On a current December go to to the Don Cesar Lodge and Resort, our group met with Resort Host and Licensed Concierge, Ronald MacDougall. As concierge, Mr. MacDougall assures that every visitor has the best expertise throughout their keep on the Don Cesar. In his place as concierge, he has assisted most of the VIPs which have visited the historic pink lodge on the Gulf of Mexico in St. Petersburg, Florida. These company have included Mariah Carry, Carole King, Mick Jagger and Jimmy Buffet, in addition to most of the visiting Presidents.
Our personal tour started in the principle bar and lounge, which presently of the 12 months is superbly embellished for the vacation season. The majestic darkish wooden bar, couches and enormous leather-based chairs make this the proper place to take a seat again, calm down and picture your self in one other period, the early glory days of the Pink Palace.
The story of the Don Cesar Lodge or Pink Woman, as Thomas Rowe favored to name the lodge, begins initially as all good tales do. It was a imaginative and prescient of Thomas J. Rowe to create a monument to a misplaced love.
This a part of the story begins in London the place rumor would have it that the younger Thomas Rowe, whereas attending a college, attended the opera “Maritana” the place he turned infatuated with the feminine lead, Lucinda, an attractive Spanish opera singer.They met every night time after her efficiency beside a fountain in London.
Plans have been made to elope. On the night time that they have been to go away, Lucinda didn’t present and Rowe was left ready by the fountain. Her dad and mom have been made conscious of the pending marriage and compelled Lucinda to return house to Spain. Lucinda was reported to have died at a younger age, however despatched this letter to Thomas containing this passage. “Time is infinite, I look ahead to you by the fountain to share our timeless love,…our future is time. ” Nicely, if it did not occur that manner, it ought to have.
Returning to the US, Thomas Rowe constructed industrial buildings in New York. He later moved to Norfolk, Virginia, there he met Mary Lucille, the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Thomas married Mary and commenced the lifetime of a socialite.
On the age of 47 together with his well being declining, Thomas Rowe elected to relocate to a extra hospitable local weather. Leaving his spouse in Virginia, he selected Florida and particularly St Petersburg, Florida, which was experiencing an actual property increase. Arriving with $21,000.00, Rowe started buying property.
Actual Property improvement was scorching within the early 1920’s and Thomas Rowe partnered with one other former Norfolk socialite and land developer, a Mr. Web page. He and Web page fashioned the Boca Ciega Land Firm for the acquisition of land.
Mr. Web page developed the land on the north facet of Johns Go and the household nonetheless lives in Madeira Seashore.
Rowe amassed a small fortune and whereas visiting an remoted stretch of undeveloped seashore within the space often called Go-A-Grille. Go-A-Grille was named for the 18 century “grilleurs” who dried fish on the white seashores. This was a really distant and rugged panorama. Entry from the mainland was by a wood bridge. On these white sands beside the light waves of the Gulf of Mexico, Thomas Rowe envisioned his dream resort. Towards the recommendation of many in his circle, Thomas Rowe bought 80 acres on these shores. Quickly a residential subdivision was constructed and every road was named for a personality from the opera Maritana.
In 1926 development started on his dream resort. Rowe employed architect Henry DuPont to design the venture. One impediment that needed to be overcome was the large construction can be sitting on sand. A floating basis was devised and its success is mirrored in the truth that the inspiration has not shifted up to now 82 years.
One other impediment was transporting development materials. The bridge as earlier talked about was older and manned by an older bridge keeper who was not at all times dependable, opening the bridge when he was within the temper. Building materials was positioned on a barge and dropped at the location bypassing the bridge.
A railroad strike that 12 months drove up prices of development and after ending the outside and inside of the resort, Thomas Rowe ran out of cash to furnish the lodge. A backer was wanted to avoid wasting the enterprise. H.P. Churchill would offer the cash, however he had a stipulation. He would identify the supervisor. It was agreed and the Don Cesar had its Grand Opening in 1927, with the among the wealthiest individuals in America attending.
It was lavish and plush within the Grand Foyer. Thomas Rowe had constructed a duplicate of the fountain just like the one the place he,as a pupil, would rendezvous with the attractive Lucinda. The fountain can be the very first thing that company would see after climbing the entry stairway into the foyer and was the center- piece of the resort. Modeled after the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Seashore, the Don Cesar Resort was a imaginative and prescient, standing on the sands of Go-A-Grille. Thomas Rowe favored to name the lodge the Pink Woman.
The primary entrance into the resort was on Gulf Blvd. with two lion statues and an indication stating “Come All Ye Who Search Well being and Relaxation. For Right here They Are Ample.” The unique staircase is hidden, however is positioned the place the Ice Cream Store is now located on the primary ground.
As luck would have it, the timing couldn’t have been worse; the financial system entered what turned often called the Nice Melancholy. Luckily for the lodge, an settlement with the New York Yankees baseball crew was secured for housing the gamers throughout spring coaching which helped the resort keep solvent.
Thomas Rowe moved into one of many two penthouses within the Don Cesar. On a regular basis Rowe would station himself in a chair within the foyer, speaking with guests and workers and taking inventory of the company. Friends who didn’t meet a sure normal of costume or manners and speech have been requested to go away the lodge. It was not an period of political correctness.
Then in 1940, Thomas Rowe collapsed within the foyer. He refused to be taken to the hospital, so he was moved into adjoining rooms 101 and 102. There he stayed till his dying. Rowe tried to get a will witnessed by his attended nurses, however they refused. This reported Will would have left the Pink Woman within the arms of the workers. Because it occurred, Thomas Rowe’s spouse, Mary, gained management of the Don Cesar. The resort fell on laborious instances. Then in 1941 after the assault on Pearl Harbor, a trip on the seashore was not as enticing. Folks turned afraid of assault from the ocean and shortly the company stopped arriving. The U.S. authorities bought the Don Cesar and transformed the resort to be used as a convalescent heart for members of the US Military Air Corp. affected by shell shock and accidents from the warfare.
One casualty of the switch of possession was the fountain in the principle foyer. The supervisor of the transformed constructing was involved that one of many guests would journey over the fountain and ordered it eliminated.
Later the Don Cesar was used for presidency workplaces and was lastly left deserted and fell into disrepair. A motion started to have the resort leveled and eliminated. A counter motion lead by native resident and activist June Hardy Younger started to revive the Don Cesar. The later motion was profitable and a brand new proprietor for the resort was positioned. William Bowman bought the resort and in 1973, the resort was reopened. Throughout the reworking, a duplicate of the unique fountain was positioned on the fifth ground.
Our tour included the penthouses, which have been vacant on the time of our go to, and the Presidential Suite the place each President has stayed since 1940. The penthouses have a spectacular view of St. Petersburg, the gulf seashores and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. In fact when you resolve to remain in a single these penthouses, it should set you again round $3500.00 an evening.
The Don Cesar is an attractive resort with two swimming swimming pools, train room and a brand new spa. Opened only recently, the 11,000 sq ft Spa Oceana is a state-of-the-art spa. Friends can have a therapeutic massage, get within the whirlpool and sauna, after which have a lunch on the roof of the spa constructing overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
For those who go, ask the reservationist if there are any specials. On our go to, we acquired a preseason price and have been very proud of our keep.
The resort is co-owned and operated by the Loews Accommodations chain.