Members Recommend
Very Good 889 Reviews
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This Hotel meets our standards
Our editors have been here and it has met our standards

What We Love

  • Oversize rooms with plush furnishings and seating areas, and some with outdoor patios
  • Sense of seclusion on 12 acres of wooded grounds
  • Impressive art collection, with 95 pieces of commissioned artwork
  • Free access to spa’s sauna, steam room, whirlpool and lounges
  • Chef’s distinctive five- and three-course tasting menus

What To Know

  • The Umstead is a 15-minute drive from Raleigh and 25-minute drive from Chapel Hill
  • Outdoor heated pool is seasonal, open March through November
  • State park setting is removed from downtown area, so come here for nature, not nightlife
  • Pets are accepted but there's a $200 fee
  • No nearby public transportation; renting a car is recommended


  •  Bar
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Gym
  •  Handicap-accessible
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pet-friendly
  •  Pool
  •  Restaurant
  •  Spa
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.
Lobby flooring home door


The Review

The Umstead knows how to mesh luxury with comfort in a sleek environment. Although its hard exterior might leave a bit to be desired, the Umstead’s interior is elegant, with a warm, friendly ambience and a lush back yard. The lobby’s centerpiece, an impressive Dale Chihuly glass sculpture, hints at the hotel’s classic style, while an art gallery with seasonal exhibits displays work by local artists.

{“type”:”img-inline”,”src”:”/static/images/product/properties/editorialreviews/9995/pgal-86853-1295374893-full.jpg”,”width”:”275″,”caption”:”The Umstead sits on 12 acres of wooded grounds has a quarter-mile of hiking trails.”}The Umstead exhibits nature photography in public spaces, and there’s a three-acre lake just beyond the 46-seat terrace at Herons restaurant and outdoor seating areas warmed by an outdoor fireplace on chilly nights. The 12-acre property has a quarter-mile nature trail and is across the street from the Umstead State Park, a fitting escape for hikers and joggers. And visiting cyclists don’t need to bring the Schwinn — the hotel provides free mountain bikes and helmets for exploring nearby trails.

The 123 guestrooms and 27 suites are posh enough for celebrities like Michael Jordan. The guestrooms have home-style amenities such as plush furnishings, seating areas and relaxing earth-tone colors. The same color scheme warms the 14,000-square-foot spa, where you can customize treatments to meet your personal needs. Like the rest of the hotel, the spa emphasizes nature, with a meditation garden and floor-to-ceiling windows in the lounge.

The Umstead’s signature restaurant, Herons, got a face-lift in 2010 that included a glass-encased Montague Cooking Suite, which gave executive chef Scott Crawford an updated workspace. The menu features local produce and meats, as well herbs from the Umstead’s private garden. Crawford offers both a five-course chef’s tasting menu and three-course wellness and vegetarian tasting menu, each of which consists of his signature dishes.

Centrally located, the Umstead is within 15 minutes from Raleigh, 25 minutes from Chapel Hill, easy reach of nearby attractions and businesses in the Triangle area and about a 10-minute drive from the North Carolina Museum of Art, home to one of the country’s largest Rodin sculpture collections. But at the end of the day, a quick trip to the sauna and a soothing cleanse with botanical bath products is what will leave you feeling refreshed.

How to Get There

The Umstead Hotel and Spa
100 Woodland Pond Dr
Cary, NC 27513 United States


4.5 Very Good 889 Reviews
Just ok- not wowed
Reviewed 7 days ago

We were excited to book here based on the great reviews, so my expectations were pretty high. It’s a pretty hotel, I would call it simple elegance. Loved the fresh flowers, the scent throughout the hotel, and the relaxed vibe, but was not wowed. Booked a suite overlooking the pond/pool (room 430) the view was pretty. The room was nice and clean, but no wow factor. But I understand it’s more of a zen spa experience versus The Plaza or Ritz, where everything looks ultra posh and pretty. This room reminded me of a Hilton- soft colors, nice linens, but looked like a hotel room if you know what I mean. If you want to be wowed by a hotel room get a suite at the Ivey’s Hotel in Charlotte- it’s gorgeous.

Customer service varied. Front desk my husband asked if there was an upgrade available through our Amex Fine hotels & Resorts, she said there were no upgraded rooms available, they were all booked. My husband asked if we could pay extra for an upgrade and voila there were rooms available. We were happy to pay, but it felt disingenuous.

We had our two young children with us, now we understood going into this that this wasn’t a family hotel, it is more of a couples retreat, but we have stayed at many five star resorts and have had much better customer service when it came to our well behaved children.

First, hardly anyone acknowledged them, and when they did you would think they have never seen a child before. I can understand this if my children were crying or having tantrums- they were not. You would have thought we were in a no children allowed resort, the Umstead would probably be better off being one, or have their staff better trained on making all of their guests feel welcomed. There’s nothing more off putting to a mother than if you don’t treat her children well. Even a smile goes a long way.

At 4:30am our room was called twice saying we placed a wake up call. I had my husband check the iPad that is in the room and no wake up call was accidentally placed. Thankfully, it did not wake our children. But here I am at 6:00am writing a review because I cannot go back to sleep.

The food is delicious here, but it is the only thing that stands out. We will not be back, and I am happy to be leaving a day earlier than planned.

Sophisticated Elegance
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

If you wisf to pamper yourself and experience Word Class Service then the Umstead Hotel is the Answer. The accommodations are exquisite. The cuisine is extraordinary as are those who guide your dining experience. Relaxed elegance with a smile.

Always exceptional !
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We spent a long weekend here to visit our family and celebrate my birthday. We are repeat guests and this is our favorite retreat when visiting Raleigh. Excellent service, and especially like the bar/lounge for a casual meal. Enjoyed the use of the spa which is spacious and nice menu of services. The pool is a wonderful amenity with iced bottles of water delivered to your seat in a bucket of ice and a water spritzer with lavender fragrance to cool off during a hot summer afternoon. Pampering!!

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I've been meaning to sing the praises of the Umsted for some time, having stayed a number of times over the last few years. Halfway between my northern and southern homes, Ive found it the perfect place to unwind after a long drive, with its great spa, lively bar, superb restaurant, and spacious, quiet, well-appointed rooms. Highly recommended!

Work and family trip
Reviewed 1 month ago

This is a nice place in Raleigh. The entry is hidden and opens up to retreat. The building and layout has all the updates and the staff is courteous. There is a workout room but who comes to workout when there is spa and massage treatment. Each state probably has an escape place with pleasant amenities and this is North Carolina's version. Thank you for the enjoyable stay!