The Haunted Don Cesar Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida

Updated on March 1, 2017
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Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.

The Don Cesar Hotel though beautiful can be a frightening place when the sun goes down.
The Don Cesar Hotel though beautiful can be a frightening place when the sun goes down. | Source

Is St. Pete's Don Cesar Haunted?

The marvelously glamorous and well-known Don Cesar Hotel sits overlooking the gulf on St. Petersburg, Florida's lovely white beach. It has been a pinnacle of class and wealth since it was first established in the year of 1928. With Mediterranean style architecture and a pink coat of paint, the Don Cesar Hotel is an intriguing place with a very captivating history that includes visits from almost every President since Franklin D. Roosevelt's time in office. Other famous folks such as Al Capone and jazz music's F. Scott Fitzgerald have dined and stayed inside the Don's Moorish-decorated walls. If you visit the hotel, you can almost catch a glimpse of the women in drop-waist dresses and pin-curled hair in the roaring can almost hear the jazz music undulating through the Don Cesar's rich air.

My husband and I have attended a food and wine festival at the Don Cesar, held right outside of the Don's doors on the beach. In addition to enjoying the rich and extravagant atmosphere that the Don Cesar possesses, the Pink Castle seemed to be calling out to me. It wanted to be wanted its secrets to be discovered and told to others. As beautiful and grand as this hotel is, would you believe that it is indeed haunted? Romance and tragedy hold hands in this spooky tale.

Ghosts of the Don Cesar

Thomas Rowe was the founder of the Don Cesar Hotel or the "Pink Castle", as he liked to call it. The building of this hotel was Thomas's dream since he was a young man, studying in Europe and meeting secretly with Lucinda, his lover, by a fountain's side. When Rowe built the hotel in 1928, he included a fountain in the hotel's courtyard that was reminiscent of the fountain that shared so many lovely meetings with his lover. Unfortunately, the two would never marry, as Lucinda's parents supposedly did not approve of Rowe and Lucinda died shortly thereafter. Many people believe that Rowe hoped Lucinda had not passed and would eventually meet with him at that very fountain adorning the courtyard of the Don Cesar.

There have been quite a few sightings at the Don Cesar of the secret lovers—Thomas and Lucinda. Employees of the hotel claim to have seen a man in a white linen suit and a panama hat walking with what seems to be his lover, a beautiful woman with dark hair. This couple walks through the hallways of the hotel and will suddenly vanish...right before people's eyes. This ghostly figure dressed in linen with a panama hat is said to also wander throughout the Don Cesar Hotel's fifth floor (on the same floor as Thomas Rowe's room) and on the beach. Employees and locals believe this ghost to be the ghost of Thomas Rowe. And if you ask them, they will answer with one hundred percent certainty!

In addition to the tragically, romantic spirits of Thomas Rowe and Lucinda, there are other spirits that are said to roam the Pink Castle's halls. In digging further into the Don Cesar's past, we find that the Don was not just a hotel in years passed, but it has also served as a World War II Hospital and convalescent center. Maybe the ghosts at the Don include World War II soldiers who have not found their way home? Or maybe they feel at home in the Don Cesar...

If you choose to have a romantic night at the Don Cesar, just make sure you don't run around the corners too may bump right into old Thomas Rowe...or maybe into the ghost of a wounded soldier!

© 2011 Nicole Canfield


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  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

    jordanj - Wow. So, it truly is haunted then! Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Maybe Thomas Rowe and his lover were prancing about.

  • profile image

    jordanj 5 years ago

    i was just there today and all kinds of scary stuff was happening like the staff elevator would open n close by its self and the damn ballrooms door would slightly open n close. and when i was in the stairway i felt compacked together & while standing out side of the staff elevator i felt a very cool breeze.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    AngeLife - Sounds like the staff was awesome! But whether you had a paranormal event occur or not...the hotel is said to be haunted.

    gryphin - No way! Awesome! Too bad you didn't see Thomas Rowe...I bet that would have been a sight. :)

  • gryphin423 profile image

    gryphin423 6 years ago from Florida

    Oh my goodness kitty! I had my reception at the arts center next door and we spent our honeymoon at the Don. Unfortunately we did not run in to Thomas Rowe and his lady love ;-( Great hub!

  • AngeLife profile image

    AngeLife 6 years ago from Almost Heaven

    I stayed at this hotel in the early 90s, and the only scary thing that happened was some drunk lit a cigarette in an elevator, setting off a fire alarm at 2 AM. My husband and I had to vacate our room with our 2-year old twins and 8-year old. The management KNEW the cause of the alarm going off, the staff informed us as of that fact as we went down the stairs, they just wanted to be 'certain' everyone was safe. Thoughtful, I suppose, and memorable, but we never stayed there again.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    Eiddwen - Thanks so much and I'm glad you found me, too! You are a wonderful writer and I'm looking forward to reading more of your hubs in the very near future. I need to see more pictures of those beautiful walks near your home! :)

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

    Brilliant hub and one which I am bookmarking as well as voting up.

    I am glad that I came across you ojn here.

    Take care


  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    Hi, PegCole17! That's awesome! Please do. Isn't it a lovely place?

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    WoooooOOooooo. I love this story and will forward it to a friend with whom I shared a birthday lunch at the hotel recently (couple of years ago maybe). What a beautiful hotel! Cool.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    Susie J - it is a VERY nice hotel! Sometimes the nicest places have their dark secrets, too. :)

  • profile image

    susie j 6 years ago

    Wow. This looks like a nice hotel. Hard to believe there were these sightings.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    They do give haunted tours! I think the residual energy does have a LOT to do with it...especially in older hotels. Thanks for commenting! :)

  • Seeker7 profile image

    Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

    Fascinating hub!! This would be a great place for a ghost hunt. I love these old haunted hotels due to the variety of uses they have went through - as you say in your article it was also a hospital for WWII soldiers. These places tend to retain, perhaps not all spirits, but certainly a lot of residual energy. Loved this.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    Tebo - I'm glad you enjoyed reading this. Ghost sightings are always intriguing! :)

  • tebo profile image

    tebo 6 years ago from New Zealand

    The building is very beautiful, and I enjoyed reading about the sightings of ghosts/spirits. Always interesting.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    Hey, CyclingFitness! Good to hear from you again! It is very beautiful...and somehow haunting at the same time!

  • CyclingFitness profile image

    Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

    Great hub, It doesn't look scary although sounds it by your account.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    AP - you're sort of resembles The Shining's hotel, doesn't it? It seems to be a perfect place for soldiers and star-crossed lovers!

    Minnetonka Twin - anytime! Hopefully I can find more romantic ghost stories for the future! Gotta love a good paranormal romance! :)

    shanaya - Thanks so much for your votes and wonderful comment! The hotel is so beautiful and with a haunted's just too fun! Thank you again!

  • shanaya profile image

    shanaya 6 years ago from Living in my Own Dreams:)

    Dear Friend Kitty! I would Love to visit this Haunted Hotel. Thanks for sharing. I like Scary Places.


    With LOVE


  • Minnetonka Twin profile image

    Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

    I love haunted stories like this. It's soo romantic and intriguing. Thanks for a fun read tonite:)

  • Alastar Packer profile image

    Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

    When i first saw the pic it reminded me of that hotel in 'The Shining'. if those are true spirits a pair of secret lovers and a WW2 hospital fit the bill for these type occurrences. Definitively a place worth checking into as you've described it kitty.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    Hi, Apostle Jack! I agree with you! I am skeptical of many ghost stories but that's not to say I don't believe in spirits. Thanks for commenting.

    JS Matthew - It's a bit expensive (around $200 a night) but well worth the trip. The beach is gorgeous, the hotel is phenomenal and with the's even that more intriguing! Thanks for commenting.

  • J.S.Matthew profile image

    JS Matthew 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    Very cool! I would love to visit this place. Thanks for sharing!


  • Apostle Jack profile image

    Apostle Jack 6 years ago from Atlanta Ga

    Spirits are real,I know that for a fact.

  • kittythedreamer profile image

    Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

    Hey, dahoglund! I agree...much of the stories I write about always follow with a bit of skepticism/realism from me...however, I just can't bring myself to stop reading and writing about them! :)

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    Although I am a skeptic there is something interesting about ghost stories.

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