During the tour, we learnt that William Randolph Hearst’s father George Hearst once owned the land and that he was the one to set up the still-functioning ranch here. The exteriors of Casa Grande and the guest cottages have strong Spanish and Mediterranean influences, particularly Spanish Colonial Revival and Mediterranean Revival. Although William had great advantages from his father and family wealth, he went on to build a media empire of his own which still exists today. The ceiling is particularly beautiful with its night blue tiles with stars. Visitors are allowed to take photos in the house and in the gardens for personal use. The base is a vase created in 1889 by Tiffany & Co. that won honors at the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition. 'How about we stop shooting each other?' Review. . If you are looking for a hostel, the nearest one we know of is. Now one of California’s most visited state historical monuments, it is an eye-popping extravaganza with a 165-room castle, 127 acres/51 hectares of terraced gardens, sparkling fountains, towering palms, and, to top it all off, wraparound views of the sunny Central Coast. It was so many years ago when I passed by this place. We only ask for your e-mail so we can verify you are human and if requested notify you of a reply. All tours include a bus ride to the top of the hill and a visit to the interiors of Hearst Castle, the two pools, and the gardens. His bedroom is the on the south-east corner. Now, I need to re-watch Citizen Kane…. Tickets can be reserved and purchased online at the Hearst Castle website, by phone (U.S.: 1-800-444-4445 International: 1-833-448-7287), or in-person at the Visitor Center. He was fascinated with the history, the architecture, the castles, and the art in Europe. If you are interested in learning more about Hearst or Hearst Castle after the visit, some great books and videos are for sale here. We recommend watching this before your tour if you have time, but you can also watch it after your tour. Your description and suggestions are really everything that one needs to know to enjoy a visit. You will see only a few highlights on the tours, but after the tour you are welcome to explore the gardens on your own at your leisure. For those looking for rooms or apartments, you can check the local listings on Airbnb. Hearst Castle became a popular and coveted getaway for Hollywood celebrities who could enjoy first-rate amenities at an isolated spot far from the paparazzi. We saw zebras grazing as we drove past the property on our way down the coast – unbelievable! Our guide James told us that the Hearst Castle was built in the style of a Mediterranean Village with a main structure surrounded by smaller buildings. The Assembly room also holds secrets such as a hidden door that allowed William Randolph Hearst to come and go as he pleased with little notice. The gardens, terraces, and pools make up about 125 acres of the estate, so there is a large area that you can explore. After Hearst married and had his own children, he and his wife Millicent and their children often visited San Simeon to go camping on Camp Hill. Start your visit with one of Hearst Castle’s daily tours of the main house, or special tours of the cottages; come in November or December to see the estate dressed up in its very-festive holiday decor. A mish-mash of styles and historical eras and artifacts that could only work in this place. Last updated: June 26, 2020- Written by Jessica Norah 24 Comments. Let me start this part by telling you that Hearst Castle is located on top of a hill on the Santa Lucia Mountains. Tours are offered in the day time as well as in the evenings during certain times of the year. The Roman pool is amazing and wow, I would love to be among the staff for one of those pool parties! I’m curious to see the kitchens. However, as tours do often sell out, especially in busy months, it is recommended that you purchase tickets in advance if you need a particular time slot. The Roman Pool at Hearst Castle is a heated indoor pool decorated with beautiful tiles and eight marble statues. You look like you had gorgeous weather; unfortunately, both times I went it was rainy and cloudy (typical for that area of the coast), but I will probably go back again one day to do the cottages tour, and hopefully it is sunny then! Be sure to plan to arrive at the Visitor Center at least 15 to 20 minutes prior to the beginning of your tour to ensure you have enough time to collect your tickets, get your wristbands, and make it on the bus in time. Neptune Pool and a façade of a Roman Temple. I’ll be adding it to my list after seeing this. Hearst had both an indoor swimming pool and an outdoor swimming pool built on the property, both on a gigantic scale. This was a good way to end the inside part of the tour. Winter is perhaps the worst time to see the gardens; however, winter months are often the least crowded, especially if you avoid the holiday season. There are a wide variety of flowers, fruit trees, palm trees, and succulents here. From San Luis Obispo, you can rent a car, take the public bus, book a day tour, or book a taxi or shuttle to take you to Hearst Castle. We found if we wanted to best hear the guide and ask questions, it was best to try to stay near the front. In the summer months, an additional outside BBQ spot is also usually open in the Visitor Center Courtyard. Then he and San Francisco architect Julia Morgan built this sprawling mansion with over 160 rooms. Indeed, interesting and free:) I think the whole rocky, undeveloped coastline in this area is just wonderful. We also understood that he often brought his family to camp at the ranch and that their campsite used to be where Hearst Castle now stands. William Randolph Hearst was probably the most talked about private citizen in the first half of the 20th century and probably the most well-know American in the world after Franklin Roosevelt, and for many, many reasons besides his house at San Simeon. As always, feel free to ask us any questions you may have about visiting Hearst Castle or things to do in Central California. The architect Julia Morgan, the most prolific architect in U.S. history has a fascinating story and is worthy of investigation. Here are some reminders and tips for making the most of your visit to Hearst Castle in San Simeon: So that is our guide to and tips for visiting Hearst Castle in San Simeon! It is up to 10 feet deep. Back when I learnt about him, little did I know that he was not just a print media mogul but also an art collector of a class of his own. Highly trained, experienced and knowledgeable guides are stationed throughout the park and we are NOT there to be policemen or security guards. Before I show you wee little bit of the inside of the main building, you must see the Neptune Pool and the Roman Temple. But the inside is wonderful regardless and glad you’ve enjoyed your tours so much. Instead of spraying bullets, I mean. Best time of year to visit Hearst Castle? I would definitely recommend going back at some point for a tour of Hearst Castle. George Hearst did have a 18-room Victorian ranch house built in 1878 on the property, which is still standing today and still used by the Hearst family. This meant he had connections that ranged from actors and writers to senators and presidents. I have visited Hearst Castle twice and since I went with two different people we did the Grand Tours tour both time. asks this mural I found in Venice, California. Please scroll to the end to leave a comment, Instead of gifts, we try to give each of our 5 grandchildren an “experience” for their birthdays. I definitely need to see Citizen Kane now, too . The opposite balcony was the bedroom of his companion, Marion Davies. But you can easily spend 4 hours or more here. It took around 28 years to build this place. Hearst Castle is Throwing an Exclusive Pool Party, The October event invites 250 guests to hang poolside—and 50 VIPs will get to swim in the iconic Neptune Pool, Here Is What California Looks Like Right Now, Considering a trip to the Golden State? Hearst Castle was initially intended as a family home, but by 1926 he and his wife had separated (although never divorced) and he was living openly with his mistress Marion Davies. Also send me the latest blog posts by e-mail, Independent Travel Cats Monthly Newsletter, Logos, images, and content all protected by copyright. Interestingly, the staff actually gets to swim in and enjoy the pools once or twice a year—what a pool party! Initially, films were shown outdoors to guests, but soon Hearst had his own indoor theater built. Required fields are marked *, Notify me of replies to my comment (just replies to your comment, no other e-mails, we promise! Hearst Castle’s official site recommends the Grand Rooms Tour for first-time visitors. Mansions are a dime a dozen in California, with movie stars and tech power brokers building palaces and adding wings, pools, and yoga pavilions with abandon. We were shown a short film with clips of Hearst and his guests spending time at Hearst Castle in the early 20th century. But if you add in the 40-minute film at the Visitor Center, the bus ride up and down the hill, free time exploring the gardens, and a stop at the exhibition and gift shop you can easily spend a full morning or afternoon here. But it was manageable and we had time to see everything in each room. There are terraces on both sides of the main building. On my first visit, I also got to tour through a couple of the “cottages” but these are not nearly as well-decorated or grand as the rooms in the Casa Grande. After the 40 minute guided tour, guests have the opportunity to explore all the gardens and terraces at their leisure until the park closes. This is what Hearst and Morgan intended and it was referred to as The Rectory, which is the term used for a dining hall in a monastery. It is about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Overall, we really enjoyed the tour, the scenery, and walking around the gardens. Before or after your tour, also make room for the free 40-minute film in the Visitor’s Center (just keep your ticket) as it is excellent and definitely adds something to the experience. It is and it should be. ~ Jessica. But we’d recommend allowing at least 3 hours here so you are not rushed and have more time to enjoy the Visitor Center and wander around the hilltop after your tour.