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
Excellent hotel. Loved everything. Service was amazing and people so friendly. Jimmy on the beach went overboard to accommodate us and out 96 year old relative wheeling her to our umbrella and chairs. He could not have been more helpful, kind, personable, committed to his job which is not easy, out in the sun all day trying to make and keep people happy. Great overall first time experience. We all loved it and this classic, timeless "Palace on the Beach"....
Had the most fantastic stay, the hotel has everything. The beach is beautiful and clean and we had the most attentive young man called Elliot looking after us he couldn’t do enough to make our stay on the beach wonderful.
Fabulous place, even better service. Elliott is the absolute best Cabana boy!!!! The entire experience has been great!!! Highly recommend for a relaxing vacation or getaway, especially if you enjoy being pampered!!
After a long winter, my BFF's planned a day at "The Don." Parking was directly in front of this beautiful, elegant hotel. We savored a long morning at the Spa. Spent time outside on the roof deck for a fabulous view of the ocean and white sands and then enjoyed lunch poolside. Service is impeccable and the food was fresh and diverse. Atmosphere inside and outside offer small seating areas for privacy. Spend about 30minutes reading it's history on the first level of the hotel and enjoy the iconic photo's especially from WWII. It's based on a love story. Beautiful place.
Had lunch by the pool and beach of Don CeSar for girls trip to Tampa in February 2018. The restaurant is open to the public, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and grabbed lunch on the patio in between the pool and the beach.
PARKING - the hotel has weddings so the main parking lot was closed for the private event/wedding that day. We drove around the neighboring streets and found a parking spot after about 10 minutes.
They have beach games such as life-size chess and connect 4 as soon as you leave the patio to the beach. Another nice touch was a guitar playing singer who performed classic songs and acoustic version of today's hits. Really set the mood for paradise vacation!