It's a mansion ... it's a museum ... it's the media mogul's opulent fantasy estate perched high above the Pacific..
One of the country's wealthiest entrepreneurs in his time, William Randolph Hearst started building on his family's 250,000-acre estate when he was in his late 50s. He never quite finished, but along with famed California architect Julia Morgan, he created an awe-inspiring castle and filled it with art and antiquities collected on his worldwide travels. The estate features the main house, three guest houses (mansions themselves), stunning gardens and two magnificent swimming pools.
Guests can take one of five tours through the grounds and buildings. Wandering around, it's easy to imagine the extravagant weekend parties that Hearst and his mistress Marion Davies threw for Hollywood's elite. Highlights of the property include the medieval French fireplaces, the Italian Renaissance choir stalls, the outdoor pool's Greek facade that frames the panoramic view, and the all-American indoor swimming pool covered with gold. The Experience Tour, designed for first-time visitors, includes the film "Hearst Castle, Building the Dream."
Better than you may think.
Maybe some are put off by the history of the Hearst empire, the negative implications of Citizen Kane. You may be in for a surprise.
If you are put off by fear of tackiness, disregard the official advice and take Tour Two before Tour One. T1 emphasizes the more public areas and the occasional garishness; T2 shows private bedrooms, including Hearst and Davies' surprisingly modest bedrooms and the breathtaking Celestial Suite. T3 is somewhat of a disappointment. By all means take the Evening Tour, esp. when the Christmas decorations are up.
Even if the threatened rate hikes are instituted, this is still a tremendous bargain.
Best In the U.S.. Aside from Scottland, I feel that the hearst estate is the single most magestic & magnificant place I've ever seen. You have to see the inside of all the structures to truly appreciate this architectual masterpiece.
Be Prepared To Be Awed.
Visiting Hearst Castle gives you a pleasurable glimpse into the life of the rich and famous. The visitor's center includes an IMAX theater where you get to see a 40 minute presentation on W.R. Hearst and his "castle". The cost of the movie is included in the tour.
There are several tours to choose from and each shows you different parts of the castle. We took the "Experience Tour". From the castle, you have an awesome view of the Pacific Ocean and miles of coastline (and hills). The whole operation is run well and it was a a very pleasant experience.
The tour isn't cheap. I probably wouldn't bring kids to this....
wonderful sight. loved visiting this place, it was like citizen kane come to life: huge banquet halls, swimming pools, eerie modern american wealth on display. take one of the great tours, but be sure to make advance reservations. they sell out quickly.
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