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The Umstead Spa - Review

The Umstead Hotel and Spa's Soothing Sanctuary

By Irvina Lew

The couples treatment room at The Umstead Spa

The calming couples treatment room

When we're ready for a spa getaway, we look for a place that's easy to reach, a superlative someplace where we feel content from the moment of arrival. The art-filled Umstead Hotel and Spa, in Cary, North Carolina, located just a hop and a skip from the Raleigh Durham airport, hints at what makes it special from every entrance.

Rare woods, grand windows, serene furnishings, discreet textures and fine art are some of the telling details in this 150-room luxury hotel; so are these: circular carpet patterns picked up on fabrics, curves repeated in the shape of a desktop, the line of a chair, the beveled edge of glass.

The 14,000 square foot spa has a lush interior filled with natural light through glass walls that bring in the outside. Interiors, including textured walls, are shaded in desert tones that range from aqua to sage with warm creamy beigy-griegy colors. It is easily reached from the hotel tower via a ground level, glass walled hallway leading to a fantastic water feature at the entry.

A relaxing lounge at the spa with a fireplace The outdoor heated pool at The Umstead Hotel & Spa in North Carolina
A relaxing lounge at the spa
The outdoor heated pool

Inside the lobby, one set of double glass doors lead out to a garden path adjacent to Texas limestone rock walls while another opens out to a grassy landscaped garden and the hotel pool. Room service delivers spa cuisine to guests and private cabanas (and to the spa lounges). Beyond the pool, there’s a lake with a walking trail.

Throughout the spa, landscape paintings and flower-filled bud vases warm a space with raised ceilings, back lighting and wide hallways. In the male and female lounges, black tile rimmed fireplaces aid to the ambiance. In locker rooms and individual showers, frosted glass windows bring in light; above eye level clear glass gives a view surrounding greenery. The hot tub is also framed with glass walls that open out to a walled garden. For relaxation, there are a variety of venues: a coed lounge, outdoor balconies, gardens and a meditation garden.

There are ten treatment rooms, including three within a unique spa suite which can be rented for groups of four or six. The suite houses a private lounge, an outdoor balcony, a facial room, a Vichy room and a couple’s suite with a deep soaking tub. In the pedicure salon, Solace Forte pedicure chairs (by European Touch) are complimented by pedicure carts built with space for polishes, drawers for storage and a tray that pulls out for extra space. Low chairs with backs give the pedicurist a comfortable spot to work. The fitness facility offers personal trainers, 5 treadmills and about 20 Cybex fitness machines.


The hotel and spa is located just one-fourth of a mile from the jogging trails in The William B. Umstead State Park, a 5000 acre oasis. We asked the concierge for directions and the trail map. In the spa, The Umstead is a treatment (100 minutes, $195) that starts with a Body Polish and continues with an Aromatherapy Massage.



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