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Hearst Castle, San Simeon California

If you were the who’s who of Hollywood in the 1930s then you were likely to receive an invitation to William Randolph Hearst’s castle in San Simeon, California. Equipped with all the glamour of its day it was the perfect getaway with over 250,000 acres of land along the California coast.

William Hearst’s castle was an empire of its time and as because William ran all of the media outlets of his time (radio and newspaper companies) he was sought after by film directors, actors, and orchestrators alike for his influence, and apparently he knew how to throw a party.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 3Today this majestic castle remains in excellent condition and holds tours through almost every day of the year. Because of the vastness of the property, there are different tours available and must be purchased separately. Amanda and I opted for the first grand rooms tour of the morning and were up early to catch the bus to the castle, you aren’t able to drive up there yourselves and have to park at the welcome centre at the bottom of the hill.
Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 4From the top, you can see all the way to the sea. Because we were on the first tour up to the castle, we were able to walk around the grounds with very few tourists meandering around, which was quite delightful. I suggest the earlier tours if you have the time.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 40Fish in the lily pond.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 27 Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 28Julia Morgan was the chief architect for the project basing the castle itself off of Spanish cathedrals. Hearst named the castle La Cuesta Encantada—Spanish for “Enchanted Hill.”

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 37When it was finished in 1947 there were 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, pools, and walkways.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 38It’s truthfully a Mediterranean oasis, hidden along the Californian coast. I forgot I was still in America while touring!

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 39 Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 2Such intricate work along the outside, truly a magnificent house built for an eccentric man who had the money and knowledge of art to bring a dream to life.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 49“We’re not in Kansas anymore Dorthy, we’re East of the Atlantic ocean!”

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 11Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 43All of the downstairs rooms move from one grandeur to the next. It must have been very nice to bring all of these European artifacts to America with little to no import taxes.

Do you see that tapestry hanging on the wall? There were 10 originals that were destroyed in a fire and all 10 replicas hang in the Louvre museum in Paris. These tapestries are four of the originals that William Hearst was able to buy after they were thought to have been destroyed!

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 34 Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 15His art fills up all of the grand rooms and there is a lot of space to be filled with the high ceilings.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 10Moving on to the dining hall, which reminds me a lot of the great hall on the Harry Potter set at Warner Brothers Studios.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 46The table can hold quite a few guests and all the guests that were invited to stay at the castle were allowed to do as they wished around the castle grounds but were required to come to the dining hall for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You could not be served in your room as William enjoyed the company of all guests he extended an invitation to.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 21WOW. It’s a stunning photo of this intricate dining hall, to say the least.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 19The flags that hang from the ceiling represent the seventeen city colors that represent the Palio race held in Sienna, Italy twice a year. Only ten riders are chosen to compete from the 17 districts.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 44Even the ceiling is intricately carved.


Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 16 Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 13 Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 12 Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 18 Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 22I know, I know, I may have a couple too many photos of the dining hall, but I loved this room the best!

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 47Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 45Connected is a drawing room where you could retire after your meal for some scotch, a smoke, or you could relax before a meal was served as well.
Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 23There’s so much to take in!

 

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 48 Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 24In another room is some billiard tables and a state of the art radio, where you could catch up on local news.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 25Retiring to Williams movie theater, you were able to watch the latest films months before they were released to the public. Perks of having the film directors as your friends, and also having them eager for you to publicize their films. It’s a deal that is win-win for everybody around these parts.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 26In the theater, they show you a few clips, from home videos at the castle back in the day.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 29Our tour only lasted about an hour if that and afterward you have free reign to walk around the grounds or get in line for your next tour if you have one scheduled. The buses run back down to the welcome center every few minutes so there is no rush if you choose not to hurry.
Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 28On the acres of land surrounding the castle, William had an entire safari worth of animals to include zebras and giraffes that you could go out and see. There are still zebras roaming free on the grounds even today! We didn’t see any of them during the tour. He even kept polar bears in state of the art zoo exhibits that were the latest technology of the day. Suffice it to say you would not run out of entertainments at the castle if you were visiting, even if there was no cell phones or internet available.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 30The castle itself sits in the center gardens that form a circle around the house. It’s a very interesting setup considering most buildings are set on squares or rectangles. It’s pretty cool though because there are lookouts all the way around for you to see from.
Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 31Walking behind the castle you stroll past the tennis courts and down to the indoor mosaic pool where the bus picks you up and drives you back down the mountain.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 32Beautiful blue colors and symmetries are offset by the lovely yellow lighting. I wanted to go for a swim really badly.

Hearst Castle San Simeon CA 33So pretty.

I’ll definitely be headed back for a second tour when I get a chance and I’m going to go on the upstairs tour next.

This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.

Cassey

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