Center State

The Wilcox

Written by Stay In SC

Voted a Top 50 Hotel in the World, A Top 50 Hotel in the U.S., Best Local Hotel, Best Happy Hour, and Best Wait Staff

Tucked away in the beautiful and historically rich town of Aiken, South Carolina is an unlikely world-class hospitality gem that has been winning the hearts of locals and travelers alike since 1898. The Willcox is an internationally recognized and heavily awarded hotel and restaurant that enjoys a long history of service offering a rich array of luxurious amenities and stunning culinary creations for all to enjoy. The team at the Willcox has perfected the art of maintaining an upscale yet comfortable and tangible quality throughout the property.

This amazing pairing has allowed for a perfect blend of modern opulence and casual glamour reminiscent of yesteryear. Boasting a rich history and finding favor not only with passerby’s but within the local community as well, this Colonial Revival and National Historic landmark is fondly known as “The Living room of Aiken,” inviting all to gather within her doors and, for a while, be transported back to the leisurely way of life that de ned Aiken in the first decades of the twentieth century. Owners Shannon and Geo Ellis purchased first the restaurant and then the hotel, in 2009 and have continued to add their touch and build upon what previous ownership had started.

Originally restaurateurs exploring the gastropub concept while living on the North Island of New Zealand, Aiken native, Geo got wind that The Willcox was looking to outsource the food and beverage piece of the establishment. As fate would have it, the couple would end up purchasing the hotel as well within a few months of their return making them the proud sole owners of The Willcox. The husband and wife team were overjoyed at the idea of returning to the States to acquire a place in the history of this treasured landmark and to also rejoin the beautiful community of Aiken. They did not, however, come home empty handed! It was on the North Island that they met and recruited native Regan Browell to join them as Executive Chef at The Willcox. Browell had previously spent ten years traveling abroad, cooking in multiple countries for Ritz Carlton properties. Following the gastropub concept, Browell uses the freshest, local ingredients where possible. This brilliant, award-winning chef prides herself on creating food that captures the essence of The Willcox using seasonally local dishes featuring ingredients you can actually pronounce!

The restaurant has become a timeless favorite among the community and promises to be enjoyed for many years to come! The Willcox is more than just a great restaurant, however. The hotel exudes luxuriousness that rivals most any property of it’s class in the world! As you enter The Willcox, you immediately exhale as you step onto the white-columned lined front porch scattered with gentle rocking chairs beckoning you to relax and enjoy the trip back to a simpler time. All Guest rooms at The Willcox are quiet, comfortable retreats; lavishly appointed with high ceilings, crown moldings, and cloud-soft beds blanketed in cool, crisp linen. Of course, a visit to the award winning on site restaurant is an absolute must. However, if you are looking for a change of scenery, the full menu is also available to be served absolutely anywhere on the property.

The space also features two private dining rooms that provide a handsome space for parties and business presentations. Rejuvenation reigns supreme in the full service salon and spa. Reclaim your peace of mind and bodily balance in serene, re lit rooms, orchestrated by expert spa therapists. The property also boasts a salt water pool and small exercise room for guest enjoyment. In addition to the long list of on- site amenities, a 2,000 acre surrounding park is laced with hiking trails and bridle paths. Golf and equestrian sports (polo, steeplechase, fox hunting) are also available nearby as are quaint shops, museums, and nally the Thoroughbred Hall of Fame on the grounds of lovely Hopeland Gardens. The Willcox has also been honored as one of the Best Hotels in the World by Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines. The Restaurant at The Willcox has been highly acclaimed receiving Best Chefs of America awards in 2014 and 2015 and the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator in 2014 and 2015.

Year round, The Willcox offers a wide assortment of thoughtfully appointed packages to appeal to all variety of guests including sports enthusiasts, spa retreat seekers, food and wine devotees, and many other interests. Driven by detail and mastery, it seems The Willcox has painstakingly thought of everything. This perfect little hotel and restaurant truly has it all. So when you find yourself nearing the little city of Aiken, don’t hesitate to stop into The Willcox to see what the perfect mix of history, luxury and ultimate comfort is all about!

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