Hitting It Out of the Park

The Umstead Spa at The Umstead Hotel & Spa (Cary, NC)Named after a nearby state park, The Umstead Hotel & Spa (Cary, NC) has been catering to business travelers and those seeking five-star accommodations in the area for more than half a decade. Seeing a need for a true luxury hotel in the up-and-coming region, Ann Goodnight spearheaded the project after various high-end hotel companies declined to build there. She knew the setting was ripe for a topnotch hotel thanks to SAS, a leading software company founded by her husband that had its headquarters nearby. Attracting numerous business travelers to the area, the company was struggling with the lack of suitable accommodations nearby. Fortunately, Goodnight’s venture into the hospitality business proved successful, and The Umstead Hotel & Spa capitalized on its position as the only luxury property in the vicinity. Because the hotel is committed to staying on top, it recently underwent an extensive renovation that transformed The Umstead Spa into an even more relaxing haven.

According to spa director Carolyn Doe, the new spa now spans two floors and encompasses 16,000 square feet. “Natural elements of river rock, granite, bamboo, and glass have been incorporated into the updated design, heralding The Umstead’s location near William B. Umstead State Park,” she says. “New textiles, locally crafted pottery, and artwork also enhance the spa’s refreshed look.” Known for playing a key role in developing Cary’s cultural scene, the Goodnight family made sure the hotel serves as a showcase for local artists. The spa is no exception. “We provide an oasis for rest and respite along with an environment to affect all the senses through our art and peaceful ambience,” says Doe.

Couples, especially, will enjoy the improved facilities, which include three dedicated treatment rooms, each with a private deep-soaking tub; a new co-ed relaxation lounge; and an open-roof co-ed current pool with 12-foot-high privacy walls. To help maximize the space, the property has introduced a new Couples Spa Experience Package (starting at $519) that pairs an overnight stay and late check-out with a choice of treatments to enjoy either individually or together.

The Umstead Spa at The Umstead Hotel & Spa (Cary, NC)The renovation also resulted in a new nail salon, which features two manicure stations and four pedicure stations. Visitors will also appreciate expanded access to the hotel’s swimming pool and fitness center, which were previously open only to overnight guests. Now, however, both facilities are available Monday through Thursday to spa guests who spend more than $100 on treatments. An enticing menu of services that embrace nature and wellness make that an inviting option.

In line with the hotel’s commitment to sustainability, the spa features eight organic treatments, including the Organic Facial ($120, 50 minutes), which relies on products from De La Terre Skincare. Ideal for those seeking a natural solution to their skincare concerns, the line is free of gluten, parabens, and petrochemicals and is vegan as well as organic and/or wildcrafted. The spa also offers treatments using Red Flower products, another environmentally and socially responsible line. From the Red Flower Hammam Ritual ($145, 75 minutes; $190, 90 minutes) to the Red Flower Japanese Ritual ($145, 75 minutes; $190, 90 minutes), guests are transported around the world and back through the stimulating treatments. Other services also incorporate products from Decléor Paris, SkinCeuticals, and Sothys Paris, while a host of nature-inspired packages ensure spa-goers experience the ultimate escape.

With 60 employees on staff, the spa is able to accommodate approximately 145 guests each day, most of whom are seeking rest and relaxation. According to Doe, one of her biggest challenges since the renovation has been educating guests on why food is no longer provided in the spa. The decision was made in order to keep the environment peaceful and eliminate the many smells associated with different food items, but healthy snacks, such as fruits and nuts, however, are still available in the lounge. As for the future, the spa continues to evolve with additional services, such as the eventual inclusion of weekend yoga classes, that encourage health and wellness. For the time being, though, the new and improved spa is proving the perfect complement to the inviting hotel. 

Owner: Ann Goodnight

Spa Director:  Carolyn Doe


Opened: 2007, reopened post-renovation July 2013



80% female, 20% male



16,000 square feet;

11 treatment rooms



aromatherapy,  body treatments, couples’ treatments, eyelash and brow tinting, facials, fitness, hand and foot treatments, hydrotherapy,  LED therapy,  makeup application, massage, nailcare, prenatal services, reflexology, waxing



The Umstead ($225, 1 hour 45 minutes) involves a Body Glow and a Swedish Massage



A Walk in the Woods ($325, 4 hours), which features a choice of a full-body Babassu Sugar Scrub or a Swedish Massage, a renewing European Facial, a Classic Manicure and a Classic Pedicure, and a glass of Champagne



Berodin Wax,  Decléor Paris, De La Terre Skincare, Inara, Morgan Taylor, Red Flower, SkinCeuticals, Sothys Paris



OKA b, Silhouet-Tone, SpaSoft, Telegraph Hill, Universal Companies



Little Diversified Architectural Consulting  (Charlotte, NC)



Frank Nicholson  (Acton, MA)