In the early 1920s, a dapper fellow named Thomas Rowe stood on the empty beach in St. Petersburg. He was entranced with the waves gentling lapping onto shore and the terns prancing along the surf. Rowe believed that northerners fighting icy roads and blizzards would be equally affected by the scenery and warm breezes. His vision of a pink castle promised a PR buzz that would make the rich and well to do flock here like birds flying south for the winter. Rowe was right then and he’s right today. It’s still a popular refuge that’s referred to as “the pink hotel.” The Mediterranean architecture of red tile roofing, balconies and arched openings, the structure still stands out among the jumble of buildings along St. Pete Beach. As if that wasn’t enough of a European flare, Rowe named it the Don CeSar after the hero of the opera Maritana. Hence too the main restaurant’s name, Maritana Grille, which displays multiple saltwater fish tanks. The property has been renovated many times and is in need of it again—the saltwater environment is not kind to manmade stuff—but if you seek history, high-end comforts and of course a beach experience, choosing “the pink hotel” is still a buzz.