Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California
Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark located on the Central Coast of California, United States. It was designed by architect Julia Morgan, as a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951.
Hearst Castle was included as one of America's "10 Amazing Castles" by Forbes Travel. Forbes said, "Quite possibly the nation's most famous castle, William Randolph Hearst went to great lengths to bring back the best of European architecture – most notably ceilings from churches and monasteries – which were pieced back together in California to create his highly eclectic Central Coast getaway." Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts "millions of travelers each year".
William Randolph Hearst formally named the estate "La Cuesta Encantada" ("The Enchanted Hill"), but he and the family usually referred to it as "the ranch". Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted during its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. The Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into the estate's airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Among Hearst's guests were Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, the Marx Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Dolores del Río, and Winston Churchill. While guests were expected to attend the formal dinners each evening, they were normally left to their own dwellings during the day while Hearst directed his business affairs. Since "the ranch" had so many facilities, guests were rarely at a loss for things to do. The estate's theater usually screened films from Hearst's own movie studio, Cosmopolitan Productions.
Following are the top three Hearst Castle tours...
HEARST CASTLE - GRAND ROOMS TOUR
Every evening, W. R. Hearst’s guests gathered in the splendid social rooms on the ground floor of Casa Grande—his formal name for the main house. Follow in their footsteps as you travel back in time and experience what it was like to be a guest at Hearst Castle, known then as “The Enchanted Hill.”
HEARST CASTLE - UPSTAIRS SUITES TOUR
Wind your way up spiral staircases to the upper floors of this remarkable architectural wonder to discover its most private rooms, including William Randolph Hearst’s personal quarters known as the Gothic Suite, and sumptuous bedrooms assigned to special guests. Once at the top, relish the sweeping views of the lush Castle grounds and the distant shoreline of California’s Central Coast.
HEARST CASTLE - COTTAGES & KITCHEN TOUR
Discover two very different parts of Hearst Castle on the Cottages & Kitchen Tour. View Hearst’s wine cellar and then stroll through the historic gardens to the first guest cottage, Casa del Monte. Then compare its rooms to those in Casa del Mar, before visiting the Castle’s enormous kitchen. From the original wine cellar and sprawling kitchen to the sumptuous guest house where Mr. Hearst first resided, see the personal and practical sides of the Castle.