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“Horrible customer service” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Loews Don CeSar Hotel

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Loews Don CeSar Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   3400 Gulf Boulevard, Saint Pete Beach, FL 33706   |  
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Ranked #14 of 31 Hotels in Saint Pete Beach
GreenLeadersSilver level
Charleston, South Carolina
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Horrible customer service”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2014 via mobile

My father and two children stayed here from 3/23-27.
1. We arrived and as my father parked the car ( 10 self park/ day or 25 valet) I proceeded to the front desk to begin checking in. I was de-greeted(greeted would seemingly imply it was nice) by a chunky impolite woman. She informed me I was "unable to begin without the party who booked them room" with not so much as a smile on her face. Here begins the theme of out stay- feeling as if we are inconveniencing the staff.
2. My father arrives to check in. There was a notation on our account that we preferred ocean view. We were told it was booked but they will notify us on checkout tomorrow if we can move to another room.
3. The rooms were very small. If you have more than 2 people book 2 rooms.
4. We decided to grab some food . We went to the bar and grill where we were told to go to the next restaurant to be seated. The sea? Something it was called. 20 min wait... I then went back to the bar and grill where I realized this is in fact a separate restaurant . We decided to stay there as it was bar type foods quick and easy w two hungry kids. A woman came over handed us menus took our drink orders. After delivering our drinks 25, YES, 25 min past. There were 2 people at the bar and only 2 tables of people... 25 min! I was irate! I got up and went to the bar and questioned why are we not being served..and yes inconvenienced they were. "Short staffed" we left our drinks and went to the room to order pizza. A 5 star resort and we had to order a pizza!
5. The weather was not very fl like. Rain .. But the kids loved the pool. I ordered a diet coke and was told they don't serve it via fountain, so it would be a moment. He handed me a fresh HOT can of diet soda. Took my room number and walked away. I literally stood dumbfounded. I called him back over and said "can I please get ice or is that extra" he handed me a 1/4 cup of ice no straw or apology.. Once again inconvenienced.
6. Midday day 2 my father calls to inquire about out ocean view room. Were told " we don't know yet" apparently they don't know what they book daily?? But they assured him they would call him ASAP to let him know. Guess what? Never got a call!
7. Evening day 2- the maid never cleaned our room. We stopped her down the hall and she didn't apologize but told us she can't do it for another hour. Inconvenienced again. She never showed back up. We had to call housekeeping the next morning and get mgmt to assure us our room would be cleaned.
8. Pool bar- it took over 10 min( the bartenders were talking to each other) to get service. When I ordered 2 virgin daiquiris for my kids I was informed "it's the same cost" inconvenienced again. Not even a smile on her face.
9. We talked to the "front end manager" who had no sympathy or regretful ness to him. Basically a "oh well" attitude.
10. On our commute home another manager called. We did get an apology, but no reparations as I would expect when you spend 350 a night at a hotel that boast it's "excellence in customer service".
Now, the good- the old historic charm of this hotel is nostalgic and dreamy. The pool accommodations and views of the beach are amazing. I did partake in a massage at the spa that was awesome. The ice cream shop is a wonderful touch

Cons- the included 18% gratuity leaves me to believe that the staff feels they don't have to earn their tips. Which would make sense as to their attitudes. The customer service is the poorest I have ever received from a resort. The rooms are small. If weather is inclement there is not much to do. I would not recommend unless they put some SERIOUS training on their staff.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LoewsDonCeSar_1928, Manager at Loews Don CeSar Hotel, responded to this review, April 1, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to bring these issues to our attention, and our sincere apologies for the inconveniences you experienced during your recent visit.

We are passionate about providing superb customer service for our guests - it's something we are very proud of. We are following up on your comments and addressing them accordingly. Thank you also for speaking with our managers and offering additional insight into your stay, it helps us better understand where we have room for improvement.

I was pleased to read that your experience in Spa Oceana was awesome, that you were able to enjoy some homemade ice cream in Uncle Andy's and that you appreciated our historic charm, something we are also very proud of.

Thank you again for sharing this with us. We do hope that you'll give us another chance and come visit in the near future.

Best,

Jeff Abbaticchio
Loews Don CeSar Hotel
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1,681 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (391)
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English first
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2014

My wife and I attended a conference at Don Cesar's and stayed a few days extra to enjoy the beach. We were sorely disappointed in the service in the restaurants and by the pool. The hotel had far too few service staff for the number of guests and since it was Spring Break they should have known they would be busy. The hotel and its restaurants are pricey and isolated from other businesses. Unless you have your own car you don't have a lot of dining options. On another note, I was told that the bar served great Pina Coladas. Mine was the worst I'd ever had.

On a positive note, the beach was beautiful, the landscape was well-groomed and the conference staff were excellent. The food at the conference and in the restaurants was very good. Bird watching is great on the beach and in the surrounding area.

Room Tip: Request a gulf-view and expect to pay quite a bit more for it.
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Green Features: They offered food from the area and had their own herb garden. Didn't see any recycling containers.
  • Stayed March 2014, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LoewsDonCeSar_1928, Manager at Loews Don CeSar Hotel, responded to this review, March 31, 2014
Thanks for sharing your comments about your recent visit to Loews Don CeSar Hotel.

I apologize that your service experience did not meet your expectations at the pool, or restaurants, but I'm glad that you enjoyed our conference food. I'm also happy you had time to enjoy our beautiful beach, well-groomed landscaping and made time for some bird watching! Did you spot any Black Skimmers or American Oystercatcher's? We just love them!

Thanks again for your remarks. I hope we can welcome you back in the near future.

Best,

Jeff Abbaticchio
Loews Don CeSar Hotel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iowa
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2014

The Don Cesar is a classic high end hotel located on a beautiful stretch of white sand beach directly on St. Pete's Beach. The property is beautiful and well maintained but offers very few true beachfront rooms. The rooms are nicely appointed but small. It offers two pools as well as beach chairs/umbrellas with excellent food and beverage service. Lots of things to do for the kids and teens. The mix during our spring break stay included both families and couples and everyone seemed to get along.

Good dining options including the Sea Porch Grille (ask for Nicole - a great server!) and a high end restaurant, the Maritana. The food, wine and service at the Maritana was excellent. Don't miss the excellent breakfast buffet at the Sea Porch.

I would have given this property an overall rating of excellent if it wasn't for the multiple billing issues I experienced. When I booked this 7 day stay four months ago, the hotel was supposed to charge my credit card a deposit equal to a one night stay. They billed my card for two nights and it took almost two weeks to get this sorted out. Upon check in, the hotel billed my credit card for the total expected room/tax charges plus $100 per day. At checkout, I found multiple billing errors on my statement, all in favor of the hotel. A high end property should bill its services properly and not leave it up to their guests to find their mistakes.

All things considered, a great spot to enjoy the sunshine and the beach!

Room Tip: Get the highest floor location possible for the best view. If your budget permits, go for the rooms...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LoewsDonCeSar_1928, Manager at Loews Don CeSar Hotel, responded to this review, March 26, 2014
Thanks for sharing about your great experience at Loews Don Cesar here on Tripadvisor!

I'm happy to read that you found our grounds well-maintained, and that there was plenty to do for the entire family over Spring Break! I'm really glad you had the opportunity to experience Maritana Grille, and our other dining outlets. I hope you left room for ice cream from Uncle Andy's. If not, that's a treat in itself and worth a return visit.

I do apologize for the issues you had with your billing and that we were able to get everything worked out to your satisfaction.

Thanks for being our guest and I hope we can welcome you back in the future.

Best,

Jeff Abbaticchio
Loews Don Cesar Hotel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

The room we stayed in was nothing great. The bed was lumpy. The pillows were horrible. Even the extra firm pillows we asked for were in sad shape. The windows - well, it would have been great if they opened more than three inches (max is my guess) to allow an overnight ocean breeze.

Food at the bar was mediocre at best. If you have allergies, good luck with trying to get a firm answer on what is safe for you.

We found out on the last day, AFTER 12 PM that if you stay at the hotel, you can get a kayak or canoe for free for 30 minutes BEFORE 12 PM daily. No one ever told us that. That would have been nice to know.

The guys on the beach working the chair rentals - the hardest working folks in the hotel and they're not even part of the hotel. They are constantly busting their butts setting up chairs, towels, umbrellas, lounges, moving them around - all to accommodate guests. They do a great job of it always with a smile on their faces. They made the lousy food and drink service on the beach (sans Lucy, she was awesome!) worth it. I'm still waiting for salt and pepper to arrive from four days ago for my lunch. The servers don't give a flip about your orders and are apathetic in bringing them to you, sans Lucy. Lucy needs to be a role model for the staff there.

The live music by the pool was great and we could hear that on the beach, too.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LoewsDonCeSar_1928, Manager at Loews Don CeSar Hotel, responded to this review, March 26, 2014
Thanks for the feedback.

I apologize that our bedding was not up to your expectations, and that you we're not completely satisfied with our bar food. We do our best to make our guests sleep well and eat well, and I am disappointed that you did not experience either.

I am happy to read your comments about our beach team. They are certainly a hard-working group of individuals and, yes, they are always smiling! I'm also happy to read your kind comments about Lucy, we'll be sure she is aware of how much you appreciated her service.

Thank you again for your feedback, and being a guest of Loews Don Cesar!

Best,

Jeff Abbaticchio
Loews Don Cesar Hotel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chippenham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

I have not taken the time to review any of my hotel stays for a while. I hope this review can help someone to not make the same mistake.
The building itself, is very impressive. You walk in and the Crystal Chandeliers, marble details, luxury bar and piano music certainly makes a statement. Staff is friendly, we got checked in quickly. Not given much information about the amenities, but partly because as you stay you get to find out by yourself EVERYTHING has an extra charge.
We reserved the "LUXURY KING with Partial View to the Gulf". Once you take the elevator to your room, everything changes. The hallways are outdated and smell like humidity, the carpet is very old and worn out. The walls can use some painting, the decor as well.
The ROOMS!! Nothing luxurious about it, smaller than the standard room at any 2 star hotel - and the bathroom was extremely small, one person at a time for sure!
The "partial view to the gulf" can only be experienced if you have your head out the window (but they do not open). Anything at all you want to do here, WILL BE CHARGED. So basically you paid for the room to sleep in, which is really below any average room I have stayed before.
We did speak to the staff about our disappointment, and we were told is an old historic building, and therefor rooms will be small. But…. what about the "luxury" advertising of this hotel, which is only seen in the lobby and any other area that you would have to pay to see (such as spa/shops, etc)
This was a very rare and special occasion for us, we certainly wasted the money. We left the hotel to walk by the beaches and have dinner somewhere else. Because we booked with a third party (expedia) they told us we could not cancel the booking. Besides another room, that was exactly the same, we were offered nothing more.
If you plan to sleep, by the way, you will have to wait until the rooms next to you and above go to bed. You will hear everyone using their bathroom and every other little noise.
I have stayed in many places around the world, this was by far…. something out of nothing! Clever advertising. Spend your money somewhere else, there are plenty of beautiful places to stay in St. Pete.

Room Tip: Go somewhere else
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LoewsDonCeSar_1928, Manager at Loews Don CeSar Hotel, responded to this review, March 24, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about your recent stay with us here at Loews Don Cesar. I'm sorry that you did not find the experience up to your expectations.

We do appreciate your acknowledging our friendly staff, and remarks on the impressive building and its main public areas. I am sorry that your thoughts on other parts of the hotel were not as welcoming. We have, in fact, recently updated our hallway corridors with new furniture, fresh paint and accent trim. We are continuously refurbishing and updating the hotel, including the carpets and other areas. It's an ongoing and continuous program that we are very proud of and we do it to make our guests' stay more comfortable and relaxing.

There is a lot of history here at Loews Don Cesar and our intentions are to preserve its character while always providing our guests a luxurious and genuinely friendly home away from home.

Thank you again for your feedback.

Best,

Jeff Abbaticchio
Loews Don Cesar Hotel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
91 helpful votes 91 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2014

Great staff, friendly service. Pool area and beach area is impeccable. Very nice touch to have complementary flavoured water available by the pool.They try very hard to please their guests.

Every time we visit St Pete's Beach we drop by the "Pink Hotel" - it's a great landmark to identify a location in relationship to it.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LoewsDonCeSar_1928, Manager at Loews Don CeSar Hotel, responded to this review, March 18, 2014
I'm so happy that your visit to our "landmark" Pink Palace was so enjoyable! It appears from your comments, that everything - from out great staff, to the beach, pool and even our complimentary flavored poolside waters, was memorable!

Thanks for sharing your comments and we hope to welcome you back in the near future!

Best,

Jeff Abbaticchio
Loews Don Cesar Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
43 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2014

While this is clearly an old hotel, I found the rooms and public areas to be in excellent, modern and good working order. The pool and beach areas make the price worth it, if you are able to use them, otherwise the room rates are too high. The pool side bar provides good food and good drinks at a reasonable price for the location, and the attendants around the pool and beach areas were ever present and very accommodating. The only negative was that the neighbor's dog and children started the day before I was ready, and unfortunately I could hear them and their TV shows all too well. The bathrooms are quite small, so women who travel with many toiletries may feel a bit cramped.

Room Tip: Requesting a room without an adjoining door might block some of the neighbor's noise.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LoewsDonCeSar_1928, Manager at Loews Don CeSar Hotel, responded to this review, March 18, 2014
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience at the Loews Don Cesar on Tripadvisor.

We could not agree more that our beach and pool are incredible! As a matter of fact, Tripadvisor just ranked St. Pete Beach as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the U.S.! So, thanks for your feedback!

I'm also glad to hear that you found our rooms excellent and modern. It's not always easy to accomplish in a property that's 86 years old!

Thanks again and we hope to welcome you back soon.

Best,

Jeff Abbaticchio
Loews Don Cesar Hotel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Loews Don CeSar Hotel

Address: 3400 Gulf Boulevard, Saint Pete Beach, FL 33706
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Saint Pete Beach
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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 Saint Pete Beach
#3 Green Hotel in Saint Pete Beach
#9 Family Hotel in Saint Pete Beach
#11 Romantic Hotel in Saint Pete Beach
#13 On the Beach Hotel in Saint Pete Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Loews Don CeSar Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 277
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Known as Florida's "Pink Palace," the Loews Don CeSar Hotel, 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
Loews Don CeSar Hotel Saint Pete Beach, Florida

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