The Don CeSar on St. Pete Beach is Haunted by Romance!
Where and what is the Don CeSar? It is a historic hotel on St. Pete Beach in Florida. The Don is also known as the Famous Pink Palace, or “the Wedding Cake”. I can attest to the beauty and elegance of the National Historic Landmark Hotel because I stayed there frequently when my daughter was at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. It is a beautiful hotel, filled with history and haunted by romance.
The Romantic History of the Don CeSar
Real estate progeny Thomas Rowe opened the Don CeSar on St. Pete Beach in 1928, during the roaring ’20s. It was built as a tribute to his “lost love”, an opera singer he met in London at the opera Maritana. Rowe’s luxurious resort quickly became popular with some of the most famous – and notorious – figures of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby. But let’s talk ghosts!
Thomas and Lucinda fell deeply in love and met clandestinely at a remote fountain in London where they thought they wouldn’t be seen. They called one another after the lovers in the opera, Maritana and Don Cesar. Sadly, their love did not have a happy ending. For some reason, Lucinda’s parents did not approve of the match and took Lucinda back to Spain. Thomas was heartbroken. He tried for many years to reach her, but his letters always came back unopened. One day he received a note addressed to “My beloved Don Cesar” which included a news clipping about her death.
The lobby, courtyard, and fountain at the Don CeSar is an exact replica of the one where the lovers met in London. Thomas must have been a true romantic to devote his hotel to Lucinda…there is even a Maritana Grille to this day! Thomas died of a heart attack (a broken heart?) in the lobby of his hotel in 1940. Since that time, there have been sightings of a gentleman in a Panama hat and white suit strolling the grounds of the Don. When approached, he vanishes!
In addition, strange things happen at the hotel, especially on the fifth floor where Thomas lived. Staff report the sound of knocking and swinging doors. Sightings of a young man in a white suit and a young woman in Spanish dress are still reportedly seen. Thomas and Lucinda, perhaps, strolling together to the fountain where they found love? One can only hope so, that in the next world, the two lovers are reunited.
Stay at the Don CeSar and see if it is haunted. Do let me know if you see the spirits of the lovers!
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