What: Located in Cary, N.C., just outside nearby Raleigh-Durham, The Umstead Hotel & Spa, a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel, has a serene setting that’s both familiar and unexpected. The full-service retreat is situated on 12 acres of lush woods and overlooks a private three-acre lake, with interiors that take their cues from the resort’s natural setting. Each of the 150 spacious guest rooms is decorated in soothing tones of blue and taupe, and views from just about every direction take in the leafy surrounds of the resort. (Leave your room and you might just want to park yourself for the duration of your stay near the Umstead’s elegant outdoor stone terrace.)
Where: The Umstead’s close proximity to “The Triangle” (a nickname given to the tri-city area comprised of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) puts guests within easy access to the region’s universities, medical centers and businesses. Whether you’re in the mood to museum hop in Raleigh or cheer on the Blue Devils at a Duke University home game, there’s plenty to explore within a short drive.
When: There’s no bad time to visit The Umstead Hotel & Spa, one of only two Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotels in North Carolina. The hotel’s Five-Star restaurant, Herons, serves local, seasonal dishes under the direction of chef Scott Crawford, which pair well with sommelier Hai Tran’s more than 2,500-bottle wine list. Visit while it’s still summer and you might spot recipes such as local cobia with blue crab, green wheat, squash and garlic; natural hen with butter beans, carrots, wild rice and mustard; and tempting desserts such as strawberry consommé with chévre, rhubarb and champagne. Warm weather allows for poolside relaxing or exploring the trails at the adjacent 5,579-acre William B. Umstead State Park. Winter offers the perfect chance to indulge in the resort’s traditional afternoon tea accompanied by a live harpist, or sip a local craft beer by The Umstead Bar and Lounge’s fireplace.
Why: While the Four-Star Umstead Spa has always had its unique eucalyptus steam room and meditation garden, guests will now find 1,400 additional square feet of recently added botanically-inspired space spread over two storeys. The spa now features an open roof current pool, new treatment rooms with deep-soaking tubs and a revamped nail salon.
Photos Courtesy of Umstead Hotel and Spa