One of the sights that was a MUST for us to tour while on our two week long road trip was see the Legendary Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
One of California’s State Parks, this beautiful castle is set upon a hill top overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In 1919, William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper publisher, decided to build his dream home on the land he loved to play on as a child. He hired Julia Morgan to build him a “Ranch at San Simeon” which took approximately 28 years to build. This beautiful estate contains a vast collection of fine art and antiques that are on display.
When visiting Hearst Castle, there are several tours you can choose from – to see exactly what you want to see. Most are 45 minutes in length, so if you decide to spend the day, you’ll be able to see just about everything.
- The Grand Room Tour
- The Upstairs Suites Tour
- The Cottages & Kitchen Tour
- The Evening Tour (1 hr & 40 min)
We selected the Grand Rooms Tour. During this 45 minute tour, get a little taste of what it was like to be a guest of Mr. Hearst. We begin the tour with a walk through the Assembly Room. The largest room of the estate, the Assembly room housed beautiful tapestries, fabulous intricate wood work on the walls and a mix of antiques and modern furniture.
Next, we see the dining room where famous guests like Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo and Cary Grant among others dined with Mr. Hearst.
After dinner, the guests would relax and mingle and smoke in the Refectory.
If they were up for a little competition, the Billiard room was around the corner.
Later in the evening, Mr. Hearst invited the guests for a late night showing of a movie in his movie theater.
While walking through Hearst Castle, our tour guide told us of tidbits of stories of the guests that stayed in this beautiful hill top mansion, about where some of the art, ceilings and tapestries came from, and what they are doing to refurbish and clean the rooms.
At the conclusion of the Grand Rooms Tour, guests are invited to tour the grounds outside Hearst Castle on their own, or go on the next tour. We decided to roam.
As we wandered the grounds, I realized I wanted to make a day of it, though we didn’t have the time. The cottages (pictured above) were just beautiful – and curious me – I wanted to see inside. But the rest of the family had other plans.
They had discovered the beautiful Neptune Pool, which we were told during the introduction of the tour, was recently drained because of the California Drought. Apparently the pool does have a few leaks, with that and evaporation during the summer, it is just too costly to keep up with filling it daily, so it sits empty.
The view from Hearst Castle is just spectacular!
And before you jump on the tour bus back down the mountain, the last stop takes you to the stunning indoor Roman Pool. I was told that all the gold sparkles were actually GOLD! Amazing.
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If you’re wondering about this being a tour you can take the kids on – yes, it is. My kids were great! They must remember to stay on the carpets while walking through the rooms and not to touch anything, even outside along the gardens. Their favorite part – the Neptune Pool.
If you’re in the area, I highly recommend taking one of the tours. I know I’m ready to go back and explore the rest of the estate!
Disclaimer: Thank you to our friends at the Hearst Castle. We enjoyed a complimentary tour to share our honest experiences. No other form of compensation was received.