The Perfect Place to Preview the 2016 Lexus RX: Umstead Hotel and Spa

A Girls Guide To Cars | The Perfect Place To Preview The 2016 Lexus Rx: Umstead Hotel And Spa - Out

The 2016 Lexus RX gets a soothing makeover.

Slipping into a luxury car can be like bringing on the spa bliss, so I was excited when I got to spend a day at the Umstead Hotel in Cary, North Carolina, and test drive a host of new luxury crossovers.

Peace of mind

One of the new technologies in the car is a sway warning: if the car senses that you are getting drowsy, an orange coffee cup illuminates. How convenient, then, that the hotel offers afternoon tea with a harpist. Or you can retreat to your room and make a cup of caffeine with the Keurig.

The Lexus cupholders lower for big cups so if, like me, you use one big water bottle for driving in a car or riding a bicycle, you don’t have to worry about the water bottle not fitting. And then you can use that water bottle at the Umstead, which offers free bikes, along with helmets and trail maps.

2016 Lexus Rx

The large touchscreen on the 2016 Lexus RX. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Of course, if you are driving around, you won’t get lost; the Lexus Enform navigation system is easy to see – with a huge touchscreen  -and to use (and you save gas to boot if you don’t waste if driving around lost!). The Lexus Enform Safety Connect sends emergency assistance in case of an accident, and can even locate your vehicle if it is stolen; now that is peace of mind!

Other safety technologies in the 2016 Lexus RX also reduce stress, including  all-speed dynamic radar cruise control that reads road ahead and can take the car to a complete stop if there is traffic, and pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection.

2016 Lexus Rx

The dual entertainment screens can help keep the peace in the 2016 Lexus RX. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

And no back seat squabbling; the Lexus lets you keep the peace with dual entertainment screens, plus separate climate controls for the rear passengers.

At the Umstead, you can relax with weekend yoga classes, or use the spa without buying a treatment; kick back in the relaxation lounge, get water therapy in the steam room, sauna and whirlpool.

Soothe your muscles and eyes

I didn’t have time for a spa treatment, but if you are lucky enough to get a massage, you won’t want to strain your back tugging on seats to fold them. The electric power folding seats ensure no muscle strain when yo need to reconfigure the rear seats. And the power lumbar front seats offer a comfy ride.

The Lexus has calming ambient light, which gently illuminates the car’s cabin without harsh glare. The Umstead provides a nightly turndown service, with chocolates and a pitcher of its own filtered water (no need to drink bottle water; see below).

2016 Lexus Rx

The heads up display, in the Lexus 450 RX. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The heads up display in the Lexus lets you keep your eyes on the road and reduces neck strain. And the rain-sensing wipers, which I needed on my drives, mean worry-free windshield wipers.

2016 Lexus Rx

Different drive modes and the adjustable cup holder. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Commitment to sustainability

One of my favorite things about the Lexus RX is the hybrid model, which does more than make me feel virtuous; it gives me the chance to save fuel while enjoying the finer things in life. And even if you don’t get the hybrid model, the 8 speed auto transmission shifts to all wheel drive only when needed, and an eco mode cuts down on the air conditioning to make the vehicle more fuel efficient.

2016 Lexus Rx

The spa’s outdoor relaxation lounge. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

The Umstead has an extensive environment commitment. A switch at the door lets you turn off all the lights as you leave the room, local farms provide seasonal produce for the restaurant, and the outdoor pool is closed in the coldest months to reduce gas and electrical consumption. If you do drive a hybrid to the spa, you get free valet parking; there are also electric vehicle charging stations.

Keeping canine passengers happy

The panoramic sunroof really keeps everyone happy. I never realized that my hatred of sitting in the back seat was linked to my claustrophobia. With the airy interior enhanced by the panoramic sunroof, you can keep make everyone in the vehicle comfortable.

The pet-friendly Umstead offers an enclosed playground DogWoods, so the family dog can get her necessary exercise.

Finding your bliss

2016 Lexus Rx

Speaker in the premium sound system; stitching and leather show attention to craftsmanship. Credit: Judy Antell for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Luxury vehicles are known for their quiet refinement, and the 2016 Lexus RX offers a quiet ride. With the hybrid, with car is so quiet you can barely tell if it is on. This makes it all the better to listen to the premium 15-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, which brings compressed files to high fidelity.

At the hotel, balconies overlook the private lake or the gardens, and the plush robes, premium pillow top mattresses and high thread count linens cosset you.

Luxury Lexus or spa. Well, do I have to choose just one?

Note: I was a guest of Lexus, which provided transportation and accommodations: bliss and opinions are all my own.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell