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The Tampa Bay Area Hotels

Loews Don CeSar Hotel

Pros

  • Romantic destination
  • Great beach
  • Tasty dining options

Cons

  • Small rooms, can be quite pricey

Updated 04/24/2014

Fodor's Review

Today the "Pink Palace," as it's called thanks to its paint job, is a storied resort and gulf-coast architectural landmark, with exterior and public areas oozing turn-of-the-20th-century elegance. Ditto for the rooms. The staff are known for friendly old-world service. The Don once was a favorite of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Babe Ruth, and Clarence Darrow. Maritana Grille is the hotel's deservedly popular restaurant, which specializes in Florida seafood and is lined with huge fish tanks. Ghost hunters may be interested in knowing that Tomas Rowe, who built this Roaring Twenties–era hotel, is said to have come back after death to meet his beloved; some guests and staff swear they see the couple occasionally having a rendezvous in the garden (more romantic than spooky); others say Rowe appears in corridors and rooms.

Hotel Information

Address:

3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, Florida, 33706, USA

Map It

Phone:

727-367–6952; 800-282–1116

Website: www.doncesar.com

Hotel Details:

  • 277 rooms, 40 suites, 70 condos
  • No meals

Updated 04/24/2014

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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May 12, 2010

Don CeSar Beach Resort Review

I am a travel agent stayed at many of the hotels around the world and many of the hotels on St Pete beach, but never at any of Plaza Beach Resort - www.plazaresorts.com properties so I wanted to see what the buzz was about. I stay two nights on the beachside and two nights on the bayside. From the moment you walk in you can feel that the front desk staff appreciate that you are there and are helpful to let you know about the area and property amenities.

My room at the Plaza Beach Hotel Beachfront Resort - www.plazabeach.com - was #201, very nice deluxe efficiency on the second floor. The room had a king size bed and full kitchen and only seven rooms from the beach. Actually the property is not large, so any room you get you are no more than 15 to 20 seconds from the beach. The walkways had new tiles, and the pool area looked brand new, you can tell that the owners are reinvesting in the property. The property was secluded between two large condo buildings so it was very peaceful and quiet. The beach has soft, very fine sugar like sand, it is a very white and comparable to the Bahamas or Caribbean islands. It is a perfect beach haven for singles, couples or families. Actually I would highly recommend the property to families because of the amenities and full kitchens. After two days I moved to the Bayview Plaza Waterfront Resort -www.thebayviewplaza.com - about 200 feet down the road on the intercoastal water. St Pete beach is an actual barrier island and the Plaza Beach owns one property on the beachside and two properties on the bayside, and you are a guest of any of them so you can go back and forth between properties. My room at the Bayview Plaza was room #16, it was a beautiful room with a queen bed, full kitchen and stunning balcony patio overlook the water. This room was really unexpected; from outside the property is looks nice, but inside the property is really is 1st class, really beat my expectations. The room was small than the room I had at the Plaza Beach, but the view and atmosphere of the room was much better. There was a waterfront deck directly outside my room, were I spent time reading my book under the tiki hut. I was also able to use the deck and pool next door at the Bay Palms Waterfront Resort www.baypalmsresort.com . The pool was warm and provided a nice place to cool off from the sun. I must say, I was really impressed with the setup the Plaza Beach Resorts offer. The amenities were great, they offer free parking and you can drive your car from property to property if you don’t want to walk, but like I said it’s only about 200 feet. They also offer, free wifi at each location, free computer usage at the office if you didn’t bring a computer, free pool and beach towels, a great happy hour from 4-5 pm with free beer and wine, which I don’t think you’ll find anywhere on the beach, rooms with kitchens which was nice to have to prepare a meal and keep wine and ice cream cold. Just a great all around setup which I was happy to experience and will now recommend to my clients.

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Nov 27, 2007

Pinking it was Perfect

We just returned from our visit during Thanksgiving week and are planning to return next year as well. We had read some negative comments about the small rooms, but they were so well appointed and decorated so beautifully, that we didn't find the room lacking in any way. The staff was always friendly, always helpful, always attentive, and seemed genuinely happy to be there. The pool and beach were equally beautiful and clean and fully staffed.

The Maritana Grille was absolutely delicious and the waitstaff and chef were very amenable with my many food allergies.

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Sep 10, 2007

$$$$ But worth it !!

I have visited the Don CeSar on a yearly bases for the past 7 yrs. The setting is beatiful, as is the resort. People complain of the High cost, but if money is an issue, they may want to go to a hotel within their means. The staff is polite, very willing to help out with any problem. I Say 5 stars, cant wait for there NEW SPA TO OPEN IN THE SPRING, 2008.

By Paul

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Aug 3, 2004

LOVE "THE DON"

I stayed here in July, 2004 and was charmed by the hotel. It's very big but our room was intimate and not in a bad, smallish way. It was a nicely decorated room with a "beach" decor and a view of the Gulf. I often looked out the window for the beauty of it all. I did not eat in the hotel except for breakfast so I cannot describe the restaurants. I love old hotels like this where there are big public rooms with lots of places to curl up with a good

book. The pool gets crowded and you have to be early to get a chaise lounge or you can do what I did and just set up at the outdoor bar and jump in when you feel like it. The hotel truly is right on the beach and there are cabanas for rent. The staff was very cordial and my car was always ready at the valet. I loved the place and would go back in a heartbeat.

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By R

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Jul 24, 2004

The Don is Done --

The Don used to be a nice hotel. Having stayed here once or twice a year for the past 5 years, I think I know quite a bit about the hotel. Something has happened. The Don is no longer the nice, clean, elite hotel that earned it its' reputation. The blanket in my room had holes in it. Well and in all fairness, it really wasn't much of a blanket to begin with -- it is one of those sheets of styrofoam that cheap hotels use as blankets. The towels

were thread bare -- well, to be fair, one towel was not worn down so far as to be thread bare, but it did have a hole in it. Perhaps it was once a blanket. Also, in the past, the Don made no qualms about not having any high tech internet access. This is a quaint old fashioned hotel with a charming history. However, they have recently informed guests that they have installed wireless internet access. What they failed to mention is that there is a $10 charge to use this service and, unfortunately, it is merely a "virtual" wireless web. It doesn't actually work. The signal is so poor, you won't actually be able to open even the smallest of websites. It will cost you $10 to find that out though. To top it off, on the first night of this trip, I was attacked in my room by cockroaches. If that doesn't freak you out, nothing will. On the positive side, staff was very pleasant. They were not helpful, but they were very pleasant about it. I asked to be moved to a room where I could actually get the wireless internet service I paid for and to escape the giant cockroaches. They told me they couldn't move me. Even though I saw dozens of families checking out on Saturday morning, they told me they didn't have any other rooms for me.

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By Erin

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Jul 22, 2003

GREAT HOTEL!

This Hotel is a great place to stay! The rooms are beautiful, you have a fabulous beach to lounge on and it is located near many great restaraunts and shops.The hotel also has a great restaraunt and spa. I reccomend staying here. We are going back this year.

By Frank

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May 29, 2002

Stressful Beach Resort

IF you go, get ready to play survivor with your fellow hotel guests. This resort is very crowded. You have to be the first for everything, otherwise the other hotel guests get the limited resources. If you are not at the pool or beach side by 9:00 a.m. you are just not going that day. The hotel is very crowed with wedding parties, who get quite drunk and obnoxious. Also, there are a lot of kids, so don't expect a get away weekend. After paying

close to top dollar and not getting much, if any, of the amenities, I came away more stressed then when I arrived. If you are looking for a luxury experience this is not it.

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