International travel magazine names The Willcox in the Top 5 on two lists
AIKEN, S.C. — In the latest issue of the esteemed international travel magazine, Travel + Leisure, The Willcox was named the #3 Inn and Small Lodge in the U.S. Perhaps even better, these global travel experts also tabbed The Willcox as #5 in the World for hotels of all sizes with a room rate of $250 or less per night. Accommodation rates at the 115-year-old Willcox hotel in Aiken, S.C., begin at $185.
Last year Travel + Leisure, judged by most as the worldwide authority on travel destinations, rated The Willcox as No. 32 among its Top 50 Hotels in the World!
The magazine’s praise for the beautiful Aiken icon this year reads:
“Flanked by grand white pillars and big oak trees, The Willcox is filled with historic southern charm. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Scarlett O’Hara’s own bedroom in each of the 22 guest quarters, thanks to four-poster beds, stitched floral pillows, and double-height paned windows framed in painted wood shutters. The main activity for Willcox guests is typically horse-related, as Aiken has served as the training ground for all things equestrian for more than 100 years. After steeplechasing or harness racing, dine on local applewood-smoked bacon and creamed corn, as well as greens grown in the chef’s on-site garden. A food truck also delivers dishes to guests on the go, whether they’re on one of Aiken’s polo fields or golf courses, or heading out on a foxhunt.
Shannon Ellis, co-owner of The Willcox, with her husband Geoff, said they are humbled and exhilarated by this recognition. “We are especially pleased to be listed as the 5th Best Hotel in the World with a Room Rate of $250 or less. I believe at $185 per night, our rooms are the least expensive of the hotels acknowledged by Travel + Leisure magazine. Most hotels that have made the Best in the World list have a room rate 10 times ours.”
“The magazine’s recognition of The Willcox for its great value for our guests is especially gratifying to us,” said Geoff. “From the beginning it has been our goal to provide a luxury experience at a more affordable price.”
Said Shannon, “Travel + Leisure readers are really telling us that our experience in Aiken is as worthwhile and as memorable as a stay in a great hotel in Bora Bora that might have cost them twenty five hundred dollars a night. It’s exciting and motivates us to continue to listen to our customers to provide them the best experience and truly understand what they value.”
“We are thrilled for ourselves and our staff, but even more, we are thrilled that this recognition is as much about Aiken as of The Willcox. By this recognition, Travel + Leisure is saying that Aiken has established itself as an international destination,” said Geoff Ellis.
“It’s about Aiken and bringing people to Aiken and how welcoming the community is to their visitors,” said Geoff. “It’s about how leading figures in sport, business and science are drawn to Aiken by the world-class level of those in their fields who live here. Whether it is polo, thoroughbred training or nuclear engineering, many of the best in the world work in Aiken, creating a gravity that draws others from around the world. Many British and French engineers stay with us, as do polo players from England and Argentina, horse trainers from Saratoga and Epson, and then just folks who want a special experience from Augusta, Georgia and across the country.”
“Aiken is a sporty world with good humor and great friends. It is a tremendous community that draws people, and when they get here they love it,” says Geoff. “Aiken has always meant an easy-going elegance and that is what Travel + Leisure is telling us that we have adopted.”
“We are all very proud to be a part of the history of The Willcox and we are incredibly grateful to the community that has supported us and made Aiken one of the top travel destinations in the world,” he said.