The Hotel Don Cesar or ‘Pink Palace’ as it’s more commonly known, has been a staple on the shoreline of St. Pete Beach since its completion in 1928. The hotel is not only known for its decadence, but it’s also well known for its ghostly goings-on too.

Don CeSar Hotel Ghosts

There have been many occurrences throughout the years, with both staff and guests reporting apparitions, eerie noises, and odd sensations. Some of the activity that’s experienced is put down to the time when the building was used as a VA hospital during the 1940s, and it’s the restless spirits of these patients that can sometimes be felt. Maybe, but by far the most famous ghost that walks the Don CeSar is the original owner, Thomas Rowe.

During Rowe’s time as a student in London in the 1890’s, he would frequent the opera regularly. One night he went to see his favorite play, Maritana, starring a beautiful woman by the name of Lucinda. As soon as Thomas laid eyes on Lucinda he immediately fell in love, and shortly after they started to meet each other on a regular basis. Upon hearing of their growing relationship, Lucinda’s parents quickly escorted her back to Spain as they didn’t approve of Thomas as he was a different religion to theirs. They were never to meet again.

They both promised they would write, but Thomas’s letters were always returned to him unopened. It is believed Lucinda died due to a broken heart, but Thomas did receive one letter from her before she passed which read “Time is infinite. I wait for you by our fountain … to share our timeless love, our destiny is time.”

Thomas, now in America, vowed to never love another. It was after this he set out to build the Don CeSar, and he had an exact replica of the fountain where he and Lucinda used to meet all those years ago built.

The first time people started to take notice of the hauntings was in 1973. Staff and guests have reported seeing a gentleman in a white suit, walking along the beach before vanishing in front of their eyes. His description matches that of Thomas, who used to always wear his signature white suit. Other guests have reported being welcomed by a smiling man on their entrance to the hotel, only he vanishes upon questioning him.

Thomas’s ghost has also been seen on the 5th floor, in the lobby, and in the garden, often wearing a Panama hat, and on occasion holding the hand of beautiful raven-haired woman, believed to be the ghost of Lucinda.


The Don CeSar Hotel in St Pete Beach’s only 4 Diamond beachfront hotel. It offers complete indulgence to its guests. Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico are 277 guest rooms and suites – some of them include private terraces.

The Don CeSar offers an array of amenities for guests including 2 luxury beachfront pools (with whirlpool), 16 salon treatment rooms, salon, a rooftop lounge with spectacular views, Maritana Grille, Sea Porch Restaurant, Uncle Andy’s Ice Cream Parlour, Lobby Bar, and beachfront Sunsets Tequila Bar.


  • 277 Luxury Guest Rooms and Suites, some include private terraces overlooking the Gulf.
  • Historic Hotel of America Surrounded by 7 miles of sandy white beaches
  • 2 beachfront pools
  • Full-service Spa
  • Award-Winning Seafood Restaurant (top 10 in the US)
  • Beachfront restaurant offering the very best in Floribbean cuisine (newly renovated)
  • 2 bars (1 in the lobby and 1 on the beachfront)
  • 24 Hour Fitness Center
  • 24 Hour Room Service
  • Kids programs
  • Children’s camp
  • Pet-Friendly
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Things to Do

To be in keeping with the paranormal aspect of the hotel, you can attend one of the ghost tours in the area. The Don CeSar is usually the last stop! If you want a break from the spookiness, the hotel is ideally located for you to take advantage of all that St. Pete Beach and Tampa Bay have to offer.

This includes the historic and quaint fishing village, John’s Pass where you can enjoy looking around the unique shops or enjoy one of the many restaurants. You can also enjoy a variety of water activities such as boat rentals, dolphin watching, shelling tours, jet skiing, and more.

Open 365 days a year, you’re also within reach of St. Petersburg Pier. Then a little further afield (although still close) you have Egmont Key State Park, Fort DeSoto Park, Pinellas Trail, Sunken Gardens, Busch Gardens, and a little further afield than that you have all the major theme parks such as Universal and Disney. There’s a lot going on around St. Pete’s, not to mention all the shops, restaurants, and nightlife available within walking distance of the hotel.

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