Visit Hearst Castle, San Simeon

by GO GlobeHopper

Mansions are a dime a dozen in California, with movie stars and tech power brokers building palatial estates and palaces. But nothing comes close to Hearst Castle.  Lavishly designed by Julia Morgan, California’s first female architect, this was the private residence of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.  The property was completed in 1947 and is an extraordinary temple to opulence and excess. As one of California’s most visited 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 wraparound views of the sunny Central Coast.

It’s easy to spend a full day or more exploring the castle and its environs in San Simeon. The seaside town has a nice range of places to stay, from mainstream to majestic accommodations. Start your visit with one of Hearst Castle’s daily tours of the main house, or special tours of the cottages, or visit during November or December to see the estate dressed up in festive holiday decor.

Every tour provides visitors with an opportunity to spend time marveling at the residence’s two lavish pools. The outdoor Neptune Pool, 104 feet/32 meters in length, is heated through an oil-burning system and framed with marble statues of Neptune and Nereid guarding over the aquatic paradise. The indoor Roman Pool has the look of a decadent Roman bath, with rich details including cobalt blue and gold smalti, or glass tiles. Look up to see intricate mosaics depicting a star-filled night sky, spreading across the roof and dome.

Top off a visit to San Simeon’s Hearst Ranch Winery, co-founded by William Randolph Hearst’s great-grandson, Steve. The tasting room along the Pacific Coast Highway offers Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and more, alongside sweeping views.

Food and drink are available in the Visitor Center with several options to satisfy your hunger before or after your tour.  To plan your trip and pick your tour, and for information on current hours and ticket prices, visit the Hearst Castle website HERE.



Source:  Visit California

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