My Umstead Spa Experience

About a week ago I had the most amazing spa experience of my life.  I haven’t been one much for facials or spa treatments in the past, mostly because I couldn’t bear to spend that much money on myself.  But when I was treated to a very generous gift card to the Umstead Spa from my CRNA’s at my place of work for Christmas, I browsed the treatment menu for months trying to decide which experience I would indulge in.

The Umstead Spa is part of a five-star hotel located in Cary, North Carolina.  It’s tucked away in a business park but surrounded by lush greenery and really feels like you are in an oasis, even though you’re just off a freeway.  HB and I have never been to stay, but are now highly considering a staycation weekend there, complete with couples spa treatments, based off my singular experience at this gorgeous retreat. I had to book about a month out because of my schedule and the Umstead Spa gets booked up pretty quickly, for good reason. So, in May, I bit the bullet and booked myself an Organic Facial–one of the treatments they recommended for expectant mothers. (They also offer prenatal massage!)

Finally, last week, the day arrived.  I arrived with no makeup, and, sadly, sans bathing suit. I was kicking myself when I arrived as I realized my mistake – so much of the experience is about enjoying yourself in spas, pools, and whirlpools – all of which are available to you no matter what spa experience you’ve booked! Oh well, I’ll remember next time.

I settled into my comfy robe and spa slippers, locked away my electronic devices (their rule–not mine–and I’m not mad about it), and padded into the women’s lounge. I took a quick shower so I could enjoy brief interludes in the dry sauna and the Eucalyptus steam room. Be careful if you’re pregnant – don’t overheat. I spent about 1.5 minutes in each followed by long periods in the women’s lounge with cucumbers on my eyelids, and a chilled towel around my neck.

I sipped spa water, gazed outside, sat in the meditation garden, and wished with my heart of hearts I had brought a book and a swimsuit. I could have spent the entire day there if I had.

My time for facial treatment arrived, and I was escorted to the treatment room by my facialist, Mieko, a soft-spoken Asian woman with soft hands, who used alternating methods of finger-tapping, lymphatic massage, and a delightfully strange pressure movement–placing her palms against my décolletage and pressing me into the bed, then releasing. It was so calming. Like wearing a heavy blanket.

After my treatment, I read magazines in the coed lounge for about an hour and a half, and then quietly and calmly changed back into my clothes, and checked out. I only stayed for about four hours, but the entire day (from open to close) is available to you, no matter if you have a facial or a massage.

All in all, I cannot say I have ever experienced a better spa. Granted, my scope is limited, but I enjoyed it as much if not more than the Torrey Pines Spa in California, which I had the pleasure of visiting back in March.

HB and I will definitely be making a return for some couples massages very soon!