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The Willcox Hotel

Brent Cline

Built in the 19th century by Aiken’s storied Winter Colony as guest accommodations for their rich and famous visitors, the historic Willcox Hotel prides itself on offering the same gracious accommodations, five-star service and excellent cuisine the venerable inn extended those fabled guests from the city’s gilded past. The Willcox today is all that as well as a popular meeting place for locals, who mingle with overnight guests at the bar or around the lobby’s original stone fireplace on any given evening. Stop in for a cocktail and a bite to eat and you’re sure to strike up a conversation with someone interesting, whether they’ve just finished an afternoon of foxhunting or a few hours’ shopping in the boutiques along nearby Laurens Street. 

During their four-year tenure, owners Shannon and Geoff Ellis have successfully transformed the hotel into a respite for locals that also attracts discriminating travelers to the area—all while garnering an impressive collection of national awards for both hospitality and ecologically friendly business practices.  

A quick review of their website reveals an enticing schedule of events from cocktail classes to live music to spa treatments. The restaurant/gastro pub features a seasonal farm-to-table menu with emphasis on locally grown, organic offerings and small and large plate options to meet every taste and price point. 

All in all it’s fair to say the Willcox has happily reclaimed its 20th-century glory as well as its place in Aiken’s unique community.

100 Colleton Avenue  S.W. • (803) 648-1898 • www.thewillcox.com

IN ADDITION

Meet Me at the Willcox

Most evenings during the week, the lobby/bar offers live music with piano favorites on Tuesdays, Fridays, Sundays and jazz on Thursdays. Special events are scheduled monthly ranging from cocktail classes, cultural arts performances and seasonal specials and fundraising events. Consult the hotel website at www.thewillcox.com for details. 

On the Road

The Willcox has joined the national food truck craze, with their own version that offers what they describe as food that is a cross between hot dog and haute. Like the restaurant menus, their food truck fare is seasonally fresh, never processes and uniquely created by restaurant chef Regan Browell. You can schedule the truck to cater anything from a private party to a school festival.

Take Out for a Crowd

For a do-it-yourself catered party, you can order from the restaurant’s take-out menu, with portions that serve 10 people. Fare includes everything from starters, to entrees to crudites to sweets. Just give them 24 hours notice. 

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