The Umstead Hotel and Spa
Travel Blogs from Cary
... 2nd floor in a glass domed coach. The seats were like the most comfortable reclining chairs and when I first sat down I thought I could easily take a nap - no way- I couldn't close my eyes for a minute- it was too beautiful. The aisles were wide and there was an outdoor observation deck between each car and we could get up and walk around as much as we wanted to. I brought my book of course and I read about 3 pages in 8 hours- there was just too much to see. we saw ...
... from an animal called a musk ox - the animal sheds its wool and the native women collect the wool and weave it into caps and scarves. it is softer than angora, warmer than wool and washable. unfortunaley it is rare and very expensive- a simple cap costs about $200. It is only sold in one shop in Ankorage and and it is a way the native women make some extra money. We would have loved to be able to buy each of you something ...
... curtains closed but I got up to go to the bathroom around 4am and I could not resist looking - sure enough -broad daylight!
Ankorage is the biggest city in Alaska and it looks like a small city but from our hotel room we can see mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. The weather is delightful - low 70's. it should be colder as we go further north but this is just lovely now.
I wish I had ...
6 AM, our latest adventure begins. This morning we fly to Boston then one to Reyjkavik, Iceland. After a few days in Iceland, we head to Switzerland for a couple of weeks
Throughout this blog, to see pics, scroll down.
For whatever reason, this app does not imbed the pictures inline unless you write a whole lot of text, so scroll ...
... Carolina got into my DNA while I did a year's internship in Columbia, S.C.
I got in with the staff in the recreation therapy department at the Wlm.S. Hall Psychiatric Institute. I learned: always make friends with the people who are into recreation. (I’m not sure the degree or the job title still exists in America). But in 1974, it was alive and well and every weekend was ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
- Shuttle bus service
- Free High-Speed Internet
- Swimming pool
- Room service
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Historical Traveler Reviews The Umstead Hotel and Spa Cary
What a Gem!
In April we stayed at the Umstead.
What a gem!
First impression is of a luxurious country home, set in natural grounds.
The lobby is spacious, the corridors are wide. Throughout, there is original artwork, comprising paintings, pottery and sculpture, mostly by local artists.
There is extensive use of timber, stone and marble.
Our room was beautifully appointed, with soft furnishings in cream, oyster/beige and pale greens. Gorgeous bathroom.
The staff are enthusiastic, friendly and discreet, and include locals, some from interstate, and others from abroad. (We detected British, Australian and French accents)!
Executive Chef, Phil Evans presides over Herons restaurant. Where possible local produce is sourced for the menus.
The food is superb, and dining is available in the restaurant, or on the large terrace overlooking the lake, with its playing fountains. We opted for outdoors.
Before leaving, we walked around the lake path (there is a 'resident' heron living under the azaleas, on the far side).
Overall, the Umstead, says 'no expense spared', but it is not 'in your face'. It's a beautiful experience.
First-Rate Facility, Not Quite Five Stars - Yet
The facility is in a convenient location near the airport, yet tucked away in a wooded area with a lake, lovely pool and a beautiful walking path. The accomodations are clean and nice. The dining is top notch, especially for a small metro area. There is turn-down service nightly and relaxing music in the bar area. The deep tissue massages were excellent. There is an impressive art collection on display throughout the hotel. With a little fine-tuning, this property will come into its own.
Here are the shortcomings. The staff is not as cosmopolitan as the guests. The linens should be softer. The concierge should know more about restaurants and activities in the area (or at least have a book of menus). The ladies' steamroom was a bit moldy, especially for a facility that is less than a year old. The cabanas by the pool are an additional charge. The valet parking is optional and expensive, but efficient.
Overall, a better than expected experience. I would recommend the Umstead.
I had the opportunity to be in the Raleigh Durham Area this past weekend and stayed at the Umstead. My daughter met me there for Fathers Day Breakfast and the food and service were excellent. It is close to the airport and as nice a property as I have stayed at anywhere. My room and the common areas were beautifully furnished and very comfortable. I would recommend this hotel to anyone.
North Carolina Excellence
My wife and I stayed at the Umstead from June 08 through the 10th, 2007. We do a lot of traveling and try to stay in the finer hotels when available (Ritz Carlton, Sofitel) so when we had to travel to Cary for business we stayed at the Umstead based on previous reviews. What a great choice.
From the moment you pull up you are treated with excellence. The valet, front desk, and hospitality staff are extremely attentive. The hotel is only a few months old so everything is still so very new. This is the first hotel that I have been to, that when you check in the give you a tour of the property. The rooms are extremely spacious and the bathroom is one of the largest I have seen in a non-suite room.
The restaurant is awesome with great food and service and the fitness center is exceptional for a hotel. Prior to my stay and after my departure I received a phone call from Kristina who wanted to know if we required anything to make our stay more enjoyable and afterwards a follow-up phone call to inquire about our stay. Have never heard of this at a hotel?
Bottom line, awesome experience!
Coconut Creek, FL
Umstead Absolutely Wonderful
The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC is a little bit of heaven here on earth. The entire staff is polite and courteous and cannot do enough for you. The accomodations are luxurious, spacious and very comfortable. Herons Reataurant is superb with Executive Chef Phil Evans making your diinng experience one you will never forget. The Spa is worth visiting if you are looking to relax and be pampered, which is something we should all do once in a while. The Spa personnel are extremely friendly and exceptionally knowledgeable in the services they provide. After only a year since opening, The Umstead Hotel and Spa has achieved a 4 star rating, soon to be 5 stars I am sure. This was truly one of the best vacations I have experienced.
Umstead great service
Very attentive serviceespecially the front entrance. Gift shop prices were exobitant (95.00 for swim trunks).
Stellar pool Great temperature.
Excellent service by Jessica-she refused my tip.Good crab cakes-brought to pool area.
$330 a bit dear for one night
Loved the Umstead!
I stayed at the Umstead the first weekend of June and I must say, it was an excellent stay. I have read the other reviews about the Umstead and regarding the negative ones, it seems we must have stayed at two (2) different hotels. I mean, yes, the turkey club has fried egg on it, but it was actually very tasty to me! :) See, I didn't only stay at The Umstead. I experienced The Umstead. I dined at Heron's each night. I enjoyed private dining for breakfast and lunch. I had a full day of spa treatments, all which were excellent. I swam in the pool and walked around the campus. I ordered movies on the 42inch plasma television. And contrary to other reviews, the staff was excellent, very attentive and much more considerate than other hotels of the same calibre. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my Umstead experience and would definitely recommend it to others... As a matter of fact, I'll be back! :)
This is Umstead Park, not Central Park - what a joke of a property.
I don't know where to start. First of all, anyone that travels worldwide (other reviews so far are from locals) would not be impressed with this property. I checked online and the lowest rate for the holiday weekend was $349 a night....yes $349. So, I called the hotel directly and they offered me $229 a night without hesitation!!! OK, for starters, yes the rooms are very nice. Four Seasons type model rooms. But, the catcher is this IS Cary, NC, the cookie-cutter, sterile environment of this "town" comes across in the atmosphere and staff at the hotel. The "i've never been out of Cary my whole life" atmosphere comes across. Yes, some billionaire owner's wife built the place on the property of the company who's owner she is married to, and a lot of money was spent on the property, but it comes across as fake. For $229 a night, I was placed in a room overlooking the asphalt parking lot. When I asked for a room overlooking the "inner garden/fountain", they said (at 5:00 PM check-in and the hotel was basically empty), "it will be an hour before we have one of those rooms available and it will be an extra $50 a night".!!! Most properties of this supposed calibre will simply give a guest a better view room when the property is empty and they want to make a good first impression being this place is so new, etc. OK, here is another strange thing. My cell phone (major service carrier) would work fine up until I walked into the hotel, when all signal/service completely dropped!!! Is this a property blocking cell signals in an attempt to force guests to use the hotel phone service? The staff says not, but when I walk to the parking lot away from the building, the service is fully restored and I get an excellent signal!!! I have read where hotels are losing revenue because people are not using the hotel phone service, so I am wondering if this properly given it's technology-focused owners are not actually blocking cell signals within the building. This made it very inconvenient because people all over the world need to contact me via cell and I cannot strictly utitlize any hotel's phone service these days. Check-in....I went to the room and none of the phones or internet were working. 20 minutes later, an "engineering technician" arrived (after I stood by the window of the room and after trying 3x finally got enough signal to call the front desk on my cell phlone!!!) arrived to tell me that I needed to plug my computer in to an outlet in order to activate the phone service!!! In addition, the outlets were labled in reverse (labeled wrong) so even though I tried this before the service did not work. I don't know about other travelors, but when I arrive in a hotel room, I expect to pick up the phone and expect it to work. I don't want to have to configure anything. This was very frustrating. The menu is something from Outer Space, another attempt to be "fancy" gone astray. I ordered a turkey club and iced tea.....the bill came to $31 incl. tip I ate 1/2 the sandwich because it just was not good...plain and simple. Whoever heard of putting a fried egg in a turkey club? Well, they do at the Umstead along with guacamole, yellow tomatos, and other concoctions that just made the sandwich awful tasting to me. I think the verdict is out on this place. Granted, the artwork and facility is quite beautiful, but is "sticks out like a sore thumb" on the side of the interstate highway and is staffed by locals who don't have a clue about providing 5-star service. In an area that has very good Marriot's, etc., this place will need to do something different to force $349+ rates on travelors for the honor of looking at an asphault parking lot and some nice artwork. No matter how much industry the Research Triangle Park brings in and how much growth there is in this sterile, Steppford (sp?) Wives town, it will always be Cary...this is not NYC, not Central Park, but Umstead Park on the side of Interstate 40. The state motto, "to be, not to seem" should be minded here. It is what it is, so to speak, but the ATTEMPT to be Four Seasons NYC in Cary, NC is obvious and a flop. Oh, the bath products were nice. LOL.
By far nicest hotel in NC!
I booked a room for my family the night before an early morning flight (the hotel is 5 minutes from RDU), and I must say this is without a doubt the finest hotel in North Carolina. Everything about this hotel was first class including the staff, rooms, and dining. The rooms are incredible as well. We did not try the spa but after this trip we will return to check it out!
Unbelievable experience from the minute we set foot in the hotel we knew it was going to be a terrific weekend. The service and staff were so professional and pleasant and every little need was met.
The rooms were dreamy, so luxurious, and the spa was to die for. My husband treated me to a facial, a hot stone massage "Rock On" and a manicure. I felt like I was in Europe, one of the best spa experiences ever, completely plush and pampering.
We had dinner at Herons and the food was excellent. Because it is "fine dining", dinner took longer than we expected, but it was relaxing and the decor in the restaurant and bar is tasteful and elegant. (It was NOT your stock steak house with oversized portions of creamed spinach or baked potatoes bigger than your head! If that is what you are looking for go somewhere else - the food was unique and beautiful and delicious! )
The hotel itself is one gorgeous choice of architecture and decor after another. I would love to see the Goodnight's home as I hear she hand-picked everything in the hotel. There is a beautiful sculpture a Chihuly (sp?) that looks like an organic ice sculpture, beatiful fresh flowers everywhere, and there are so many orignal art pieces on display it is like vacationing in a museum.
Yes, it is pricier than your average hotel, but if you are looking for a memorable experience and want to be pampered or celebrate a special occasion - this is the place!
We want to go back in the summer when all of the trees and flowers are in bloom and we can walk around the lake and spend time in the pool - it was too cold when we were there & the pool wasn't open yet. We will also try the brunch and will review that afterward. I am sure it will be amazing!