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“Very good for the ambiance and location only”
Review of The Don CeSar

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The Don CeSar
Ranked #7 of 32 Hotels in St. Pete Beach
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed 27 July 2011

This hotel is a landmark. A big pink sand castle on the white sands of St. Pete Beach. Such an interesting building with interesting history. Alas, they seem to be riding on that. Rooms are small, average, and most lack a water view. I find that Loews properties can really run the gamut from exquisite to just average. This one is somewhere in between. The restaurant was quite bad, sadly, both food and decor wise. If you stay for the 'experience', please take a short ride into downtown St. Pete and get yourself a decet meal. I found downtown St. Pete utterly charming and interesting, much like this hotel. But neither one is really anywhere I really would want to spend the night.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled on business
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1  Thank lolanola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,187 - 3,193 of 3,796 reviews

Reviewed 27 July 2011

Loews hotels have always represented a superior product to me. It's been years since I have resided in a Loews hotel so I looked forward to a 3-day conference stay at the Don Cesar, joining the 'YouFirst' Reward program, hoping for some distinction.

No distinction. Arrival time at 2:50pm and was told by a very harried front desk that no rooms were ready, although the suggested check-in time is 3pm. So a colleague and I checked our bags with the bell captain and had a long, late lunch downstairs. The food was exceptional and the staff highly attentive and helpful.

Upon returning to the desk at 5pm, I was issued a room on the first floor directly across from the service elevator. I've got no problem being assigned a handicapped room outside of the fact I'm NOT handicapped and the showers just never, ever work to satisfaction in a handicapped room. Went to the desk to change room because of location but no rooms were available, even for a 'YouFirst' guest.

Well, that just can't be right because I've been a Hilton Diamond since 1991 (when only full-service Hilton properties were counted) and Hilton has always had a room available for a displeased Diamond. So, at that point, I found myself to be a 'YouLast' guest.

Take this advice from a veteran, global traveler: this hotel has seen better days. Although the staff (except, strangely, the front desk personnel) are exceptionally attentive, the hotel is old and loud. To be fair, the food is quite better than usual hotel fare and the dinner at the Mauritana restaurant on the first floor was truly exceptional.

The conference center handled our seminars quite well and the facilities were more than adequate.

I did not have time to visit the pool nor the beach so readers will have to rely upon the comments of other reviewers for those features.

Upon returning home, I did receive an email from Loews Don CeSar to evaluate their hotel and I responded in the same manner as this review. The next day I did receive what appeared to be a modified 'form letter' response from the general manager of the Don CeSar, a Mr Anthony Scaglione, expressing his dismay in my displeasure, offering to give me personalized service the next time I planned to stay. Thank you for your response, Mr Scaglione.

Somehow, the general managers never quite know *when* a client becomes a 'YouLast' guest. But the hotel loses that client at that very moment and provides impetus for a dissatisfied customer to actually take the time and effort to write a hotel review on TripAdvisor.

This is not a 4-Diamond hotel, in my opinion.

Room Tip: Do not stay on the first floor: loud with lot of traffic
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled on business
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5  Thank transponding
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2011

This is our 2nd time to the Don Cesar. We love this hotel! Hotel staff very friendly. Bell men, pool restaurant and cleaning staff too. I was celebrating my 50th and they upgraded us to an ocean front room which was so nice.
Sandy in the gift shop is great with kids! A short trip to St. Armands circle was worth it. Good restaurants and shopping plus nice views along the way.
Suggestions: Please post signs on the beach "Do not remove crabs or sand dollars" . I saw someone walk away with 30 sand dollars. I told him they were alive and he didn't realize it or care. Also, the pool drinks are a little pricey compared to the Westin and Marriott beach/pool bars.
We will be back next year!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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Thank LHMOMLorton_Virginia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 July 2011

Needing a well deserved break from the rat-races, my husband and I decided to stay at the Don Cesar for the weekend. This was our first time visiting the hotel and we were amazed by the stately design in the lobby and the exterior of the building. I did see some areas that needed a touch up; there were parts of the carpet that were all worn and faded, and paint on the walls was chipping away.
We had breakfast in the Sea Porch Cafe and Kyle our server was great and energetic; something that is not common with some people early in the morning. The pool was sort of crowded and did not maintain its cleanliness. The pool staff looked like they could not keep up with all the guests and they looked overworked. That night we went to the Maritana restaurant and our dinner was great. The next morning we had breakfast again at the Sea Porch Cafe and had Michelle as our server. She was just as great as Kyle as far as her attitude and performance. After a day lounging at the beach we returned to the Sea Porch Cafe for dinner and had Tom as our server. To no surprise, he was just as curteous and hospitable as the previous two servers. We had dessert at Uncle Andy's and the young man behind the counter Conner was very fun to be around.
The furniture inside the Sea Porch Cafe was sort of worn looking. There are wicker chais with white paint on them and the paint comes off on my clothes. There was a weird smell in the cocktail lounge adjacent from the Sea Porch Cafe that was a combination of bad fruit and spilled beer. Our air conditioner made a "clanging" noise and spit out little balls of dust or whatever is inside the vent. Check in and check out was normal with no issues.
Overall, the staff was nice and accomodating, but the hotel is definitely showing its age of over 80 years. With no upkeep inside, the beauty is only skin deep.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank QbertQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2011

We love to go to the St. Pete's beach area. We had a better experience this time. We spent the first night in a room that was cramped and you had to sit sides ways on the toilet because there was not enough room for your legs. We asked to me moved and were able to the next day.

We had a sliver view of the ocean which was alright with us. The hotel was quieter. We could still hear our neighbors through the walls.

We stayed some of the other hotels up the strip and they are worse.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kikikiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2011

My wife and love staying at the Don Cesar. We've stayed 4 times just this year. It's such a nice get away and we've never had a bad thing to say.

We come for the relaxing pool and beach. We spent almost all of our time down there so that's what I thought I should write about. Everyone we ran into that worked there were so friendly. We loved the pool staff(Adeev and Griffin) who work so hard just to make sure you are comfortable. We loved the servers we had(Jacob,Lucy and Justin) who are able to run back and forth to our table in 90 degree heat! We loved the musician by the pool while we were there Fri-Sun. He had a huge variety, took requests and I didn't hear the same song twice the whole weekend. My wife and I don't drink but the bartenders looked like they knew what they were doing under the pressure of a full bar plus making all the drinks for the tables! I used to work in the service industry so I notice those things and hard work when I see it. The pool also had tons of activities for kids, our 2 sons had a blast each day and they even had a dive in movie on Saturday night.

Yes, as said in other reviews the rooms are small but the hotel was built almost 90 years ago so its understandable. The staff was very nice to my family but I can see how they could be overwhelmed with a fully booked hotel. We love the Don Cesar and we will be back soon!

  • Stayed: June 2011
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Thank docbrown45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 July 2011

We got a room as part of a package deal with Busch Gardens. We picked the hotel entirely due to the Loews Brand and a friends recommendation. The photographer should receive an award for such "trick" photography. It appears that the hotel is on an isolated area of the beach...not so.

My family's main complaint, is that we were treated horribly from the moment we checked in until we left by the front desk staff. They never tried to let us know about any restaurants available, a map of the premises, about the spa or about the kids club activities for the night.

We did eat lunch there once and the waitress was terrific. She let us know about some local activities to try that were fun!

The pool area looked so overcrowded that we were turned off. It looked like a pick-up joint for the young hardly dressed women hoping to attract one of the wealthier men swimming/sunbathing around the pool. Did not appear family friendly. The chairs were all occupied and we wondered if we wanted to swim...where would we sit? The beach looked nice, but once again most areas that did not cost money were full.

Our king sized room was so small. We also could hear every cough from the gentleman in the adjoining room. We did not know if he had bronchitis or emphysema...but we heard noise incessantly. The ice machine was located on another floor!! Elevators looked/felt old and a bit scary...the door nearly crashed on us while entering it.

We joked that we could not have ordered room service because one of us would have to be seated in the hallway, with the other one sitting in the bathroom. It was the only levity we had.

We had a three day stay, but left on the second day. The lady behind the desk did not even ask why we were cutting our visit short. Our family will never think of returning to that hotel. Historic or not, it looked run down and in a state of disrepair.

Loews should think of removing this from their company. It does not represent the Loews that myself and my family have come to enjoy in the past!

Room Tip: It appeared that the top floors had rooms spaced more apart. There were less rooms on the top floor...
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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7  Thank Allioop123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Don CeSar

Address: 3400 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706-4015
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Florida > St. Pete Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#3 Green Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#3 Spa Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#6 Family Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#6 On the Beach Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#8 Romantic Hotel in St. Pete Beach
Price Range: £196 - £366 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Don CeSar 4*
Number of rooms: 277
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

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