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Discover The Magic Of St. Pete Beach With The Don Cesar Staycation

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

As much as we love traveling to far-flung destinations, sometimes a staycation in your own city can be just as rewarding.

Especially when you have a historic beachfront gem like the Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach just a short drive away.

As a Tampa native, I’ve always heard about the legendary “Pink Palace,” but it wasn’t until I stayed there for a quick getaway that I really understood its charm.

In this blog post, I’m going to share my staycation experience at the Don CeSar, including what to expect, things to do, and insider tips.

Discovering the Location of St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach is a popular tourist destination located on the western coast of Florida, in the Tampa Bay area.

It is situated on a barrier island just west of St. Petersburg and is connected to the mainland by the Corey Causeway.

The area is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, clear blue waters, and year-round warm weather.

St. Pete Beach offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, including swimming, boating, fishing, and parasailing, as well as cultural attractions, such as museums, art galleries, and live music venues.

Additionally, there are plenty of dining and shopping options to choose from in the area.

Don CeSar: A Beachfront Escape on St. Pete Beach

The Don CeSar is situated on the southern end of the beach and is a historic landmark that has been welcoming guests since 1928. The area surrounding the hotel is a mix of hotels, restaurants, and shops, with many outdoor recreational activities available, such as fishing, boating, and golfing.

Here are some fun facts about the Don CeSar Hotel:

  1. It was originally built as a playground for the rich and famous, with its pink exterior inspired by the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki.

  2. During World War II, the hotel was used as a military hospital and the building still has remnants of its past as a hospital.

  3. In the 1970s, the hotel fell into disrepair and was nearly demolished, but it was saved by a group of local residents who formed a non-profit organization to restore the historic building.

  4. The Don CeSar has been featured in many movies, TV shows, and books, including “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and “American Horror Story: Hotel.”

  5. It has hosted many famous guests over the years, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Al Capone, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

  6. The hotel has been nicknamed the “Pink Palace” due to its distinct pink color, and it has become an iconic symbol of St. Pete Beach.

Rooms & Amenities

The hotel offers a range of luxurious room options for guests to choose from, including the Deluxe Guest Rooms, Junior Suites, One-Bedroom Suites, and the exclusive Penthouse Suites.

The Deluxe Guest Rooms feature plush bedding, flat-screen TVs, and marble bathrooms with separate showers and tubs. The Junior Suites offer more spacious accommodations, with a separate living area, and a private balcony or terrace with views of the Gulf of Mexico or the courtyard.

For guests seeking even more space and comfort, the One-Bedroom Suites offer a separate bedroom and living area, with the option of choosing a suite with a full kitchen, and expansive views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Finally, for the ultimate luxury experience, the Don CeSar’s Penthouse Suites offer the most spacious accommodations, with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a large living area, a fully equipped kitchen, and unparalleled views of the Gulf of Mexico.

No matter which room guests choose, they can enjoy amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour room service, in-room safes, and access to the hotel’s fitness center and rooftop lounge.

Discovering the Best Things to Do and See Around Don CeSar Hotel and St. Pete Beach

Here are some activities and things to do around the Don CeSar Hotel and St. Pete Beach:

  1. Enjoy the beach: St. Pete Beach has miles of pristine beaches, and the Don Cesar Hotel is located right on the beachfront. Take a walk on the soft sand, soak up the sun, and take a dip in the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

  2. Visit the local parks: There are several parks in the area, including the Fort De Soto Park and the Upham Beach Park. These parks offer a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking, and fishing.

  3. Take a dolphin watching tour: Take a boat tour to watch dolphins swimming and jumping in the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. Go on a sunset cruise: There are several sunset cruises that depart from the St. Pete Beach area. These cruises offer stunning views of the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.

  5. Explore the local museums: The Salvador Dali Museum and the Chihuly Collection are located in nearby St. Petersburg and are worth a visit.

  6. Play a round of golf: There are several golf courses in the area, including the Isla del Sol Yacht and Country Club, which offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.

  7. Visit the local restaurants and bars: There are many great restaurants and bars in the St. Pete Beach area, ranging from casual beachside cafes to fine dining establishments.

  8. Take a bike ride: Rent a bike and explore the area on two wheels. The Pinellas Trail is a popular bike trail that runs through the area and offers scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico.

  9. Try water sports: There are plenty of opportunities for water sports in the area, including paddleboarding, parasailing, and jet skiing.

  10. Relax at the spa: The Don Cesar Hotel offers a full-service spa where you can indulge in a variety of relaxing treatments, including massages, facials, and body treatments.

Dining Around Don CeSar Hotel and St. Pete Beach

St. Pete Beach is home to a variety of dining options, ranging from casual beachfront bars to upscale restaurants. Here are a few options to consider during your stay at the Don Cesar:

  1. Maritana Grille – This restaurant offers upscale seafood and steak dishes with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients.

  2. The Rowe Bar – Located inside the Don Cesar, this bar serves up craft cocktails and light bites in a laid-back setting.

  3. Snappers Sea Grill – This seafood restaurant is known for its fresh, locally sourced ingredients and stunning waterfront views.

  4. The Brass Monkey – This lively beachfront bar offers classic pub fare, live music, and a great selection of craft beers.

  5. Level 11 Rooftop Lounge – Situated on the 11th floor of the Grand Plaza Hotel, this rooftop bar offers panoramic views of St. Pete Beach and a sophisticated menu of small plates and cocktails.

  6. Shells Seafood Restaurant – This family-friendly seafood spot serves up classics like fish and chips, shrimp scampi, and crab cakes.

  7. RumFish Grill – This casual, tropical-themed eatery serves up seafood and Caribbean-inspired dishes, along with an impressive 33,500-gallon fish tank.

  8. Woody’s Waterfront – Located on Blind Pass, this laid-back seafood joint offers outdoor seating and fresh, locally caught fish.

Final Thoughts on My Staycation at the Don CeSar Hotel

As a Tampa native, I have always known about the Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete Beach, but staying there for a weekend staycation was an experience I will never forget. From the beautiful beachfront location to the luxurious amenities and fantastic dining options, the Don Cesar truly has it all.

Whether you’re a local looking for a quick getaway or a traveler looking for a unique Florida experience, the Don Cesar is definitely worth a visit. Can’t wait to go back and enjoy more of what this iconic hotel and the surrounding area has to offer.

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