Built in the 1920s, The Don CeSar Beach Resort & Spa in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla., has a lot going for it--a fabulous seaside location; a friendly, helpful staff; and a magnificent, historic property that looks like a pink sand castle.
When I was there 10 years ago, the pink palace had fallen on hard times. I'm happy to report that a massive, $14 million renovation has restored it to its former glory.
The architecture is a blend of Mediterranean and Moorish themes. The interiors emulate European elegance with rich carpeting, crystal chandeliers, and French fountains--but all with a Florida flair. There are 275 guest rooms with views of the Gulf of Mexico or Boca Ciega Bay.
In the 1920s and '30s, such notable guests as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Attorney Clarence Darrow, and FDR vacationed at The Don. In recent times, President George Bush, Henry Kissinger, and numerous movie stars have stayed there.
Meeting facilities include 40,000 square feet of space, from lavish ballrooms to seaside terraces. The Grand Ballroom is multileveled with a pull-out stage. The King Charles Ballroom has spectacular Gulf views. There are five conference rooms and six executive board rooms. A business center offers faxing, shipping, word processing, cellular phones, pagers, and computer workstations.