Loews Don CeSar Hotel – St. Pete Beach, Florida
Loews Don CeSar Hotel St. Pete Beach | 3400 Gulf Blvd | St. Pete Beach, FL 33706 | 1-800-282-1116
There are hotels and then there are — GRAND HOTELS. The historic, 4-Diamond, Loews Don CeSar Hotel St. Pete Beach is a GRAND hotel in every sense.
Thomas Rowe began construction in 1924 and by 1928 the Don CeSar hotel, known as the “Pink Castle”, opened and immediately became a favorite location of the era’s biggest stars including everyone from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Al Capone!
In 1942, two years after Rowe’s death, the U.S. Army took over the hotel and used it as a hospital throughout the duration of World War II. In 1944, the Don entered its “golden age” as an Air Force convalescent center. 1943 the hotel’s luxurious interior was stripped bare and became the regional office for the Veteran’s Administration. By 1969, the historic building had severely deteriorated. It remained derelict until 1973 when The Don CeSar Hotel reopened after a $7.5 million restoration.
In 2003, the Don CeSar Hotel became a Loews Hotel. In 2009 a million dollar meeting space renovation was completed. In 2011, the signature restaurant, Maritana Grille, Lobby, Lobby Bar, and Sea Porch Restaurant were reconcepted and revitalized. By 2012, a multi-million dollar guestroom renovation was completed.
I have been wanting to visit Loews Don CeSar Hotel for quite some time so I was extremely excited my wife Jennifer and I finally had the opportunity this past May.
Approaching the “Pink Castle” is nothing short of spectacular. The hotel stands out, not just because of the color, but it’s beautiful structure.
I felt as if I was meeting a celebrity at a Great Gatsby themed party as I pulled up to the entrance.
Yes, I had arrived!
One of the best features, which lasted through our entire stay, was the interaction with the friendly staff and impeccable service.
I witnessed a sense of pride and enthusiasm with everyone I came in contract with.
As a fan of Loews Hotels, I knew the hotel was going to be beautiful, but I wasn’t expecting such an impressive feeling of grandeur as you enter the lobby.
The attention to detail is outstanding!
There is so much to love about Loews Don CeSar Hotel!
Here is my list of the TOP 10 reasons why a visit to the “PINK CASTLE” is a must!
- THE HISTORY – As mentioned above, the Don CeSar is one historic hotel! It is listed on the registered Historic Hotels of America. I love how is has gone through numerous reincarnations and has circled back to being the grand dame it once was — even better now that it is a Loews hotel. You get a true sense of place and even though the hotel exudes modernism, you can still FEEL the history everywhere you go. You don’t get this feeling at too many hotels. It is special and should be experienced!
- THE DECOR – How could you not fall in love with a hotel that looks like a (very) pink castle? I mean, c’mon!? How many hotels have you approached that made you lose your breath from it’s grandeur? That is exactly what happened when Jennifer and I spotted Loews Don CeSar Hotel in the distance. The excitement only grew as we got closer and once we entered the lobby and saw how beautifully decorated it was inside, we were at a loss for words, but “WOW!” seems to sum it up! 😉
- THE ROOMS – Loews Don CeSar Hotel has 277 guest rooms and 36 suites, many with views of gulf beaches or Boca Ciega Bay. Rooms were completely remodeled in 2012 and are beautiful. Our 250 square foot superior room was bright, modern and provided a slight ocean view. The room was decorated in soft blues with plantation-style shutters with two double beds (king is also available). Room choices range from superior to deluxe, luxury and grand guestrooms. Loews Don CeSar’s expansive suites range from deluxe to luxury and grand. Penthouse options are also available. For a full description of available room types click HERE.
- PRIVATE BEACH – The private 7 miles of pristine sugary white sand beach and clear gulf waters will mesmerize you! This was my favorite feature of the hotel. I loved the short walk from our room, past the two beach front pools, to our own little piece of paradise.
Towels were provided as were chase lounge chairs, sun beds and umbrellas (for a cost). You could also order drinks and food by putting the flag up on your chair. Taking in gorgeous views, enjoying warm sunshine, sipping on an ice cold drink and cooling off in the ocean are what vacation dreams are made of.
Loews Don CeSar Hotel is the perfect location to “get away from it all”. Water sport rentals are available, including jet skis. Oh, and DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT miss the sunset from the beach. Absolutely breathtaking.
- THE POOLS – There are two gorgeous beachfront pools and a whirlpool that are next to the vibrant beach bar (where you can grab a quick bite or drink from their expansive menu) and listen to live music.
The pools were both large, heated to the perfect temperature, sparkling clean and open late!
- THE SPA & FITNESS ROOM –
Spa Oceana features:
- 16 treatment rooms including two deluxe couples treatment rooms
- Mens’ and Ladies’ steam rooms and whirlpools
- Whisper Lounge
- Full menu of spa and salon services
- Rooftop Garden overlooking the Gulf of Mexico
- Spa Cuisine menu to enjoy lunch during your spa visit
- Specialty boutique offering a variety of gifts and products to take the spa home with you
For more information on Spa Oceana click HERE.
The Fitness Center at Loews Don CeSar Hotel is very, very nice! They offer high-end cardiovascular and strength-training equipment to meet guest’s needs. Complimentary chilled towels, fresh fruit and headphones are also provided.
There is an exercise studio located across the hall from the Fitness Center. When classes aren’t being held, the Studio and training equipment are available for guests to use 24 hours. There are jump ropes, medicine balls, punching bags, exercise balls and more!
For more information on the Health & Wellness Center at Loews Don CeSar Resort click HERE.
- ONSITE RESTAURANTS & LOUNGES – Maritana Grille, Loews Don CeSar Hotel’s signature restaurant, surrounds you with 1,500 gallons of salt water aquariums filled with native Florida fish. You will dine on the freshest local seafood around with locally sourced ingredients. Their extensive wine list and world-class service has earned them a spot in the Top 10 seafood restaurant in the United States by Gayot Guides, and has received AAA’s 4-Diamond rating for the past 15 years. The vibe is casual with no jackets required.
Also available is Sunsets Tequila Bar featuring over 40 tequilas, hand-crafted beers and tapas menu. You can catch your favorite game on large plasma TV’s while enjoying views of the beach and gulf. The Lobby Bar offers an intimate, chic setting. Enjoy live music nightly while sipping on a seasonal creation mixed up by the bar’s mixologist. For more information on dining options please click HERE.
- THE SERVICE – Loews Don CeSar Hotel goes above and beyond when it comes to service. The genuine smiles and friendly attitudes of the staff are one of the features that stuck out during our stay. Everyone I came in contact with was eager to help with suggestions and make sure our stay was up to standards.
GOOD TO KNOW:
– There is complimentary shuttle service up and down Gulf Boulevard to take you to wherever you want to go. All you have to do is tip.
– The hotel provides free Wi-fi, 24-hour room service, 24-hour business center, and access to an on-site concierge.
– There is a daily resort fee of $25 per room (plus tax) added to your account daily. Click HERE to learn what is included.
– Self parking for registered guests is $10 plus tax per vehicle, per day. Visitors are $20 plus tax per vehicle, per day.
– Valet parking for registered guests is $23 plus tax per vehicle, per day. Visitor’s valet parking is $25 plus tax per vehicle, per day.
– Smoking policy: There is a designated smoking area on the outdoor veranda off the Lobby Bar of the hotel. Smoking outside this area is not permitted.
– Check-in is at 4 PM. Check-out is at 11:00 AM. A late check out charge cost 50% of daily rate.
– Early departure penalty: One night room rate plus tax.
– Meeting Space: Loews Don CeSar Hotel offers over 22,000 square feet of indoor function space and 16,000 square feet of creative outdoor space including verandas, outdoor terraces and two beachfront pavilions overlooking The Gulf of Mexico. For more information on meeting / group space click HERE.
– Weddings: I could think of no better place in the St. Pete Beach area to celebrate your wedding day than the legendary Loews Don CeSar Hotel! Let one of the hotel’s wedding specialists help plan your special day. They can orchestrate everything from beachside ceremonies to elaborate affairs for 250 guests and have won numerous “best of” awards throughout the years for wedding services. For more information on weddings click HERE.
– Loews Loves Kids Program: Loews Don CeSar Hotel is the perfect choice for families. With Loews Loves Kids program you will enjoy unique services to keep your children entertained throughout your vacation. For more information click HERE.
– Loews Loves Pets Program: Loews Don CeSar Hotel is the most pet friendly St. Petersburg hotel around. All pets receive their own gifts including a pet tag, bowl and special treats to start their vacation. You can enjoy everything from gourmet room service menus for cats and dogs, prepared by their award-winning Master Chef to Pet-walking and pet-sitting services. For more information click HERE.
- THE LOCATION – The St. Pete Beach area is home to over 244 miles of shoreline along Tampa Bay, Boca Ciega Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and intra coastal waterways. You will find some of the world’s top ranked beaches including St. Pete Beach, Madeira Beach, Clearwater Beach, Pass-A-Grille, Treasure Island and Fort DeSoto Park. Gulf Boulevard is line with shops, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. Water enthusiasts will never run out of options when it comes to water sports. You can charter boats, go fishing, surfing, rent a jet ski, paddle board, kayak and more! The average temperature is 73.7 degrees with an average of 361 days of sunshine per year…ahhhhhh!
- GHOSTS? Okay, so some of you might not find this as a TOP reason to stay at Loews Don CeSar Hotel….and that is fine. However, it is said that the Don’s legendary pink palace is haunted by the footsteps of Thomas J. Rowe, former owner and builder, and his lost love, Lucinda. Thomas Rowe died in 1940 but it is said he never left the hotel. Employees and guests for years have reported seeing Rowe’s ghost. It is said he still likes to “oversee” the daily operations of the hotel. Many guests reported seeing a man approach and greet them as they entered the hotel to register only to have the smiling man vanish before their eyes. Unfortunately Jennifer and I didn’t experience anything during our stay, but I am still hopeful for an encounter during my next visit! 😉
So there you have it! My TOP 10 reasons why Loews Don CeSar Hotel should be on the top of your list when visiting the region!
Gay & Lesbian Factor: The St. Petersburg / Clearwater area is known to be one of Florida’s most LGBT welcoming destinations. You can find out more information on the LGBT “scene” by clicking HERE and visiting http://www.gaystpete.com. Also, Loews Hotels in general are known to be very gay & lesbian friendly and are one of my personal favorite hotel chains. They are always eager to work with Gay Travel Information and I have never run into any problems. Jeff Abbaticchio, director of public relations for Loews Don CeSar Hotel took great care of Jennifer and myself and was a delight to work with. Gay Travel Information is happy to “OUT” Loews Don CeSar Hotel as LGBT friendly and worthy of our business.
My stay at Loews Don CeSar went by WAY too quickly. Luckily I soaked up every minute of the two nights I was there.
I arrived smiling and I (reluctantly) left smiling.
I can hardly wait to return! 🙂
Owner / Editor-In-Chief