Have you ever gone to St. Pete beach
and wondered what that giant pink building is on St. Pete beach? The “Pink Palace” as the creator, Thomas Rowe, would call it is the historically famous Don CeSar. The Don CeSar has quite an interesting past, starting with it’s creation. In 1924, Rowe bought 80 acres of land for $100,000 to build his deam of a “pink castle”. The hotel sits on floating concrete pads and has pyramid footings to ensure that it does not shift or sink with the sand. The cost of the hotel, 220 rooms and baths, reached $1.25 million, which was 300% over budget. Rowe did not care, he paid the price and named it the Don CeSar
, after Don CeSar de Bazan, the hero of the opera Maritana, which is what the Maritana restaurant, located inside the hotel, is named after.
Rowe opened its doors on January 16, 1982. The Don CeSar has been in operation for 90 years! It quickly rose as a favorite for the rich and famous of the Jazz Age. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Clarence Darrow, Al Capone, Lou Gehrig, and Franklin D. Roosevelt have all stayed at the Don CeSar. As the Great Depression began, the Don CeSar continued to strive, housing the New York Yankees for their spring training for three years. Rowe’s sudden death in 1940 left the hotel to his estranged wife who let it fall into disrepair.
As the US entered into WWII, the Army bought the hotel and transformed it into a military hospital and it later became a US Air Force convalescent center. In 1945 it was then made into a Veterans Administration Regional Office until 1967 when they began to relocate. It sat, empty, until it was bought in 1972 by C.L. Platt and William Bowman Jr., a Holiday Inn franchise owner. The hotel was reopened and ready for business by the end of 1973. Renovations to the hotel spanned from 1985-2001, with the addition of a 4,000 square foot spa, The Maritana Grille, and a second outdoor swimming pool. The name changed to The Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa. It now houses 277 rooms and 3 restaurants!
It has been named to the National Register of Historic Places, was featured in National Geographic, and has had 5 movies filmed in the hotel. Many know about the haunted ghost tours that are offered as the Don CeSar is said to be haunted by its creator, Thomas Rowe, and the most haunted rooms as 318 and 264. Ron White has also talked about the experiences he has had in the hotel during his Blue Comedy Tour: One for the Road movie.
Are you looking to stay at The Don CeSar? It is one of the most unique hotel experiences that you could encounter. Contact us for any of your transportation needs!
Everything you need to enjoy your vacation to St. Pete!