The estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Built during the depths of the Great Depression, this is the most elaborate mansion on the West Coast. It is one of the true architectural gems of California.
You can sign up for a number of different tours, which show you the inside of the mansion, the guest houses, the gardens, and other facilities. To take them all requires more than one visit. See the website for more information on the tours. I selected the Experience Tour.
The visit lasts 2 hours.
In Summer, the 1st visit is at 8:30AM and the last one at 3:40PM.
One visit each 20 min.
The Roman Pool (indoor pool) is on my opinion the nicest place of the castle.
I was also surprised to see a 15e century tapestry (hunting scene) I saw in my youth in the history books.
The other art works are interesting but they are a bit "odds and ends" gathered by a rich man. I have had the same feeling when I visited the Vizcaya castle of J. Deering in Miami.
The ride by the shuttle lasts 15 min. to climb the hill. Sit on the right side of the bus to have the best view.
The HC can be visited only on guided tour. It begins by a film explaining the life of William Randolf Heasrt and the building of the castle. It is understandable for a foreigner like me.
In the premises, it is forbiden to take pictures with a flash or with a tripod.
You must walk on the carpet and the guide has a good sight...
All the guide books told to reserve by phone or by internet. We tried to go without a reservation and we had no problem to get a ticket. It was the 30th June around 10AM.
There are several tours. We chose the Experience Tour at 18$ per capita (cost since the 1st July : 24$).
William Hearst during his youth used to walk in this area and several years after, becomen a press magnate, he decided to set up a gorgeous ressort, he named the Ranch.
The building lasted a long time because he changed often his mind always extending the plans.
The aim of the castle was to receive the Hearst's guests : politicians, artists, actors, businessmen. Everybody usefull for his business. Is was a privilege to be invited there.
Every morning, a plane went to bring him the last newspapers.
A zoo (no more on duty) was also set up in the property.
The famous Hearst Castle is about 30 miles north on California Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo. This castle was built by publisher, art collector, and movie producer William Randolph Hearst. Located in San Simeon, which is adjacent to the Pacific coastline, Hearst Castle is now a California state historic monument, specifically known as "Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument". This is definitely a must-see if you're coming to this area (San Luis Obispo County).