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The Umstead Hotel & Spa Review: Opened in January 2007, the Umstead is the only independent luxury hotel on the Raleigh/Cary side of the Triangle Area. The elegant, contemporary building is surrounded by 12 acres of lush woodlands, and its large terrace overlooks a tranquil lake. Business travelers will find all the essential Internet amenities here, including attractive meeting rooms with state-of-the-art equipment. For relaxing, guests will appreciate the full service spa, exercise and meditation rooms, and hiking trails provide opportunities for escape. The plush bar invites after-hours and after-dinner gatherings, and offers properly served afternoon tea. Lakeside rooms offer private, furnished balconies, and all rooms offer luxurious finishes, good working desks and chairs, and 42" plasma TVs and deep soaking tubs. Suites, some more than 1,000 square feet, add living/dining spaces and sumptuous entryways (governor and presidential suites). Public spaces are appointed with carefully selected contemporary art, with the most spectacular piece being a custom-designed glass piece by renowned glass artist Dale Chihouly. A total of some 80 well-chosen pieces represent work by North Carolina artists as well as artists from around the world, making the hotel a virtual museum of contemporary art.. And for meals, the hotel's elegantly appointed restaurant, Herons, offers a seasonal menu showcasing local produce.