, private dinners and large celebrations. Rooms are well-appointed and can cater for a varying number of guests, and on-site professional event planners organize every element of the event, from accommodation and catering to equipment and logistics. Event rooms are fitted with podium and sound systems, direct phone lines and speakerphones, fax and copier services and complimentary high-speed wireless Internet.

The Willcox offers a variety of personalized packages that include accommodation at the hotel, fine dining in the restaurant, spa treatments, beautiful floral arrangements or wine deliveries, championship golf or tickets to local attractions. Packages range from holiday, sport and recreation, health and wellness, family and friends and enrichment packages.

Rooms start at $189 per night.

100 Colleton Ave SW, Aiken, SC 29801, Phone: 803-648-1898

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South Carolina Weekend Getaways: The Willcox Hotel