Today’s post is all about one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed at…. The Don Cesar in St. Pete, Florida! “The Don” as it’s commonly referred to, is known as the crown jewel of Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Since 1928, this gorgeous, luxurious, all while still being approachable hotel, has welcomed sun-seekers, luxury travelers and some of America’s most famous – and notorious – figures. In 1989, The Don joined the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America as a founding member and was designated the only historic resort on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The entire property has been recently remodeled. We actually were there during some renovations – that were less than ideal while we were at the pool (read: SO LOUD). But, this was a year ago….and I bet they are about done with nearly all of their renovations (advice: call to check before you book).
We were honestly just so pleased with the GORGEOUS pool and so happy to be on vacation after Covid…. that nothing could really get us down…. but transparently, it was quite annoying and loud at times.
Back to what they’ve renovated – all 241 guest rooms and 36 suites. They have an all-new Beacon Pool Bar & Lookout perched above their two heated outdoor pools.
Yes, they have two pools! One is for adults and one is kid-friendly! We obviously only swam in the kid-friendly pool but it was huge and absolutely stunning with views of the beach and the pink hotel.
The first night, we got into our hotel pretty late. But we arrived oh-so-hungry! Thankfully, The Rowe Bar is open late. We sat outside by the fire. The girls LOVED this experience and so did I. It was so nice to relax after a few hours of travel. The Rowe Bar is a gulf front bar with a large deck. It was a relaxed but elevated experience.
The next morning, we ate breakfast outside at The Rowe Bar and then went straight to the pool! Late morning, we hopped in our rental and traveled 20 minutes to downtown St. Pete to the new St. Pete Pier. They have an AWESOME playground there for kids. There are also numerous restaurants on the pier.
While on the St. Pete Pier, we ate at Doc Ford’s, which I highly recommend. After lunch, we ventured back to the hotel and picked up a little sweet treat from Uncle Andy’s Market in the basement. They have ice cream, snacks, coffee, and other little treats!
We also explored the lil’ shops they have in the basement and checked out the workout room (although we weren’t able to use it while we were there). The girls had a little quiet time and then we went down to the pool again! Again, the girls LOVED the pool and so did we! It’s beautiful!
That evening, there was an absolute downpour so we decided to stay at the hotel for dinner. We were thrilled to find The Don hosted a wonderful singer in the lobby, who happened to be taking requests…. and many of them were Disney songs! She sang Frozen songs and my girls were in seventh Heaven! They danced and sang and it was honestly a night I won’t forget.
Afterwards, we ventured downstairs to The Rowe Bar (yes, again – haha, we loved this place) after the rain stopped for a bit. We sat outside, ordered some pizzas, and talked about how thankful we were we decided to stay in this night! We ended up having a blast at the hotel!
The last morning we were there, we knew we were on a limited time frame because we were heading to Anna Maria after we checked out of The Don. Since we didn’t leave the night before, we decided to travel a mile south of the hotel to Pass-a-Grille, a sweet lil’ seaside village with an old Florida vibe. Since it was nice, we tried walking and about halfway there, we realized a mile was a lot longer with two little kids! Ha!
We eventually made it to Pass-a-Grille… and ate right on the beach at Paradise Grille. This spot is very casual and laid back. Perfect for kids! Initially, the seagulls kept trying to steal our food but we quickly established that we were in charge and they didn’t bother us again.
On the way back to The Don, Nic worked some magic and got a FreeBee Shuttle ride to pick us up! How did we not know about this St. Pete Beach service earlier?!!! It was awesome! Truly a FREE RIDE!
FreeBee is a door-to-door, on-demand transportation service, brought to you by St. Pete Beach. Of course we tipped our sweet driver, who arrived within 3 minutes of him loading the app and reserving her ride.
I highly recommend downloading the app and using FreeBee while you’re in St. Pete. She took us back and let’s just say the mile was significantly shorter on the way back to the hotel. 🙂
Then, we checked out! The girls still lovingly refer to “The Pink Hotel” often. We had a fantastic trip and I can’t recommend The Don Cesar enough! It’s perfect for a girls’ trip, couples’ trip, family trip, you name it. You can take a virtual tour of The Don HERE! It’s so cool! You can view The Don’s website HERE.