Loews Don CeSar Hotel

St. Pete Beach, FL

History of Loews Don CeSar Hotel

From high society’s playground to starring on the silver screen to gulf coast icon, Loews Don CeSar boasts a long and storied history. Distinguished celebrities such as Clarence Darrow and F. Scott Fitzgerald once frolicked here. We’ve served in the Great War—and served guests just like you for decades. With sugar-fine beaches, blazing sunsets, a world-class spa, and two heated pools, it seems you really can have it all. More than a history lesson, The Don is a study in epic style.

1928 

Thomas Rowe opens the iconic Don CeSar right on the Gulf in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The “Pink Palace” became the pampered playground for high society—the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Clarence Darrow. 

1940 

Thomas Rowe dies and his estranged wife, Mary, inherits the hotel.

1942 

The U.S. Army purchased the hotel to be used as a sub-base hospital, then a convalescent center for airmen returning from their WWII tour.

1945 

The hotel became the VA Regional Office and recreation center.

1971 

A small group of citizens formed a “Save the Don” committee and began to search every avenue to establish a reputable group of investors to refurbish the Don.

1972 

William Bowman became the new owner and began the $3.5 million-restoration project.

1973 

The Don CeSar reopened as a hotel.

1974 

The Don CeSar added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1982 

Robert Di Niro, James Woods and Tuesday Weld star in Once Upon a Time in America featuring scenes on the beach and the majestic Don CeSar in the background.

1985 

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers film MTV video special at the Don CeSar.

1989 

Don CeSar is founding member of National Trust of Historic Hotels of America.

1993 

Filmed TV drama Thunder In Paradise featuring Hulk Hogan.

1999 

Filmed Forever Mine featuring Ray Liotta, Gretchen Mol and Ralph Fiennes.

2003 

Don CeSar becomes a Loews Hotel.

2008 

Loews Don CeSar celebrates its 80th Anniversary on January 16th. In March of that same year, Spa Oceana opens to rave reviews.

2009 

Million-Dollar Meeting space renovations completed and John Marks named Loews Hotels’ General Manager of the year.

2010 

Maritana Grille is renovated.

2011 

Lobby, Lobby Bar and Sea Porch Restaurant undergo renovation.

2012

Multi-million guestroom renovations completed as part of the next phase of the “New” Legendary Pink Palace.

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