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“Good for weekend getaway”
Review of The Don CeSar

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The Don CeSar
Ranked #8 of 32 Hotels in St. Pete Beach
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
New York, NY
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Good for weekend getaway”
Reviewed March 8, 2007

We just returned from a long weekend at the Don and the hotel definitely exceeded my expectations. The hotel has somewhat of an old Hollywood feel to it. We arrived early in the morning but were immediately given our room. The room itself was pretty small but comfortable nonetheless. We had been chatting with the gentleman who brought up our luggage about the yankee's spring training and not five minutes after he left our room, he called with the weekend's schedule! The staff at this hotel is what makes it more than it is. Every person you encounter is absolutely wonderful and ready to help.

The beach there is gorgeous, with soft sand and gentle waves -perfect for long walks. The food at the main restaurant, The Maritana Grill, is excellent and the lobby bar is a great place to end the night. But be prepared - it is a wedding factory so it can get crowded. We never had any problems getting chairs at the pool or beach though. The weekend we were there, it was mostly wedding guests and families with young children.

Aside from the hotel, we also ate at Snappers - a recommendation from the concierge. Food was pretty good, must be a local favorite because it was very crowded. Another tip, if you fly into Tampa let the hotel arrange a car to pick you up and bring you back - it's actually cheaper than taking a cab. Overall, the Don is a good place to relax on the beach for a long weekend. Anything over 3 or 4 days though and I think you'd be a little bored.

  • Liked — The beach
  • Disliked — Not much to do in the surrounding area
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank 1Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
23 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed March 5, 2007

Just came back from the Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training weekend in Dunedin, Florida (March 2-5). We stayed for 3 nights at the Don Cesar. This was our second visit to the hotel. It looks like a pink castle on the outside and has been beautifully restored on the inside. We stayed in a bayside deluxe suite (slightly larger than the oceanside suites). It had a master bedroom with a king bed as well as a seperate makeup area and seperate ensuite. The living room had a pull out double bed and a wet bar with a large counter top. We had a bar fridge delivered upon our arrival and stocked it with juice, pop, etc. We asked for a roll away bed and received it right away. The service was excellent throughout the hotel. We ate at the Sea Porch Cafe for dinner upon our arrival and it was great. The food was yummy and well priced. We lounged at the pool and found it to be very clean and the poolside service was readily available for lunch and drinks. The concierge was very helpful with suggesting other dining options around the area. We ate at Cafe Luna and enjoyed our meal very much (on Gulf Blvd. 5 min drive from hotel). Overall, we enjoyed out stay and would not hesitate to return or recommend this hotel to friends and family. It was well worth the price and the location is perfect.

  • Liked — Room layout, cleanliness of room, closeness to beach
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank RHimelfarb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
29 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 201 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2007

If you're thinking of planning a trip to Florida, and thinking of St. Pete's beach and the Don CeSar, then you're in for a slice of paradise.

First, the beach. St. Pete's Beach is wonderful. It's easy to get to from Tampa, maybe 25 minutes drive from Tampa airport, and driving in this area of Florida is very easy. I was there in high season and it was a piece of cake. The roads are in awesome condition, I don't think I saw a spec of litter anywhere, and everyone was real friendly from the Alamo car rental people to the other tourists to every restaurant waiter/waitress my wife and I encountered.

We traveled a fair bit north exploring the gulf side in our rental car, from Saint Pete's beach right up to Indian Rocks and then over to Ft. Lauderdale on the Atlantic side but I thought St. Pete's beach was the best. Sunsets were spectacular, the beach was white and the temperature (in Feb) was just perfect - a little cool at times, but it never got too hot. If I had to go back to Florida, well...St. Pete's Beach it is!

Okay, on to the Don. My wife and I had no plans of staying there, but another hotel lost our reservation and we got sent over there. During our stay, we stayed in both the Don CeSar Beach house down the street and the regular hotel so I can tell you a bit about both.

The BEACH HOUSE name is a bit misleading, it's actually a condo style or apartment like building. Comes fully equipped with washer/dryer and a kitchen (microwave, coffeemaker, fridge, stove, dishwasher). All the views there face the beach...and they all have spacious balconys, very nice. I highly recommend the BEACH HOUSE for families. They have a little general store which stocks water, milk, juice, detergent...and I was stunned when I went down there to get some things and realized that they don't charge a fortune for drinks or amenities.

I do, however, think the BEACH HOUSE could use some new furniture, it's pretty scuffed up, and the bed was no Westin Heavenly sleep (the bedroom is very cramped too)....however, the room and balcony was super clean, not a spec of
dust or dirt anywhere. I would definitely stay here again. Parking is included in the $10.00 per person resort fee, along with full use of the pool, hot tub, access to the Internet Cafe so you can get high speed internet (although you must have your own laptop)....I did not see a workout room at the Beach House.

There are no restaurants at the Beach House, except for a poolside bar (which may serve snacks but I never used it). However, there is a "ON DEMAND" shuttle 24 hours a day that will deliver you to the Don CeSar and back again. I never waited more than 5 or 6 minutes for it. Cool.

Now, if you're staying at the Beach House, rest assured you don't have to take the shuttle at all to get to or from the main hotel. I walked back most of the time, which is maybe a 10 minute walk along a glorious strip of beach. You also have full signing priviledges at the main Don Hotel, and they have a lot of restaurants there, from casual to fine dining.

On to the Don Cesar. Well, it was pretty full the night we stayed there (with two weddings going on) but you wouldn't know it. Also, the bellhops, conceirge, front desk and wait staff were all excellent and very, very helpful. The room, although small, was well thought out and extremely comfortable (the bed was much better than the Beach House). There is a business centre but unlike the Beach House, you have to pay by the minute here for web usage...however, on the upside, they do have 2 computers in case you don't have a laptop.

Lastly, there are two swimming pools and a hot tub. There's also a indoor hot tub, steam room and sauna. There is a poolside bar that offers drinks and food as well. The Don CeSar, like the Don CeSar Beach House, is right on the beach. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

We ate breakfast there two mornings and it was wonderful. Service was excellent. The danishes were to die for, made by their in-house pastry chef, from puff pastry, not the usual bun-style pastry. The hostess remembered us from the previous day, even though she must see a hundred people each day.

The Spa. They're building a new one (opening next November) but my hot stone therapy massage was amazing. So was the service in the spa.

However, we can't give this place 5 stars and that was because of housekeeping. Every request...turn down, extra towels, shoe shine was responded to with a "no problem, we'll handle it"...and then nothing. And the three times I tried the "service one" line, nobody answered. We finally did get our extra towels and shoe shine, but not without repeated calls and waits.

Having said that, my wife and I would stay there again. The Don is an amazing hotel, it's not clumped in with other hotels, and it has a great spot on the beach. Whether it's the Don CeSar or the Don CeSar beach house, you can't really go wrong. Have a good vacation!.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Housekeeping needs to respond to requests
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank somebody_else
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 4, 2007

It was a nightmare! The front desk personnel were condescending and rude. We were there for a wedding being held in the hotel, which is usually full of good memories with family and friends, this is not true of this weekend. Due to a family situation, we had to change our reservation from two nights to one. We were told that to get the wedding rate we had to stay two nights. Okay, then we were going to use our AAA rate. Then we were told, very rudely, that if we did that the bride's family would be charged the difference. How could we possibly do that?!?!?! I can't begin to describe how we were treated by the people at the desk. We caved and then we were given a room that you could hardly turn around in. We were made to feel awful. Sometimes employees should be reminded of the basic concepts and skills that are important in the hospitality profession. There are several other fine resorts on St. Pete Beach, I would encourage my friends to use them.

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
8 Thank bagg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
91 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2007

This is the 2nd time I stayed at the Don Cesar. The first time, two years ago, it was a fantastic experience. This time was very different. My husband booked this getaway for me and requested a quiet room. He also confirmed a few days before that the room would be quiet. Upon checking in the front desk confirmed that they had a quiet room for me. Turns out their idea of a quiet room was something right near the elevator which "bings" every ten seconds - even when the elevator was not stopping on my floor.They did move me. In pursuit of some relaxation I next went to the pool. As I exited the hotel I was met with cranes and LOUD drilling noise. I was then informed that the hotel was doing some renovations and this work would go on my entire stay. It felt like I was in a construction zone. I have had the experience of trying to book a hotel and being informed that there would be renovations going on over the phone BEFORE I booked. The staff at the hotel were very nice and tried hard but that didn't make up for the negative experiences. The hotel charges a $20/day fee for such things as a morning newspaper, use of the fitness club and gratuities for the chambermaids. In most hotels this is included in the price of the room. Finally, on two separate occasions, I was using a lounge chair and got up to use the bathroom and left towels, a drink and a magazine on the chair to indicate that I would return, only to come back to have my drink thrown out and the towels removed. This happened when I was gone less than 15 minutes. The property is pretty, the beach is beautiful but the hotel needs to improve their service and policies.

  • Liked — The beach
  • Disliked — The service and noise
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank EastCoastMomNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lombard, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 18, 2007

My husband and I just returned from the Don CeSar. We had a wonderful time. The entire staff was very accomodating and nice. Some of them even remembered our names and greeted us when we were around the hotel. The beach was fantastic. Great sand and very comfortable chairs. The pools were very nice. The food we had was fantastic. I highly recommend the bone-in rib eye at Sunsets. This was also a very nice and casual restaurant where you can enjoy the sunset. The room was very nice but small. It was fine for the two of us, but I would need two rooms if I brought my two teenagers. I would definately recommend this to anyone. We will definately be back.

Tina
Lombard, Illinois

  • Liked — Beach location
  • Disliked — Maid Service
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank TinaLombard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2007

At the last minute, I booked a wkend getaway. The room price was fair compared to other Fla. resorts that I've stayed in (PGA Nat'l and The Breakers in W. Palm Beach). I wanted to try a different Fla. coast and no doubt, the beach on the gulf side is much nicer. Nicer sand and calm water. The food prices were outrageous for overly salty, sub-par food. The salon prices were similarly overly priced. Get whatever you like to have done before you get here! Except the massages, **tremendous**. The spa is slated for a much needed major renovation by the end of 2007. The end of the trip ended on a very sour note. On the phone, I was told that late checkout as a Loews rewards member was 3:00. However, they would not allow me to stay in my room past 1:00. My flight was 7. The "shower facilities" for late checkout people were horrible. I've taken better showers while I was camping. Dirty towels all over the floor, no hot water, no shampoo, broken hairdryer. I went for a wkend of pampering and I went home feeling dingy and gross. It seemed once I checked out, they weren't all that interested in making my stay pleasurable. They were done with me once I settled up the bill.
There's no exclusivity to the property. Anyone can walk off the beach and have access to the facilities - bathrooms, showers, bar, beach chairs and umbrellas, you name it. You don't have to be a guest to enjoy their grounds. Next time, I would stay nearby and just visit the Don Cesar.

  • Liked — on the beach
  • Disliked — The food
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled solo
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank liv4dabeach
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

Property: The Don CeSar
Address: 3400 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706-4015
Location: United States > Florida > St. 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 St. Pete Beach
#3 Spa Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#3 Green Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#6 Family Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#6 On the Beach Hotel in St. Pete Beach
#8 Romantic Hotel in St. Pete Beach
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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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