For a small town, Aiken, South Carolina packs a lot of history. Referred to as a Winter Colony, wealthy families came here to escape frigid winter weather in the Northern United States and Canada. The town was an ideal health resort with crisp scented pine trees, dry air, spring fed water and was even considered a place to escape malaria. Equestrians brought their horses with them to Aiken and grand cottages and stables sprung up as fast as a hound dog on a fox scent.
Like fox hunting and Sunday afternoon polo, many horse-centric traditions still play an important role in Aiken. If you want to experience a bit of Aiken history during your visit, you’ll want to stay at the Carriage House Inn. Built in 1872, the historic bed and breakfast is located on the tree lined street of Laurens. Originally home to the Efron family, what started as a six room inn is now a boutique hotel, offering 37 guest rooms and suites in three restored historic buildings.
The Carriage House Inn Pendleton Guest House, directly behind the original inn, is over 20,000 square feet with 24 guest rooms and suites. This three story building has an elevator and includes rooms with porches that wrap the Charleston style building. I stayed in the original house, but I’m told the Pendleton Guest House and Laurens Guest House are popular with horse owners, equestrian aficionados and golf enthusiasts looking for long term lodging during special events.
My room #126, was a premium Jacuzzi guest room, offering 325 square feet. These premium rooms feature a king bed and whirpool Jacuzzi tub, in addition to custom designed furniture. My room had direct access to a shared outdoor veranda and rented for $175 per night, plus tax. As always, check the hotel website for current pricing.
While there are so many things to see and do in Aiken, I started my day with the complimentary breakfast that’s included in the price of the room. There is also a community refrigerator upstairs if you want to stash a yogurt for later or if you have leftovers from a dinner out at one of Aiken’s many restaurants.
The lobby in the hotel has a television if you want to catch up on world news or leaf through some of the many brochures featuring local activities such as a horseback ride in Hitchcock Woods or an escorted car tour to see many of the historic sites in Aiken.
Need to know:
Check in time is between 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Check-out is 11:00 am. The Inn is pet-friendly with a $75 one time fee.
Rates: Range from $125 – $190 and include full breakfast served in the dining room. Rooms include hair dryers, toiletries, drinks (coffee, tea) at all times, afternoon cookies, private baths, some with Jacuzzi tubs, street parking, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Insider tips: Head to the rooftop for a photo-worthy sunset or relax on the porch in the courtyard and enjoy a coffee or cup of tea. If you like chocolate chip cookies, check the side board in the dining room for fresh baked cookies and a glass of fruit-infused water in the afternoon. For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown.
If You Go:
Carriage House Inn (803) 644-5888
139 Laurens Street NW
Aiken, South Carolina 29801
Carriage House Inn review, video and all photography by travel writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of The City of Aiken, however, all opinions are my own.