Those of us who live here know that Aiken is a special destination for travelers - even though it's still a well-kept secret. That secret has slowly been getting out of the bag, and now it's got a jump-start with the announcement that The Willcox has been named among the Top 50 Best Small Hotels in the United States in Conde Nast Traveler's annual 2011 Readers' Choice Awards.In other words, The Willcox has arrived.Conde Nast Traveler is a slick, upscale magazine that focuses on luxury travel worldwide. If you're into big vacations this is the magazine to read.That said, this award is most impressive and should lead to bigger things for The Willcox. That, in turn, puts Aiken a little higher on the destination list for many people.The Willcox owners Geoff and Shannon Ellis humbly gave credit to their staff and the people of Aiken. That's kind, and the Ellis's deserve high praise for the improvements and commitment to quality they've made. The Ellises first opened The Restaurant at The Willcox in November 2009 then bought the 113-year-old hotel on New Year's Eve 2009 after learning the historic downtown property would likely close its doors.But they are right - honors like this would not come around if it weren't for the hard work this community puts into its historic and horse districts, the lovely downtown and the friendly people. It makes Aiken a destination. Congratulations to The Willcox for a job well done.
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