The Don CeSar Is The Best Historic Hotel In Florida

The Don CeSar

Robbie Caponetto

Like a magnificent flamingo-hued sandcastle, The Don CeSar has risen from the shores of St. Petersburg since 1928. Also known as the “Pink Palace” or the “Pink Lady,” the Mediterranean-inspired hotel is known for its sweeping Gulf views, opulent lobby, private white sand beaches, and its rich history. Famous guests reportedly range from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Babe Ruth to Britney Spears.

Not all of its history was glamorous, though. From 1942 to the late 1960s, the property served as a sub-base hospital for the Army, then as a convalescent center for airmen returning from World War II, and finally a VA Hospital. In 1971, a group of citizens saved the deteriorating building from demolition, and after a costly renovation, it reopened as a hotel in 1973 and once again attracted a steady stream of guests looking for a luxurious beach getaway. The following year, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Over the years, the Don CeSar has undergone upgrades and renovations to keep up with the times.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the very foundation of the building. When the Don CeSar was first constructed, architect Henry H. DuPont and contractor Carlton Beard engineered a floating concrete pad and pyramid footing to create a stable foundation for the hotel on the shifting sands. Amazingly, the same foundation is still supporting the building today.

Its latest major redesign, In 2021, updated its 277 rooms, the Lobby Bar, in-house restaurant, Maritana, and added a new pool bar with a rooftop deck, among other upgrades. The hotel celebrates a milestone anniversary—95 years—in 2023, and it shows no signs of wear other than what has been intentionally, and meticulously, preserved. The Don CeSar’s Jazz Age beauty remains, and now with all the comforts of the present day. , 727-360-1881, 3400 Gulf Blvd, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

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