Umstead Hotel & Spa in Cary, North Carolina - a Spa Review on Discover Spas
with Julie Register
this North Carolina Hotel Spa in July 2007
In the News: 1-30-13 The Umstead Spa Unveils Expansion Plans
The act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for
Two days before leaving on our annual trip to Atlanta for the Peachtree
Road Race, I happened to read about the new Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, North
Carolina. The hotel opened in January followed by its 14,500-square-foot Spa in
February. We planned to drive 13 hours strait through. Even though I would share
the wheel with my husband and daughter, it would be a very long drive. Cary was
exactly half way between our home and our destination. I immediately made arrangements
to spend the night at The Umstead and have a spa treatment before continuing our
journey - a much more sensible and enjoyable plan.
The Umstead Hotel and
Spa is situated on 12 acres overlooking a beautiful 3-acre lake and near Umstead
State Park (named for William B. Umstead, a former Senator and Governor of North
Carolina). As soon as we checked in, we took advantage of the walking and jogging
trails that encircled the lake. It felt great to stretch our legs. Every so often,
informational plaques described the flora in and around the water (White Water
Lilly, Floating Heats, Eastern False Dragonhead, Buttonbush, Spicebush, Cinnamon
Fern, Possum-haw), birds, butterflies, turtles and other animals as well as efforts
that had been made to return the area to a more natural state. The Umstead Hotel
had just been host to a wedding, and the new bride and groom were also enjoying
the walking trail.
We returned to our suite to clean up before dinner (the 6-story hotel
has 150 guest rooms, 8 of them suites). My husband and daughter both commented
on the great shower head. I loved the deep soaking tub and scent of the bath amenities
(lavender, chamomile, grapefruit and bitter orange).
On our way to Herons Restaurant, we stopped to appreciate the art and
interesting accent furniture. I was so impressed by the decor and lighting design,
I looked up the interior designer when I got home. Frank Nicholson Incorporated
has provided the design for most Ritz-Carlton Hotels and many of the Four Seasons
Ltd. Hotels throughout the world, as well as many individual luxury developments.
He did an outstanding job with The Umstead Hotel. My photos don't do it justice.
at The Umstead is offered in Herons Restaurant which has an exhibition kitchen
and serves meals on the outside terraces overlooking the lake and in the bar and
lobby lounge. We settled in the lounge, had signature Blueberry Mohitos, and ended
up staying there for dinner. The food was excellent.
next day we rose early and used the Fitness Studio which had Cybex strength training
equipment, free weights and cardio-fitness machines (treadmills, elliptical machines
and bikes) equipped with 15" flat screen TV/CD/DVD entertainment systems.
There is no facility fee to use the Fitness Studio for Hotel Guests and Spa Elite
Members and it's open 24/7 with your room key card for access. While the Fitness
Studio is unsupervised, arrangements can be made for a personal trainer if you
prefer a customized workout.
While my husband and daughter returned to
Herons Restaurant for the Sunday Brunch, I headed for the spa.
I checked into the
Spa and was given a tour of the facilities by Shelley, the Spa Attendant, then
was free to enjoy the spa at my own pace. I exchanged my clothes for a robe and
sandals in the locker room, then took a shower. It took me a minute to select
the shower I wanted to use. There were four or five of them with large frosted
windows which gave the feeling of being outdoors. Another had a large, overhead
rain shower. I ultimately selected an "outdoor" shower then took an
iced washcloth and rotated through the whirlpool, steam room and sauna. This wet
area overlooked a large, private garden and had a comfortable sitting area with
I wandered into the
Women's Lounge to relax in the time remaining before my treatment. This large
room overlooked another private garden, had a fireplace and comfortable lounge
chairs. Refreshments of teas, dried fruit and nuts were provided.
Mariea, my therapist,
collected me at the appointed time and escorted me upstairs to the treatment room.
I was having The Umstead Spa Customized Massage. Mariea gave me the choice of
plain Swedish, hot stone or aromatherapy massage. I selected the hot stone. Unlike
the "Rock-On" Massage, which uses stones throughout the massage, Mariea
used the stones only as an accent to the massage. She had me start face down and
placed a large warm stone at the base of my spine. She proceeded to give a great
massage with just her hands. She repeated everything with the hot stones which
was very pleasant. When I turned over on my back, she slightly raised the head
of the table and placed a small pillow over my eyes. She placed a large, flat,
warm stone under each shoulder and completed the massage as she had the other
side. When she was done, she wiped my feet and hands off with warm, moist towels
and invited me to step out onto the room's balcony overlooking the pool and lake
for a minute or so before meeting her in the hallway. I rested in the second floor
Co-ed Lounge before returning to the locker room.
Spa has 10 treatment rooms; a nail care studio; "massage for two" room
with two massage/facial tables, a combination Swiss - deluge shower and an air
jet hydrotherapy tub for two; and a "spa within a spa" suite for 4-6
friends that includes access to a massage/facial room and body treatment room
with air-jet whirlpool color therapy tub, Vichy shower, combination Swiss-deluge
shower and body treatment table.
Other services offered at The Umstead
Beauté Aromatherapy Facial
Eye Contour Therapy
Age Defense Facial
A Moment in
The Umstead Luxury Manicure
The Umstead Luxury Pedicure
The Umstead Spa Customized
To The Point
Signature Body Ritual
Aromatic Essence Ceremony
Thermal Water Body Mask
Moisturizing Buttermilk and Honey Wrap
I met the Spa
Director, Judy Stell, as I was leaving, and we had a short, pleasant chat. Before
coming to The Umstead, she managed a number of well-known spas including the Greenbrier
in West Virginia, Serenity by the Sea Spa at the Hilton Sandestin Golf Resort
in Florida, The Spa at The Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in Georgia, and Spa
Minerale at the Lansdowne Resort in Virginia.
Once again, I was impressed
by The Umstead Hotel and Spa. I was curious about who was responsible for the
creation of the spa. Health Fitness Dynamics, Inc. (HFD), a Florida-based spa
consulting, planning, marketing and management advisory company owned by Judy
Singer and Patty Monteson get the credit. Their client list has over 50 well-known
spas including the Spa at Sawgrass, Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Little Dix Bay,
The Homestead, agua at Delano, among many others.
Finding The Umstead
Hotel and spa was serendipitous. It was top notch in every way. We all agreed
that it should become a regular stop on our road trips south.
Electronic Devices - Please respect the tranquility of the Spa by
not bringing your cell phone, PDA, and other electronic devices. The Spa is, however,
"IPOD Friendly" and invites you to bring yours to your treatment room
if you want to listen to your own music.|
Age - The Umstead Spa is an adult enclave; therefore, the Spa
kindly asks that you be 18 years of age or older to enjoy the services and facilities.
However, children under the age of 18, when accompanied by an adult, may receive
a manicure, pedicure or facial.
Arrival - The Spa suggests that you arrive at least 30 minutes prior
to your scheduled appointment so you can get ready to "be in the moment."
Allow enough time to familiarize yourself with all the facilities offered; change
into your robe and slippers; relax with a complimentary foot soak; warm your muscles,
open your pores and relax in the steam, sauna and/or whirlpool; cool down with
a shower and rest quietly in one of the lounges in order to receive the full benefits
of your treatment. For nail care appointments, please arrive 10 minutes prior
to the scheduled time. As a courtesy to our guests, all appointments end on time
regardless of the start time.
Cancellations & "No Shows" - If you need to cancel
or re-schedule an appointment, please provide the Spa with at least 8 hours notice
in order to avoid being charged in full for your scheduled appointment. "No-shows"
will receive full charge to your room or credit card for the reserved services.
The Spa requests 24-hour notice for cancellation of any Spa package or appointments
for parties of 3 or more.
Usage & Fees - The use of the Spa facilities is complimentary to hotel
guests. Non-hotel guests may enjoy all the Spa facilities at no fee when taking
a Spa or Nail Care Studio service valued at $ 95.00 or more (as of 7-1-07 - check
with the Spa for current amount). This includes usage of the locker room, steam,
sauna, whirlpool, lounges and meditation courtyard.
For Your Comfort -
Robes, slippers, towels, lockers, grooming amenities are provided for your convenience.
This is your spa experience, and The Spa encourages you to communicate with your
service provider regarding room temperature, pressure and technique to ensure
your overall comfort. The Spa also invites you to discuss any of your preferences
or special needs with the spa staff. This will help them select the service provider
who will best meet your needs and make your spa experience exceptional. The Spa
highly discourages shaving immediately prior to treatments.
Gift Cards - Gift cards may be purchased for any treatment, package
or dollar amount. Cards must be presented at the time of the service to be redeemed.
The Spa is not responsible for lost or stolen cards.
For Your Safety - Please be sure to inform your service provider
if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, heart ailments or any condition
that may prohibit your taking heat, massage or skin care therapies. The Spa highly
discourages excessive alcohol consumption prior to, during or immediately following
Spa treatments. Please avoid immediate sun exposure following skin care therapy.
- For your convenience, a 20% gratuity will be added to all services and
packages. If, for any reason, you do not feel the quality of your spa treatment
warranted this, please let the Spa Reception Desk know before you leave the Spa
and it will be adjusted. If you feel you have received exceptional service, please
let us know that also. Additional gratuities may be left at your discretion in
appreciation of exceptional service.
Group Specials - Inquire about Meeting Enhancers,
Welcome/Thank-You Gifts and Spa Services for Groups designed especially for your
meeting or conference.
Personal Possessions - Please leave jewelry and valuables
in your room safe or in a hotel safety deposit box. If you forget to do so, you
may secure your valuables in the Spa safety deposit boxes. Please inquire at the
Spa Reception Desk.
Prices -All prices are subject to change, but the
Spa will always inform you of any changes when you make your reservation.
- You will be given a robe and slippers to wear in the Spa and a private locker
for your possessions. Licensed therapists and estheticians are trained in procedures
to assure you are properly covered during the treatment, and your privacy will
always be respected. If you feel more comfortable, you may wear your undergarments
or request disposable ones.
Reservations - Advance reservations for services
are highly recommended. Before your arrival, you may call 919-447-4170 or, if
you are already a guest in the hotel, please press the Spa Button on your room
phone. The Spa welcomes "spur of the moment" requests and will do its
best to accommodate you based on availability.
Return Policy - If you are not satisfied with a product
you have purchased at the Spa, it must be returned within 10 days of the purchase,
with proof of purchase, in order to receive a credit or to exchange it for a more
suitable product. Returns without a receipt will receive store credit only.
- The Spa kindly asks that you refrain from smoking while in the Spa.
Photos copyright 2007,
unless marked * which are courtesy of The Umstead
Hotel and Spa
Lantana Spa at JW Marriott San Antonio
Farm to Treatment Table Lavender Experience
This package is available Saturdays only, May 12 – July 14 (excluding June 8), must be booked one week in advance and requires 48 hours notice for cancellation.
Hill Country Lavender Farm tour,
a bottle of organic lavender massage oil made at the farm,
lunch at Replenish Spa Café with items featuring lavender, and a lavender-based spa treatment featuring the organic lavender massage oil from the Hill Country Lavender farm.
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I'm a believer.
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