Phone: 919-210-8388 | Email:

Discover an Art-filled Hotel and Spa in Cary, North Carolina

back massage at the spa
Being surrounded by art complements the spa experience at The Umstead

Cary is a town that has brains – that much is for sure. After all, SAS, the business analytics software company, calls the area home. Cary’s close proximity to the Triangle also means that people associate it closely with the universities found in neighboring Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

But the town has an artistic side, too – and The Umstead Hotel and Spa is its most prominent standard bearer. The local icon was opened in 2007 by the same couple who founded the aforementioned SAS: Jim and Ann Goodnight.

After seeing tech executives pouring into this side of North Carolina, the couple knew their distinguished guests would be looking for accommodations notches above the average hotel or inn. The Umsteadfilled that need so well, it received a five-diamond designation from AAA, an independent body that inspects and grades restaurants and lodgings.

How the art collection began

The Umstead began collecting and displaying fine art as a natural extension of the luxe experience the hotel offers its guests. The creative spark started with Ann Goodnight.

She had once volunteered at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA), which nurtured her eye for fine art. When she began collecting, she sought the advice of Larry Wheeler of NCMA because she wanted other people to enjoy the art she procured.

It wasn’t long before her personal collection found their way to The Umstead, which allowed guests and the public to admire them too. The hotel’s collection is made up mostly of works from American artists, chosen to harmonize with the hotel’s contemporary interiors.

Featured artists

As with any gallery or museum, The Umstead has a permanent collection that highlights North Carolina’s beautiful sights and rich culture. These include works by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly and landscape artist Lynn Bogges. Pottery artists Ben Owen III and Mark Hewitt have numerous pieces that are part of the collection.

Complementing the permanent collection are new exhibitions. A recent show featured Raleigh native Amy Braun, who captures North Carolina’s natural landscape through the prism of light and textured patterns.

Fellow North Carolina resident Madonna Phillips has showcased her original glass collage technique in “Order/Chaos,” inspired by the nature’s inherent disorder and the wonders borne from it.

Shelley Hehenberger, another exhibitor at the hotel, showed her riveting work in wax that recalls the earth’s shifting and erosion.

The most prized piece in The Umstead is a blown-glass work created by Chihuly. Inspired by a species of herons, the work called “ArdeaFigura” serves as the centerpiece of the hotel’s art collection.

The next time you’re in Cary, visit The Umstead to enjoy a bit of pampering while getting your fill of the hotel’s marvelous art collection.

If you’re thinking of making Cary your permanent home, explore the website for your real estate options. You can also contact Matt Peedin at 919-210-8388 or email mattpeedin(at)kw(dotted)com.