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All reviews don cesar maritana grille historic hotel pink palace sea porch restaurant sea perch spa oceana lobby bar pool staff self park resort fee rooms are small paddle boarding jet ski an umbrella beach service pete beach
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Reviewed 21 May 2018

Three nights here was a great respite from daily living. Our seventh floor corner room was perfect with amazing views in two directions. Everything was up to date. Bed was supreme. The hotel grounds, including the beach, are kept immaculate. Shop are fine. Service from check-in to departure are spot on. If Joe DiMaggio truly honeymooned here with Marilyn Monroe, it is good enough for us. Fabulous. Pool or beach…both great! Outdoor breakfast at Rowe was super. Ten Thumbs up1 We used valet parking and left car in storage all four days.

  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Tommy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-TheDonCeSar, General Manager at The Don CeSar, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2018

Thanks for retreating to the Don CeSar, just like all those fabulous celebrities did so many years ago. It is our pleasure to have you, and we hope we can work together to secure your return again soon. Please let us know how we can assist. We greatly appreciate your feedback.

The Don CeSar Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2018

When I booked our trip to St. Pete in May, The Don CeSar seemed to meet all of our requirements. Resort-like feel, pool on site, separate living area and bedroom for putting our baby to bed early. As our trip approached, the hotel loomed larger than life, and as it is celebrating it's 90th Anniversary this year, the timing seemed perfect!

Ultimately we had a fantastic vacation and stay here. And while it may not have fully lived up to my expectations, based on everything I heard those were probably insurmountably high.

What follows are my observations from that trip... one which will live in infamy and hopefully be memorable for our small children.

If trying to make the decision between valet and self-park with young children, may I recommend valet? The savings ($5 a day at $25 vs $20 for daily self-park) shouldn't really make a difference if you're paying to stay here to begin with. Of course, this is speaking from the experience of NOT doing daily valet - just the day we arrived. But carrying a car seat and guiding a toddler up and down stairs multiple times a day got a little old...

While the hotel boasts "6 restaurants and lounges" on site, for those of you who may be thinking of the concept of multiple restaurants at an all-inclusive... stop right there. Most of the "restaurants" (except The Maritana Grille) include the same menu. Room service, poolside, The Sea Porch Cafe... all the same food. Also included in the 'restaurants and lounges' count is Uncle Andy's Ice Cream Parlor. A fun concept, and one we visited often... but still an ice cream parlor, not a restaurant. (Also may be the only place to get a Starbucks in the hotel). The Rowe Bar is really just an extension of the Sea Porch Cafe, The Beachcomber Bar & Grill is poolside service (not a separate space either), and the Lobby Bar is what you'd expect (a bar in the lobby). Technically these are separate spaces, but not separate restaurants. In this spirit, room service could be added to total 7 "restaurants and lounges" for the hotel. So this was a disappointment. But there are PLENTY of other delicious [and lower cost] restaurants to explore in St Pete and surrounding areas, if you have a means to get there.

The room met my expectations, though not how I originally planned to use it. With the restroom off the bedroom, it became obvious that we couldn't put our baby to bed, and then access the restroom with a toddler quietly for the remainder of the evening. That's just personal logistics, though and no fault of the hotel.

I was surprised - though I'm not sure why - at some of the historic elements that I resented. The lack of towel bars (where do I put my hand towels?), the minimal places to hang things like bags, clothes, and swimsuits, or places to put shoes on returning, the tiny bar sink, the smallest refrigerator (mini-bar) possible, etc. Funny how you get used to some of these minor touches in newer hotels.

One day I was able to sneak away for a couple hours to enjoy a steam and pedicure at the onsite Spa Oceana. It would have been wonderful to make a day of it... lunch on the rooftop deck in a robe, alternating between eucalyptus steams so dense I was afraid of getting lost, and a variety of relaxing and professional spa treatments. Put that on your 'to do' list.

Also dining at the Maritana Grill was something we didn't get to do... with young children it just didn't really fit in to our agenda.

Note that the hotel concierge will arrange a random local babysitter for you, with references and all, but I promised my mother we wouldn't leave our kids with 'a stranger' during this trip. She'll have to come watch them while I have fine dining dinners and spa days during the next visit, I suppose.

"Free" WIFI is included in the daily resort fee. But we weren't able to get our Chromecast to work in the room since the network required a separate secure sign-in. Not a big deal, but worth noting.

Charging everything right to your room is very convenient... just be prepared for the check-out invoice. After a week's stay, ours was 4 pages (8.5x11). Phew! Feedback for office management, maybe the multiple days of recurring resort fees, taxes, etc, could be lumped to a single line item with a multiplier to make review easier for guests?

Our toddler got a huge kick out of the high-fives he got from the doormen every time we left and returned. Crib provided in the room on request was adequate. We also requested a step-stool for our toddler, which was provided by housekeeping.

Really, staff were more than accommodating to all of our requests. Service was exceptional in all areas of the hotel, except poolside. I loved the classy 'raise the flag if you need anything' idea, but two days we had our flags up so long without service (while servers paid attention to other areas of the pool) that we just gave up. It also took me several days to realize I could ask the towel staff to help 'set up the chairs' for us (i.e. lay out multiple towels). This was a lifesaver to me while I was single-handedly wrangling a toddler and baby, and wish I'd realized it sooner.

We didn't get to enjoy the beach rental loungers like I wanted, but I'm sure it would have been worth the cost. Husband did spend a morning with the complimentary non-motorized watersports - a stand-up paddleboard in his case. Note that's limited to 30 minutes only.

My favorite things about The Don were the pool and the beach. Location is perfect, and next time I'll also splurge on a ocean-view room (our 'bayside' room on the second floor didn't really do anything for me in terms of views and we got a fair amount of street-noise that I didn't care for... so much that eventually I checked to see if the windows were somehow cracked open).

The pools were exceptionally clean, the outdoor games were fun and engaging (not to mention free sand toys meticulously set out each morning for the little ones). The beachfront goes on for a quarter mile and is just so picturesque. Sunsets were AMAZING. It quickly became our routine to not miss a sunset.

The location, the history, the prestige, of "The Don" can't be beat. And I'm so glad we chose this hotel for our first experience to St. Pete. But for an extended stay next time, we might look into other options. And, maybe we'll return the The Don CeSar for their 100-year anniversary!

Room Tip: Splurge for ocean view, lower floors on Bayside are noisy from outdoors.
  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank sbethOmaha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-TheDonCeSar, General Manager at The Don CeSar, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2018

Thanks so much for making the Don CeSar the location for creating cherished memories and legacy experiences with your family. It means so much to us that we can play a role in those moments. We greatly value your feedback and hope you will work with us to further understand your overall needs and exceed your expectations again on your next visit. If considering a longer stay, you may also look into our Beach House Suites just down the beach. They offer a bit more elbow room, while still providing access to all the great Don amenities. Please join us again soon, and thanks so much for your detailed feedback.

The Don CeSar Team

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Reviewed 19 May 2018 via mobile

We thoroughly enjoyed a 3 night stay at the Don CeSar at the start of our beach week vacation. We were traveling with a 2 year old and a 10 month old; our room had a separate sitting area and a huge bathroom which made for plenty of space for the kids to play and also get cleaned up after playing in the pool and on the beach. The team at the hotel was super accomodating, quickly providing anything we needed. It would have been nice to have a small refrigerator and microwave in the room - we did ask for a microwave which was promptly provided.

Stayed: May 2018, travelled with family
1  Thank Sue H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-TheDonCeSar, General Manager at The Don CeSar, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2018

Thanks so much for creating family memories with your two little ones. So special! Hopefully Uncle Andy's ice cream parlor was a hit! Please join us again soon, and also consider our Beach House Suites which offer a kitchenette in the suites. Thanks again for your feedback.

The Don CeSar Team

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Reviewed 16 May 2018 via mobile

The staff, the beach, the resort were all fantastic and we got a great deal off a discount website! The showers have great water pressure and even the hotel shampoo and soap was very nice. The staff always greeted us with smiles and we thoroughly enjoyed our experience! Try the iguana smash if you like great refreshing adult beverages

Stayed: May 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Shawn R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-TheDonCeSar, General Manager at The Don CeSar, responded to this reviewResponded 17 May 2018

The Iguana Smash at Rowe Bar and Beachcomber, what a wonderful suggestion! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience with others and we appreciate you selecting the Don CeSar for your time in St Pete. Please come back and join us again soon.

The Don CeSar Team

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Reviewed 15 May 2018

my sister and i spent four great days at the Don during mother's day weekend. Poolside and beach is great. Hotel is nice. We rented the suite for about 100 dollars more which was very spacious. Although we enjoyed it I would not stay again. The hotel feels a little run down. The carpet, outside paint needs care/upgrades. The food poolside is delish and drinks are good but of course expensive. $13 for drinks. I would love if they had complimentry coffee in the lobby or somewhere. Fresh flowers would be nice also. IDK i guess i had higher expectations thinking it would be closer to the Ritz. There are one cuppers in the room but not good coffee. The biggest disappointment was the chair beach rentals. $250 for a two/three chaise chair. Third party owned. Yoga on beac was nice.

Room Tip: suites are spacious
  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank sonandfun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GM-TheDonCeSar, General Manager at The Don CeSar, responded to this reviewResponded 17 May 2018

Thank you for creating memories with your sister at the Don CeSar. We are so glad to hear that your overall stay was enjoyable and that you were able to cherish time with family. The team at the Don is always looking for ways to improve the guest experience, and appreciates all your feedback. We have completed many wonderful upgrades in the last 12 months, and continue to have many guest experience enhancements underway. We truly hope you might give us the opportunity to exceed your expectations by returning to the Don once again. Please let us know how we can assist.

The Don CeSar Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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