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“Great family vacation”
Review of The Don CeSar

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The Don CeSar
Ranked #6 of 32 Hotels in St. Pete Beach
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed August 10, 2008

I don't understand the bad reviews about this hotel. I recently went with my family--including my 11 year old nephew--and we had a terrific time. We arrived early (well before check in) and we all got our rooms immediately. My sister, husband and son stayed in one room that was quite large. My boyfriend and I had a smaller room, but it was lovely.

Our rooms were clean, airy and bright. The service was terrific. We called with a problem (our coffee maker didn't work) and we had another within 15 minutes.

The beach was gorgeous. And there was service at every turn. We had a hotel employee put in our umbrella for us (in the sand); when we sat around the pool we had waitstaff bring us drinks. My spa massage was no more expensive than one I'd get back home in NYC and the spa itself was lovely.

My only complaint is they should keep little kids out of the hottub, but this is partially the fault of the parents.

For us, staying in a resort is all about the total experience, not just about the size of a bathroom (if we just wanted a big room we couldn't stayed at the chain hotel down the road).

We didn't want to leave, and plan to return.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with family
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Thank Traveller300072
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,515 - 3,521 of 3,893 reviews

Reviewed August 6, 2008

Just spent eighteen days in the Pink Palace, excellent.
The hotel is immaculately clean, the staffs were more than helpful.
Hotel staff were also well informed of the hotels history.
The rooms were a little smaller than expected, though not a problem.
We had breakfast & midday meals most days at the hotel, in the evening we ate out except for one night in the Maritana Grill.
The Maritana Grill was excellent though portions could have been bigger. Not pricey by European standards.
Only wish I had eaten there more now.
Though we did find one excellent local restaurant & ate in there every second night ‘the mad fish’.
Both the food & service are excellent in this restaurant, the large lobster tail is highly recommended.
The ladies at the concierge desk were very helpful especially with directions to local attractions.
The beach was again was excellent its location means that the beach either side of the hotel was normally empty except at week ends & then utilised by only a few families.
During our stay a lot of kelp/sea weed had been washed up on the beach which appeared to be no ones responsibility to remove.
Another excellent service the hotel provides is for wedding & vow renewal.
I surprised my wife by getting ours renewed during our visit.
With the hotels location, structure & history it makes this an excellent back drop for photographs.
The hotel also recommended an excellent local photographer Bill Vargas.
Only a few minor problems were found at the hotel:-
1. The only down side of the room was what now appears to be the ‘norm’ in hotels of this standard, the grossly overpriced bottled water & mini bar.
This was also evident by the number of hotel guests shopping at the local supermarkets for water & soft drinks.
2. The beach area is overall well maintained by the staff, though early morning on the beach cigarette buts & used drinks containers are evident & littered everywhere.
3. At weekends hotel staff had problems with none residents utilising the hotel facilities.
Most none residents bringing there own food & occupying the limited number of tables & occupying beach chairs around the pool.
A situation impossible for the beach staff to monitor.
4. The hidden charge of $22 should be in the hotel rate & not an addition.
Though in twenty six years of travelling for a living & vacation this is the first hotel car park I have had to pay for.
I had read about this on viewtrip prior to travelling to the hotel.
5. My wife utilised the spa which she found excellent, the only fault was with management staff continually attempting to sell additional services.
Would we return, I am already checking out the availability for next year?

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JoesLincolnEngland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2008

Where to start!!This hotel is the biggest rip-off its not even funny. When you first walk in, its nice. They do a great job on first impressions. They really hook you, especially on their website where they show you pics of the rooms from angles that make the rooms look huge. Our room was called the "Grand King"!! So when we walked into our "Grand King" room, it turned out to be the size of a walk in closet. Here I am thinking we are getting this great room with lots of space, but all we got was something a honda civic could barely fit in. The bed took up the whole room not to mention we didnt even have a chair in the room.
When taking a shower, we had a slow drain which means as your taking a shower the water slowly builds up and before you know it, your standing in 4 inches of water. We stayed only 2 nights and didnt even bother to call maintenance. I came on vacation here so I can get away from having to call maintenance. What a joke. The bathroom looked 15 years outdated and the rugs in the whole hotel are outdated.
They said they would deliver a paper to my room in the morning so I said I would take the wall street journal. Low and behold I received the USA today everyday. Then I thought I could relax in the hot tub with my significant other, only to have 20 kids playing in the thing 24 hours a day splashing and screaming. They should have a kids hot tub and an adult hot tub. Its a joke at this price that they have one small hot tub. Tried to get a drink at the bar during the day with hardly anyone there, and the bartender barely acknowledged me or anyone. Everyone was also talking about how all the drinks hardly contained any alcohol and they were all getting pissed off. Also, the whole layout of the hotel stinks. From the beginning, you have to park across the street and lug your stuff up some hill. Go the wrong way and your saddled with having to lug your luggage up a suprise staircase because the street is chained off. Getting from your room to the beach you basically have to walk through a formal dining room. I was in my bathing suit and I found myself walking past a guy playing piano in a suit and girls in dresses drinking martinis. It was so weird. Then the one decent place in the hotel, the ice cream shop, its wedged in the basement in the middle of nowhere. The whole place just doesn't make sense.
I dont want to sound totally negative but at the price we paid and the room we got, I really dont want to see other people waste their money. The whole area around the hotel sucked anyway. There was nothing around and nothing to really do. I wanted to just relax on the beach but all it did was rain on and off constantly. The beach was full of seeweed and it looked like the whole shore was full of some foamy chemical. It was ridiculous. If you read great reviews beware. Its just workers who are told to write good reviews from their personal computers. Dont waste your time. Dont even go to this area. Totally nothing to do and crappy food.

Stayed: May 2008
3  Thank vacationman444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2008

Where to start.
We booked into the Don on a blazing hot saturday afternoon at 5.00 to be told our room was not ready...< traveling with 2 children < 1 who was 18 months old at date of travel >
We wre told very inpolitely to wait by the pool.
Having arrived at the pool we were met by the Tampa Wine association annual weekend....Had we known this was taking place we would never have booked.
A massive tent on the beach full of rowdy loud mouthed people whooping and high fiving. The tent completely blocked the ea view and made the beaxh unusable for the kids. All seating and facilities at the pool were taken over by dunken non residents overspilling from the tent. This went on till Monday.
We were finally checked in at 7.00, no one came to tell us we had to ask 5 times.
THE ROOM. So small it beggars belief...We had 2 adults + 2 kids, it was so smal that we were unable to pack, the bathroom so small you had to sit on the toilet sideways.!

I asked a reception if an upgrade to a bigger room was available, how rude!!!!!I was told that was poosible for an extra $700, when I told them that this room was not suitable for a family then I was told this was my fault...I shopuld have done research. I left before the compulsion to kick her in the face passed. I then asked for the manager, i was told he would contact me, to be fair this he did 3 weeks after i returned home by Email.
We had to leave the hotel for 2 days solid due to non residents from festival making noise.
The hotel pool area is good, the hotel communal areas are beautiful, the food and drink prices are very good.
The service by the pool and in terrace bar and restaurant are fantastic.
The kids loved the hotel we did eventually start to relax, the overwhelming issue is the rooms and the attitude of hotel staff, it took us several days to get the bad taste out of our mouths.

Quiet simply the rooms are jus about big enough for 2 adults....do not contemplate taking kids, you will go stir crazy in such a confined space.

Overall there are better choices out there

  • Stayed: June 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank mingmong101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2008

I am sure that in the 1920's this hotel was the most luxurious around, but by todays standards it falls short. While the Don CeSar is a beautiful piece of architecture to look at and it has a storied past, the prices that are charged to stay here are better spent elsewhere.

The rooms are small and the bathrooms are especially tiny. The furnishings in the room are kind of a mish-mash and the chair was well worn and somewhat rickety. The pipes would creak through the walls and alot of outside noise could be heard from inside the room.

Another unpleasant suprise is the $ 26 per day " resort fee"
which includes complimentary self parking, internet, and 24 hour shoe shine service. You never know when you might need you shoes shined at 3:00 am.

I aplogize for the negative tone of this posting, but we were genuinely disappointed with the Don CeSar and would encourage anyone thinking of staying here to read the reviews and consider carefully before paying a significant amount of money for their vacation.

  • Stayed: July 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank kirkbull
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2008

It's about time someone tell the rest of the public just how INCOMPETENT this hotel is.

We just returned from my sister's EXTRAVAGANT wedding at the Don Cesar.

Even before we arrived, it was one screw up after another with this hotel's staff....from reservations (every agent quoted our 65+ people party a different rate...was told to "go ahead..book online" when I told reservations I could get a cheaper rate than their so-called "wedding rate" online...was then told to "go down the street and stay" when I questioned why the 2 night minimum stay when I only needed a room for one....AND NOW..I get billed for a room at the Beach Suites I cancelled...this was the icing on the cake!!!!

The staff was rude, made it seem like (and even told you) that THEY were going out of their way for you...like when valet brought around our keyless ignition rental car and forgot to give us our key forcing us to have to call when we returned to our car after church and realized we couldn't start it...the valet man berated us and let us know just how many tips he was losing by having to bring us our key...imagine that from a so-called 4 star hotel...could you see someone doing that at a Ritz Carlton?

I have traveled alot allover and have never encountered a staff like this. My sister, the bride, never did get a few of her wedding items from the wedding co-ordinator...it's been three weeks and the buck has been passed from one department to another with no one taking the blame and the items she paid for never returned!

In my opinion...save your money and stay elsewhere...the $300 a night for a room on top of all of the Don Cesar's "extra charges" like a resort fee to use their facilities you're already paying $300 a night and having to pay to park...outlandish!!!!

If this is the treatment the bride and groom and their families get after spending thousands of dollars at a wedding at the Don Cesar....I am so very disappointed!

  • Stayed: June 2008
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4  Thank Judy K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2008

Fantastic location right on St Pete Beach, beautiful sunsets.
Unfortunately that was all that was good about it.
Small pokey rooms not very clean, could hardly see out of the windows they were so dirty. very pricey (even for parking).
Staff were very friendly.
Hotel looks wonderful from the beach but that's as good as it gets.
Overall very dissapointing.

  • Stayed: November 2007, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank BriBriUK
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:
Location: United States > Florida > St. Pete Beach
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 St. Pete Beach
#2 Spa Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#3 Green Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#5 On the Beach Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#5 Family Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#8 Romantic Hotel in St. Pete Beach
Price Range: $258 - $555 (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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