Imagine a time when genteel ladies and gentlemen of the Gilded Age journeyed South to enjoy leisurely climes, sumptuous dining and high society in a gracious, warm setting. That grand Southern tradition of the Winter Colony is still firmly in place year-round at The Willcox in Aiken, S.C., whether you’re channeling a sportsman in your riding boots or a socialite with your elegant gown.
Established in 1898 by Englishman Frederick Sugden, the 22-room boutique hotel was designed in the Colonial Revival style, with meticulous renovations and additions at various times over the past 100 years. Enjoy the hotel’s classic cocktail, the Parisian (which was invented here), in the lobby, which showcases original burled pine paneling and wood-burning fireplaces. The rooms, too, echo this turn-of-the-century design with beautifully carved wooden four-poster beds, but they add a modern twist with sleek, white-tiled baths with marble accents.
From a horse and dog concierge to a luxurious on-site spa and lounge-worthy pool, no detail is left unnoticed by the hotel’s discriminating staff. Throughout the year, wedding parties, corporations, international guests and golf spectators attending the Masters Tournament — it’s about a 30-minute drive from Aiken to Augusta National Golf Course — routinely rent the entire hotel as their home for the week.