Improving ADA-Compatible Access to Florida’s Premier Historic Hotel

March 27, 2024

Since its opening in 1928, the Don CeSar hotel, in St. Pete Beach, Florida, has been welcoming travelers for nearly a century. While the property boasts a glamorous history, after over 90 years of service, it was time for a full-scale renovation that would prepare the hotel for another hundred years.

During the renovation, Parker-Torres Design, the architecture firm that led the project, was faced with a need to preserve the visual appeal of the hotel, prevent unnecessary demolition to the building, and provide reliable ADA-compliant, second-story access to a new poolside bar. 

“Creating a new accessible and usable space for all within a building that was built in 1928 is a challenge in itself, said Heather Gray, Senior Designer at Parker-Torres. “We used [an Ascension] lift next to the new lit staircase. 

The Ascension Clarity wheelchair lift used in the Don CeSar is designed to provide second-story access while maintaining a low profile. The lift features a small footprint and glass enclosure, as well as quiet operation. 

Additionally, Parker-Torres Design chose a custom color so the lift would match the finish of the hotel bar and blend into the atmosphere. “The sleek design allows for a visually pleasing look that provides ADA compatibility so that all guests have access,” said Joseph Zimmerman, Don CeSar’s Director of Engineering.

Moreover, the Ascension Clarity sits flush on the ground without needing a ramp or added demolition and construction of a lift pit. This feature allows for lower installation costs and maintains the integrity of historic buildings.


The Clarity was also perfectly suited to withstand the constant exposure it would have to the humidity and salt sea spray common to its Florida locale. Ascension’s outdoor use package includes a zinc-rich primer on exposed steel for added corrosion protection and an additional foam seal on the platform to prevent any moisture intrusion.

Florida’s historic Pink Palace has reopened to delight and amaze its patrons anew with modern amenities and world-class experiences. The new wheelchair lift enables guests of all abilities to enjoy the stunning Gulf of Mexico sunsets from the rooftop of the Don CeSar hotel for the next 93 years. 

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