Concierge Review of The Umstead Hotel and Spa – Raleigh NC

Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina-Pool and exterior

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The Umstead Hotel draws its inspiration from the intersection where art and nature collide. Only, it’s more like they blend together in beautiful harmony. There are surprises around every corner, from their beautiful gardens to their private art collection. What’s not surprising is that they’re North Carolina’s only 5-star property. Their attention to detail shows through in everything they do, from the moment they greet you at the door until they say goodbye. Join us for our detailed Concierge Review of the Umstead Hotel in Raleigh, NC.

Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- Entrance
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- pond and fountain
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- garden and seating area
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- hotel gym

The Umstead Hotel Location

The Umstead Hotel is located between Raleigh and Cary in North Carolina, just off I-40 on exit 287. It’s only a 1/2 mile from the William B Umstead State Park and only 4 miles from the North Carolina Museum of Art. This location is ideal for both nature and art lovers. For us, this convenient location was perfect for a biking weekend riding the Cary and Raleigh greenways.

It’s only 15-minutes from downtown Raleigh, but with parking and traffic, there are closer downtown hotels if that’s your priority. The nearby activities, plus extraordinary in-house dining and spa, make the Umstead more of an urban retreat.

Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- lobby
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- curated art collection
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- curated art collection from local artists
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- pool cabanas

The Umstead Property

We loved the Umstead’s 12 acres of wooded land, gardens, and lake. A paved path around the lake connects guests directly to the natural areas, whether you want a morning jog or an evening walk. Also, the oversized pool is perfect for adults looking to relax, swim, or grab a drink at the pool bar. Kids are allowed at the pool, but it felt like a more mature space without any specific play areas.

On the inside, the Umstead was a veritable art museum. They have a curated art collection that features a permanent collection and rotating pieces from local and national artists. The Chihuly glasswork in the lobby were some of our favorite works. The ensemble collection was one of many little things that added up to the Umstead experience.

Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- pond and walking path
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- pond at sunset
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- back lawn
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- gardens and grounds
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- garden bench

The Umstead Spa

Truth in advertising, this section is written from a spa tour we took in the summer of 2022. In August, the spa closed for renovations until the end of 2022. We’re excited to see what they’ve done, and we’ll update our imagery with revised pictures when the work is complete. Even at the end of the update cycle, the spa was gorgeous and highly functional.

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I loved what I saw on my tour with Carolyn Doe, Spa Director. I appreciate her commitment to the privacy and experience of the patrons by only allowing this visit after hours. I was a spa lead at a five-star spa in Tucson, Arizona, and I would have given perfect marks on my walkthrough for the cleanliness and organization of the treatment rooms.

The spa scenography followed the hotel’s theme of when art meets nature. I loved the outdoor spaces secluded from the main grounds with sculpture and extensive gardens. Carolyn’s professionalism gave me confidence in the quality of their services. I would love to come back after the remodel is completed to experience a treatment for myself.

Spa at the Umstead Raleigh North Carolina- Entrance
Spa at the Umstead Raleigh North Carolina- products
Spa at the Umstead Raleigh North Carolina- couples treatment room

Herons Restaurant

Dining at Herons is an experience not to be missed. It’s one of only 64 Forbes Five Diamond restaurants in the world. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch with beautiful Chihuly glasswork inside and views of the surrounding gardens and grounds.

The four-course prix fixe menu was a true dining experience. Every dish was spectacularly presented with exceptional flavors and textures. The meal included amuse-bouches between courses that were equally creative and flavorful as the mains. At the end of the evening, you’ve taken a culinary journey across the palate with dozens of flavors that both compliment each other and stand out as distinctive moments.

Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- Herons' entrance
Herons Restaurant at The Umstead Raleigh North Carolina-
Herons Restaurant at The Umstead Raleigh North Carolina- amuse-bouches
Herons Restaurant at The Umstead Raleigh North Carolina- Scallop course

Afternoon Tea at The Umstead Hotel

Afternoon Tea at the Umstead is popular enough that reservations are required, and same-day reservations are not accepted. In fact, you might want to book your tea and room together to make sure that you can get in.

Tea is served in the lobby lounge amongst the art collection with musical accompaniment from a live harpist. It’s a welcoming and elegant way to spend an afternoon socializing and letting the stress of your travels melt away.

Our Room at The Umstead Hotel

Our room was comfortable and spacious. We had a 540-square-foot room with an oversized balcony overlooking the 3-acre lake. With local artwork on the walls and the private balcony, we could feel art meeting nature without ever leaving our room.

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The space was consummate with a five-star property with luxury bedding and high-end branded toiletries. We particularly loved the coffee station and full-size desk. We also appreciated the modern touches with touchpad controls for the heating and lighting of your room.

Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- pond view suit
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- well appointed facilities
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- in room coffee station and mini bar
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina - view from our patio

Biking from The Umstead Hotel

We love bike vacations and were immediately attracted to the Umstead’s location between the Raleigh and Cary Greenways. There are over 300 miles of greenways and bike routes between the two cities and several exceptional day rides from the hotel, including the Cary Loop (20 miles) and American Tobacco Trail out and back (68 miles). You can also access the Capital Greenway from the Umstead if you’re comfortable riding on the gravel path in Umstead State Park.

If you’re looking for something light and easy, the Umstead has complimentary bikes and helmets available to guests. Two incredible short rides from the Umstead Hotel lobby are the Umstead State Park Loop (11 miles) and Lake Crabtree Greenway Loop (11 miles). You’re also right across from 8 miles of single track at Lake Crabtree County Park, the most popular place for beginner riders in the Triangle. 

If you’re interested in learning more about any of these rides, we’ve detailed them in our Raleigh Bike Trail piece, which was written with an emphasis on riding directly from the Umstead Hotel.

Chainsaw Log along Graylyn Trail, William B. Umstead State Park Raleigh, North Carolina
American Tobacco Campus South Entrance
Crabtree Creek Greenway Bridge
Boardwalk over the White Oak Wetlands under the West Wake Freeway - White Oak Greenway

The Umstead’s Commitment to Sustainability

At Coleman Concierge, we believe your travel money can and should be used for good. As part of our commitment to ethical travel, we like to acknowledge companies committed to sustainability, like the Umstead Hotel.

Their three-acre lake is so much more than a jogging path. They’ve committed to making it a functional natural area with a restored stream, turtle nesting areas, butterfly gardens, and fountains that circulate the water for optimal plant and animal health. They partnered with 14 local farms to provide food products for Herons’ seasonal menus, compost food scraps, and recycling programs for paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, batteries, and paint.

The rooms are designed for energy efficiency with window treatments that reduce 70% of UV rays and Interel in-room controls for optimal energy management. We would have liked to have seen refillable toiletries in the rooms, but they have partnered with the Clean the World Foundation to donate the leftover portions of guest room soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and body wash.

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Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- restored pond habitat
Umstead Hotel Raleigh North Carolina- butterfly gardens

Final Thoughts on The Umstead Hotel and Spa

We loved our stay at the Umstead Hotel and Spa and found it consummate with its five-star rating. The entire staff was well trained and met our highest service standards at every interaction. The property was well appointed from top to bottom and well situated within the city. You felt like you were in a private retreat the moment you pulled into the property, but you were close enough to explore Raleigh.

Not only is the Umstead Hotel a spectacular choice if you’re coming to Raleigh, the dining, spa, and biking are unique enough to justify a trip on their own. If you love biking (and nice hotels), you can even plan a mid-North Carolina bike vacation to the Umstead in Raleigh with the Proximity in Greensboro. You might even work in some cycling in Greenville and Fayetteville too.

Disclosure: A big thank you to Visit Raleigh for hosting us and The Umstead Hotel and Spa for hosting us! For more travel inspiration, check out Visit Raleigh North Carolina’s InstagramFacebookTwitter, and YouTube accounts. Also, be sure to check out The Umstead Hotel and Spa’s Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. 

As always, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we only recommend brands and destinations that we 100% stand behind.

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Pool at The Umstead Hotel and Spa
Bench overlooking grounds at The Umstead Resort and Spa
Pool at The Umstead Hotel and Spa
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Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman aka Coleman Concierge. In a nutshell, we are a Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our stories of amazing adventures through activity-driven transformational and experiential travel.

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Meet Ed & Jenn

Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman, and together we are Coleman Concierge. It is our goal to inspire you to get out, expand your world, and to seek adventure, even in your own backyard.

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