LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER

 
FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

Relaxing Retreat At The Umstead


By: Rachael Weir

Nestled amongst the Carolina Pines just a few miles from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, The Umstead Hotel and Spa offers a peaceful retreat-like setting. Surrounded by 12 acres of wooded land, with gardens, fine art, and a shimmering lake encircled with a trail, the property feels worlds away from it all, yet it's just minutes away from the Triangle.

Five Star Alliance was invited to visit The Umstead Hotel and Spa to discover all the property has to offer. Read more below.

Exterior of The Umstead

Walking into the entrance, we were greeted by friendly doormen, along with a soothing lobby featuring a view of an exquisite piece of art by glass artist, Dale Chihuly, piano music, and sunshine flowing in from the hotel's expansive patio. 

Dale Chihuly Sculpture at the Umstead Hotel

Our spacious spa-inspired guest rooms offered a peaceful setting with large windows, plush beds with fluffy goosedown comforters, and a neutral color palette. The large marble bathrooms have soaking tubs complete with a bath caddy and bath salts, separate showers, and an array of Lather bath products, plus a special black towel designated for makeup removal. Continue reading below the guest room images.

Guest Room at The Umstead Hotel

Bathroom at the Umstead Hotel

Bath caddy and makeup towel at the Umstead

The Umstead Spa is an ideal setting for relaxing and melting away the stresses of daily life. Featuring a variety of massages, skin treatments, the air is filled with soothing botanical fragrances and soft music. Visitors are provided with a plush robe, along with access to separate men's and women's relaxation lounges with therapeutic whirlpools, eucalyptus saunas and steam rooms, and an outdoor meditation courtyard. There are teas and fruit-infused waters, along with cool towels and cucumber slices to add to the overall rejuvenating environment. Plus, a boutique filled with pampering products to add to one's spa experience.

Lake at the Umstead HotelSurrounded by trees and overlooking a 3-acre lake, the Umstead offers a retreat-like feel with manicured gardens and a lakeside 1/4-mile walking/jogging trail. There are bicycles, helmets, and trail maps available to explore the trails around the property leading to the William B. Umstead State Park. For added relaxation, the hotel's outdoor swimming pool is set amongst the serene setting with large sundeck, lounge chairs, cabanas, and poolside food and beverage service. 

Pool Deck at the Umstead Hotel

For an elegant dining experience, Herons, the hotel's signature Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. On select days, afternoon tea service is served in the lounge area along with a harp serenade. If you're looking for casual dining, there's an outdoor patio overlooking the gardens and lake. During the evenings, there is live music and crafted cocktails in the bar & lounge - an ideal spot to sip and reminisce about the day's events. Feeling like staying in? We recommend room service.

Tip: Be sure to inquire with the concierge about morning yoga, bike, and art tours as the property offers a variety of events for guests.

On a side note, we noticed the hotel is very pet-friendly, with special accommodations for canine guests and the DogWoods enclosed play area. 

Check rates and plan your relaxing retreat at The Umstead Hotel and Spa >>

The Umstead Hotel

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Your Questions Answered: Does The Umstead Hotel and Spa Have a Lake View Room for a Family of Three?


By: Betsy LeTourneau

The Umstead Hotel and SpaWe at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our blog series Your Questions Answered to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

QUESTION: We are a couple traveling together with our daughter, age 10 and looking for a room with 1 king bed and a rolloway – all with a lake view. Does the The Umstead Hotel and Spa offer that kind of accommodation?

ANSWER: The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC - five minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport - features 150 well-appointed guestrooms, including 27 suites. The Signature Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond restaurant - Herons - serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. The Umstead Spa, a 14,000 square-foot spa features ten treatment rooms, mens and ladies relaxation lounges including sauna, steam, and whirlpool and a coed relaxation lounge and meditation garden. 

The Umstead Hotel and Spa
The Umstead Hotel and Spa was conceived and built with the muses of Art and Nature. These inspirations paired with impeccable, sincere service make for an exquisite hideaway that will comfort and rejuvenate. Everything – from the naturally landscaped grounds to the central Chihuly glass sculpture, the locally sourced cuisine to the botanically infused Umstead Spa products – is designed to stir the senses and inspire.

In every corner of the hotel and 12-acre grounds, there is something beautiful waiting to be discovered. The Umstead Hotel is more than a place to stay; it is a place to be changed for the better. Centrally located within the heart of the Triangle area The Umstead's location offers convenience, privacy and access to the region’s abundant corporate offices, universities, and cultural attractions in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
 

For Your Family's Needs, We Recommend:
Lake View Balcony-These beautifully appointed rooms range in size from 540 – 570 square feet and feature balconies with a stunning view of our pristine lake. Select your choice of one king-sized or two double-sized pillow-top beds. Rolloway is complimentary and based on availability.

Book a stay at The Umstead Hotel and Spa >>

All rates are based on double occupancy and extra person charges may apply. Please be advised that the rates, availability, as well as any extra person charges are subject to change depending on the hotel’s policies.

 

 


An Insider Look at Carolina Inn


By: Lucy LeTourneau

Carolina Inn Exterior
A member of the Five Star Alliance staff recently stayed at Raleigh's Carolina Inn. The Inn is not only a beautiful and unique downtown Chapel Hill icon, but architecturally represents the history of the south. Blending elements of antebellum Southern plantation houses with Georgian and neoclassical characteristics often found in the northeast, the Inn was originally designed after the Potomac River front of George Washington's Mt. Vernon.


Built in 1924 by John Sprunt Hill - distinguished alumnus, successful businessman and University trustee - the Inn's original concept was "to provide for the special wants and comforts of the University alumni... and University visitors". In 1935, Hill donated the Inn to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the stipulation that after meeting expenses, profits from the Inn were to be used for "the maintenance and support of the University library, and especially for the support of the collection of books and papers known as the North Carolina Collection." Mr. Hill's wishes are still carried out today as the Inn returns its profits to the University to support the University library.

Carolina Inn Guest Room

Here's the insider's report of her visit:

 

The hotel has a long history and dates to the 20’s and was part of University of North Carolina for many years. The updates they've made in recent years are really nice and keep the historic feel of the hotel along with tons of decorations detailing various faculty and sports memorabilia from the school. I found one placard explaining how Andy Griffith, a UNC alumni, was discovered at the hotel doing a comedy routine while he was a student.


The Inn was larger than I expected and had a huge living room style lobby and a lot of nice meeting space.



The
Carolina Crossroads bar was small but cozy. They seem to use the front porch for outdoor "tailgate" events. We didn’t eat at the restaurant but it gets a lot of accolades.

Carolina Inn


The room had two queen beds and was relatively spacious. The bathroom was small and there was no tub but it was nicely decorated. Because it's essentially part of the UNC campus, it's close to everything we needed to see at UNC and was also within walking distance of the downtown area for restaurants, etc. The free coffee in the am was a little bit of a walk from our room, but I managed. 

 

Rates at Carolina Inn currently start at $169 per night. 

 

View more rates, details, and more images of Carolina Inn >>

 

 

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Did You Know? The Fearrington House


By: Five Star Alliance

The Fearrington House
The Fearrington House
 has award-winning gardens that meld the informal qualities of Fearrington’s farm heritage with the romantic landscape details of the European countryside. The grounds include about 60 garden beds, an herb garden used by the chefs at the Fearrington House Restaurant, several cutting beds used by our florists, and several greenhouses. A experienced year-round team of seven maintain the grounds, and they’re delighted to answer questions.

The Fearrington House

Fearrington’s gardens celebrate seasons, holidays, and special occasions and North Carolina’s rich horticultural traditions and plant diversity. The mild climate of the Piedmont region means our gardens are attractive and engaging throughout the year.

 

View rates, details, and more images of The Fearrington House >>

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The Top 30 Hotels in 2012: #14 The Umstead Hotel and Spa


By: Oksana Balytsky

In the last month of 2012, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 30 Luxury Hotels and Resorts worldwide, as decided by you, our luxury travelers! Be sure to check in with us daily to keep up with our countdown and explore a few of the absolute best and most luxurious hotels in the world for your future travels!

Coming in the #14 spot is the Umstead Hotel and Spa which is conveniently located in Cary, North Carolina for those who want to get away or stay near the heart of it all. Here are a few fun facts about this luxury hotel:

- With its surrounding 12 acres of wooded land, gardens, and lake, The Umstead Hotel is a destination in itself with the cultural, corporate and recreational opportunities of the Triangle area moments away

- 24 hour business center available for guest use

- 10,000 square-feet of elegant meeting and event space featuring natural light and original artwork

- Signature Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond restaurant, Herons, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch

- Dogs are allowed with an additional cleaning fee

- Seasonal outdoor pool

- The Umstead Spa, a 14,000 square-foot spa featuring ten treatment rooms, men’s and ladies relaxation lounges including sauna, steam and whirlpool and a coed relaxation lounge and meditation garden

Explore photos, availability, and rates at the Umstead Hotel and Spa here >>

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Go in My Stead: The Umstead Hotel and Spa


By: Christopher Roney

Spas are a funny thing. It's actually amazing to think that we live in a world full of all the modern luxuries, and yet we have to pay to escape to a simpler, more relaxed experience.  The spa is just that, too, quintessentially an escape, retreating inward to recharge the mind and the body during a moment's respite from the bustle of modern life. But, the fact remains, many of us are in desparate need of that retreat, and if you're looking to get away from everything, there's no better destination than the Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, NC. 

The hotel itself is gorgeous, was built in 2007, and features 228 oversized luxury guest rooms with all the modern amenities: flat screen TVs, Rivolta Italian linens, and many with balconies overlooking the natural flora.  World-class dining and a great respect for the local culture accent the property, with local artists featuring prominently and the down-home hospitality a guarantee.  

The real crowning jewel of the hotel is the spa.  The two-story building adjacent to the property offers ten treatment rooms where you can find the perfect personalized relaxation technique to wash the stress out of your body.  A meditation courtyard, whirlpools, and a steam room offer alternative ways to rejuvenate and recharge and the naturally lit interior spaces soothe the eyes as much as they do your soul.  The Umstead Hotel & Spa really is a wonderful place ot slough off your East Coast woes and embrace the healing powers of a day all to yourself.


Hotels with a History: Carolina Inn


By: Oksana Balytsky

Built in 1924 by John Sprunt Hill, a successful businessman and alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Carolina Inn was constructed “to provide for the special wants and comforts of the University alumni and University visitors.” In 1935, John Sprunt Hill donated the Inn to the University under the condition that all profits to go towards “the maintenance and support of the University library, and especially for the support of the collection of books and papers known as the North Carolina Collection,” and his wish is still carried out today.

The Carolina Inn is centrally located in downtown Chapel Hill within walking distance of shopping, art galleries, and the historic Franklin Street district, and it architecturally embraces the rich history of the south. The Inn was originally designed after the Potomac River front of George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, and it has elements of Southern plantation houses as well as Georgian neoclassical attributes. The Carolina Inn is a member of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America, and it is beautifully furnished with antiques and historical images. The history, culture, and warm story behind it make the Carolina Inn a luxury property worth exploring.