ST. PETE BEACH — The Don CeSar Hotel on St. Pete Beach was recently named on a list of the "Best Historic Hotels" by USA Today.
The 277-room "Pink Palace," which has been an icon on St. Pete Beach for decades, was built in 1928. The hotel was recognized by USA Today for its history and restoration. It ranked No. 7 on USA Today's Top 10 list. The No. 1 historic hotel was the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Mich.
USA Today employed a panel of experts to pick the initial 20 nominees. The top 10 winners were then determined by a popular vote, according to a press release.
In 2015, the Don Cesar was named the "Best Historic Hotel" in its size category by the Historic Hotels of America organization. Historic Hotels of America, which was founded in 1989, is an official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It recognizes more than 260 historic hotels in the U.S., Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Host Hotels & Resorts purchased the Don Cesar for $202.6 million earlier this year. Prudential Insurance had been the majority owner of the historic 277-room hotel on St. Pete Beach for more than 12 years, and Loews Hotels managed the property and owned a 20 percent stake.
The hotel is now managed by Davidson Hotels & Resorts.
"The Don" has taken many forms over the years. In the 1940s it served as a hospital for the U.S. Army throughout the duration of World War II. Not long after, the building was turned into a regional office for the Veteran's Administration.
USA Today ranks a variety of tourist destinations every year. Clearwater Beach was named the No. 2 best beach in Florida last year and in 2013 it was deemed the No. 1 best beach town by USA Today.
Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.