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Hearst Castle has a unique charm that everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime. Back in June 2010, my mother and I visited La Cuesta Encantada aka Hearst Castle. We took the long drive up from Orange County to San Simeon. A total of 6 hours of driving, and that was just on the way there. But 300 miles later it was worth it. Hearst Castle is an unbelievably enchanting place to visit. Being that I’ll be visiting Europe in just over a month I wanted to take a moment to focus on a state side travel destination.
Hearst Castle History
Designed by architect Julia Morgan, it was a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947. After Hearst’s death in 1951, the castle became a California State Park in 1958. Since then, it has been operated as the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument to continue on the Hearst Castle history. Which includes the estate, as well as it’s art and antiques collection.
“William Randolph Hearst started to build a fabulous estate on his ranch land overlooking the village of San Simeon in 1919. He called the estate “La Cuesta Encantada” – Spanish for The Enchanted Hill. By 1947, the hilltop complex included a twin-towered main building, three sumptuous guesthouses, and 127 acres of terraced gardens, fountains, and pools.”
Hearst Castle Rooms
The estate has 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. From what I recall we took the Grand Rooms and the Upstairs Suites tours. To be honest, our guide on the first tour was lackluster and didn’t really engage me as a visitor. So much so that I actually thought it was a waste of a trip. I’m the kind of person that can look at a beautiful place/thing and pretty much respond with ‘eh’, until I actually know something about it.
Without details I’m just not as interested. And this tour guide lacked a lot of details, so much so that I could have probably given the Hearst Castle rooms tour. And that’s the whole point of a tour guide, it’s someone there to inform you about the tour. However, all was redeemed by the second tour guide who was bustling with facts and tales of Hearst Castle. I wish I could remember her name cause I’d totally give her a shout out here.
The Roman Pool
“The intensely decorated indoor Roman Pool is the perfect place to stop and relax. Modeled after ancient Roman baths, this meticulously detailed, majestic pool is tiled from ceiling to floor, and features marble copies of eight ancient Greek and Roman deities and athletes.”
A Treasured Collection
“This imposing library, intended for Mr. Hearst’s guests, houses more than 4,000 books, and also showcases one of the Castle’s most treasured collections: 150 ancient Greek vases, all more than two thousand years old. At 80 feet in length and filled with precious objects, the Hearst Castle Library makes a grand statement.”
Hearst Castle Tours
At the time of this posting the Hearst Castle tours were $25.00 for adults and $12.00 for children, per tour. If you’re going to go all the way to San Simeon you should at least do two tours would be my advice. This way you can get a good feel of the castle. You can reserve tickets online up to 60 days in advance. A number of different tours are on offer, all of which are listed on their website.