The Don CeSar
What We Love
- Cushy beach loungers on the powder-white sand and two pools
- Spanish Colonial-style architecture makes this hotel a landmark (the pink color is hard to miss)
- Fun activities for kids at Camp CeSar
- Massages in the three-story spa, which also has a rooftop garden
What To Know
- Multiple grand ballrooms make this a popular place for weddings and conferences
- Guestrooms and bathrooms are cozy by modern standards
- You can happily stay within the confines of the hotel, but otherwise you’ll need a car to explore
- Rooms on lower floors have views of the parking lot
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Driving over the Pinellas Bayway bridge, the spires of the Don CeSar Hotel rise in the distance like some fantastical sand castle. A paragon of roaring 20s elegance, the palatial property’s many tiers and icing-like architectural flourishes have earned it the affectionate nickname “the Pink Palace.” The service too is reminiscent of more genteel times. But the place isn’t stuffy. A relaxed, beachy vibe reigns in the colonnaded lobby, where guests walk past the baby grand piano in flip-flops and bathing suit coverups.
Bed & Bath
At 250 square feet, the guestrooms may not be as big as in more modern hotels, but the decor is charming, with an airy beach-toned palette of blue and sandy hues and cozy touches like upholstered headboards, super soft throws and high thread count linens. Plantation-style shutters and ceiling fans remind you that this is the South, and gulf views set the mood.
Just beyond the lobby is some of the world’s softest, whitest sand and the tranquil, always warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Beach attendants will set you up with a shaded lounge chair, from which you can watch dolphins finning in and out of the shallows. Or roll out your towel on a chaise next to one of the two pools. Thoughtful touches include free sunscreen, chilled fruit-infused water and an underwater sound system. Head to the poolside bar for a Bloody Mary, or check out the three-story spa. Catch the sunset on the beach, before heading to Maritana Grille for New American fare prepared from local seafood and organic produce. Think Gulf snapper with red quinoa, summer squash and compressed tomato vinaigrette or black grouper with potato confit, chorizo and kale in a lobster-saffron emulsion.
In the Area
Take in surrealist canvases at the Salvador Dalí museum; you can buy melting clock cookies in the café. Try the grouper at the Wharf restaurant, a real local hangout with an overwater dining deck and boat slips out back. Take a lesson and learn stand-up paddleboarding; the Water Monkey Shop will teach you the basics and even deliver your board to the beach. Take a sunset excursion on a 50-foot ketch; you can spot dolphins and tropical birds in the evening glow.
How to Get There
The Don Cesar was the coolest hotel in st Pete’s. The service was top notch, from restaurant to the beach. I was here with my company on a luxurious business trip. Their was one individual who stood out at the hotel. He worked on the beach as a cabana assistant. His name is Daryl.He was so professional and polite! He went out of his way to fulfill our needs. His service is what made our intire beach gathering so successful! I’ll definitely be bringing my family to this hotel in the future.
Daryl, was the man at the hotel!! He was so efficient, respectful, and was always there waiting on us hand and foot. We all recommend him and the hotel itself. The views and luxury of it all was less then incredible.
Thank you to Daryl and the rest of the staff at the The Don Cesar for everything you provided us with on our trip!
My wife and I have only stayed once. We nearly had our daughter's wedding here. But it is a great place to visit for the day or to stop in for a meal or drinks, especially at sundown. Do not miss sundown from this venue. It is unforgettable.Great staff. Great food and drinks. Great happy hour. We took our kids and grandkids there and they loved it.
Flight getting in to Florida from NY was delayed 3x, original hotel booked was an absolute nightmare, our fishing charter was cancelled last minute as we were on I-4 in Orlando rush hour traffic trying to get to Cape Canaveral. I convinced my husband to turn the car around and head to St. Pete’s area. We booked our hotel stay with a Hotwire mystery deal. Hotwire states that they would match us with a hotel 4+ stars, comparable to a Hyatt, Hilton, Westin, or Private. We never dreamed we’d stay at The Don CeSar, through a Hotwire mystery deal.
Thank goodness. The Don CeSar saved our trip, in fact, our short time there was the highlight of our trip.
I wish I had remembered the young woman’s name who checked us in; she was so friendly. I know she went out of her way to select an ocean view room - they were busy and I did her another receptionist talking about how busy they were. We enjoyed a glass of champagne at check in, which was much appreciated and needed.
Our room was my style of decor. Clean. Spacious enough for 2 people. Bedding was soft and comfortable. We had no trouble getting sunchairs and an umbrella on the beach. The pool was clean. All staff we encountered were very friendly.
I’m sure this sounds silly, but, I’ve traveled along the east coast from Nova Scotia to Brazil and everywhere in between; I don’t think I’ve ever felt sand so soft. I bet that sounds silly, but the sand at The Don CeSar is like silk.
Also, my husband and I had to laugh, we looked up the history of The Don CeSar and I read it was at one point a VA; I’m a nurse for the VA and my husband is a Veteran; we can’t even escape it on vacation, laughter ensued.
Thank you so much for your hospitality. You truly saved our first adult vacation, post-baby.
This is my favorite hotel in the area. Love the grandeur the beach and the color.
They greet you warmly on arrival with free champagne. Of course as a tourist hotel your room is never ready when you get there !
The beach here is near perfect and the sand is white and fine.
As an older hotel there’s a shortage of pools and chairs. Many people put towels down by 10 so good luck if you sleep in !
It seems they allow local people to join the pool. I don’t understand that. Makes it definitely less exclusive ?
Service at the pool is very pleasant but they seem very short staffed. One circle every hour or so. The drinks are approaching Four Seasons or Ritz pricing. As is the food.
We had an unpleasant experience trying to get a outside table for breakfast at 1045. We were the only ones waiting but nonetheless the hostess assured us it would be a flat 15 minutes to have a table cleared off ! What a can do attitude ! We had to go to the bar and have coffee while we waited. Again is there short staffing ?
Room decor is dated - no usb plugs anywhere. Our sitting area had no windows or bright lamps - claustrophobia set in and was basically unusable. The carpet is tired and worn out. All the rooms could use ceiling fans and the air conditioning at 65 degrees never got cold enough. This was in March so I can’t imagine firing it up in the summer !
Positively the common areas lobby have been carpeted and redecorated so very nice. Oh also $22 to self park your car seems a bit ridiculous on top of a $500 per night rate.
This is a great hotel but is coasting a little too much on its reputation. It’s far from a luxury experience that you would expect at a high end chain like four seasons or ritz Carlton. Yet. I’d be pleased to go back because there’s nothing as good anywhere around. Maybe that’s the problem.