My husband and I spent four nights at the Don CeSar from June 29th through July 3rd. Our stay wasn't perfect, but it was certainly a lot of fun.
When making our reservation, I was able to find a military rate for half of our stay and a Loews' summer promotion for the other half. I called the hotel directly and was assured by a helpful young man that he could link the reservations without any glitches. At check in, we reminded the desk attendant about our two reservations and shared both confirmation numbers. In the middle of our stay, we returned from the beach to a (polite) phone message from the office manager requesting that we vacate the room immediately since the resort was sold out for the night! I trudged to the front desk covered in sand and more than a little irritable with confirmation numbers in hand. A staff member named Anthony fixed the problem, apologized profusely, and charged us the military rate for the third night as well, much to our satisfaction.
Our room was on the second floor overlooking the parking lot (we did not pay for a balcony or water view). The room and bathroom were pretty, but tiny. Our king size bed was very comfortable, and we did not hear any noise to keep us awake. I recommend adjusting the a/c so that the fan blows constantly instead of cycling on and off. The chair in the room was stained, the caulk around the tub was cracked, and there were two spots of black mold on the floor. I chose to attribute these faults to the fact that the hotel is a historic property! Even though we were on a dog-friendly floor, we only heard barking once. The lobby and public areas were well maintained and beautiful. Lemonade and salt water taffy were small treats available in the lobby (plus morning pastries for a fee).
The real reason to choose this hotel is the beach. The complimentary chairs and umbrellas were perfect (just be sure to tip the young men who set them up). You may also choose a beach cabana ($25 a day) or a beach bed ($100). Free ice water, magazines, and sunscreen were offered at the outdoor towel stand. There was a wiffle ball tournament during the Fourth of July weekend, blocking off half of the beach. Chairs were packed pretty tightly into the available space, but we were still comfortable. The water was calm and warm, with a little more seagrass than I expected. We didn't spend much time by the pools, but there were plenty of chairs if you got there reasonable early (by 10 a.m.). The staff of the kids club did their best to keep their youngest guests entertained with games, face painting, tie-dye t-shirts, and lots of other activities. A schedule of exercise classes is available at the Beach Club, starting with Beach Yoga at 9 a.m. and continuing all day. There is a small indoor hot tub, steam room, and sauna in the Beach Club as well. My husband ran on the treadmill in the Fitness Center and said the room was very well equipped.
I called the concierge desk to ask about the historic tour around the hotel which was mentioned in their activities brochure. She told me that the tour is not offered when the hotel is sold out, since we can't visit the presidential suite. She suggested I walk around the hotel on my own and visit the desk so she could share some history with me. We wandered up to the fifth floor and were rewarded with an incredible view of the shoreline from the terrace.
The only meal we ate at the resort was at the pool bar. Prices were consistent with a resort of this type, although I have had much better $12 burgers. We did enjoy our ice cream from Uncle Andy's.
We visited the Pier, the Dali Museum, and Muvico Theater in St. Petersburg (with a delicious meal at Bella Brava). We headed over to Fort DeSoto to see the “Best Beach in America (2009)” and found that the beach in front of the hotel is so much better! We also drove the length of the island, starting at Clearwater Beach and ending at Pass-A-Grille. We had a surprisingly delicious dinner at Bubba Gump's at St. John's Pass in Madeira Beach and wonderful BBQ at the restaurant in the Postcard Inn just up the road. I hated my meal and the atmosphere at Gigi's.
I would recommend the Don CeSar for both couples and families if you’re looking for a luxurious, relaxing vacation and room size isn’t an issue for you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Known as Florida's "Pink Palace," The Don CeSar, facing the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico, was built in 1928 to resemble a Mediterranean-style castle. Born in the Great Gatsby era as a playground for the rich and famous, the iconic "Pink Palace" has been revitalized and refreshed within, ensuring a future as rich and storied as its history. Enjoy newly redesigned 277 luxurious rooms including 36 suites, many with spectacular views of the pristine Gulf beaches or Boca Ciega Bay. Relax and indulge at Spa Oceana, featuring over 11,000 square feet of spa facilities, luxurious spa treatments, full service salon, and a stunning rooftop garden overlooking the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Don Cesar Beach Hotel
- Don Cesar Beach Resort
- Don Cesar Hotel Florida
- Don Cesar Florida
- Hotel Don Cesar Beach
- Don Cesar Resort
- The Don CeSar St. Pete Beach, Florida