Have you ever watched the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous with Host Robin Leech? Touring the Hearst Castle reminded me of this show. I also would have loved to be a fly on the wall, okay maybe more a socialite, back in the heyday of this place – imagine the rich, famous people who visited and stayed there.
Hearst Castle is now a California State Park. Check out their Website for Tour Information & Pricing.
William Randolph Hearst purchased the land in 1865 and in 1947 Hearst & Julia Morgan created the estate. I could not imagine maintaining an estate of this size today – I have a hard time keeping my own house clean and my house could probably fit very easily in one to three rooms of the main house.
I have heard about the Hearst’s, the Hearst Castle & seen pictures of this place, but to see it in person was just overwhelming & breathtaking at the same time. We decided on Tour 1 of the Hearst Castle – recommended for first-time visitors, offers an overview & has the least number of stairs – about a 2 hour tour. You will board a bus to take the five-mile trip to the top of the hill and after the tour the bus will take you back down to the Visitors Center.
Tour 1 included . . .
- Casa Del Sol (Guesthouse)
- Casa Grande (Main House)
- The Neptune Pool (Outdoor Pool area)
- Esplanade & Gardens
- The Roman Pool (Indoor Pool area)
The Neptune Pool (outdoor) was under construction when we visited Hearst Castle – a Greco-Roman style pool – even under construction beautiful and can see coastline views. Neptune & Nereid Statues – Colonnades & Reliefs – 104 feet long – 345,000 gallons of water. The Roman Pool (indoor) was a marvel to see – all the mosaic tiles from floor to ceiling – 8 Statues of Roman gods, goddesses and heroes – think Roman bath – just amazing & breathtaking.
Casa Del Sol is the 18-room guesthouse facing the Pacific Coastline – the tour guide talked about the famous people who stayed at the guesthouse throughout the years – to be a fly on the wall! I do not have 18 rooms in my house let alone a guest house – some days I consider myself lucky because I have 2 bathrooms in my home. The Esplanade (basically one massive patio) & Gardens – amazing – the fountains and sculptures – just beautiful. The garden is designed to bloom all year round.
Art of Hearst Castle. The piece of art I enjoyed the most was the two Sekhmet Figures & two Sekhmet Heads – body of a woman – the head of a lioness – protector of Ra, the Sun God. The diversity of art from different regions, cultures & eras was amazing!
Seeing the Casa Grande (Main House) for the first time up close and personal left me speechless – I think my mouth was hanging open with a look of awe on my face. Grand – Opulent – Beautiful Design & Features – Warm & Inviting – Cozy & Homey!!! We took a tour of the ground floor – left me wanting to see the rest of the house after seeing the offerings throughout the ground floor.
The Assembly Room is the largest of the four sitting rooms – I am sure the other sitting rooms were just as massive and beautifully decorated. I loved the Refectory (the dining room) – to be dined, wined & entertained in this room would have been a dream come true. You would need a small army to set up, serve & break down a meal service. The Morning Room (another sitting room) was beautiful due to the Spanish antiques & Flemish tapestries. With all the rugs and tapestries must have had to be on top of the dust on a daily basis. The Billard Room (features not 1 but 2 1920s billard tables) and the Theater (the largest room in the main house). The tour guide stated the importance of the Theater room and that guests were to attend every evening. The hosts and guests would slowly retire throughout the evening and some would stay into the wee hours of the morning.
If it were not for the Hearst Castle being made available and open to the public not many of us would have had a chance to see such a Grand Home. I know I caught myself daydreaming about this place in its heyday and the part it played in the social scene. I would have loved to dip a toe into the Roman pool and languished in the garden among the flowers, fountains & sculptures – at least I can dream about it!