Unless you already own a mansion, it’s not everyday you get to wander an elegant piece of architecture like Hearst Castle. The 56-bedroom estate sits on top of a hill just off the Pacific Coast Highway in San Simeon, and offers daily tours for visitors interested in a closer look.
The castle was designed by Julia Morgan from 1919-1947, and built for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. After 28 years of total work the estate cost about $6.5 million to build and another $3.5 million for the artwork inside. After Hearst later died in 1951, the grounds became a state park and were opened to the public by 1958.
Across the estate Hearst Castle has a total of: 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, over a hundred acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, an extravagant dining room, movie theater and billiard room. It was also once home to the largest private zoo, and exotic animals like zebras can still be seen roaming the grounds.
During the ’30s and ’40s the European-style castle was a retreat for famous entertainers and political figures like Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Bob Hope, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Hearst would meet and entertain his visitors on the ground room floors of Casa Grande (the main castle) before they retreated back to their guest rooms.
The total square footage is over 90,000 square feet – with Casa Grande (the main castle) at 60,645 square feet. There are also three elegant guest houses on the property of various sizes.
As majestic as the estate is, commercial filming for movies and television is usually not allowed. They’ve only permitted a few projects to be shot here, including: Stanley Kubrick’s film Spartacus and Lady Gaga’s music video for “G.U.Y.”
They offer several guided tours for a first-hand look at the estate. Some are wheelchair-accessible, and others climb up steps to see the luxurious suites upstairs. The historic tours last for about 1-2 hours, depending on the type – and vary in cost around $20-30. For tickets and more info, visit their official website here.
Can’t make it out to San Simeon? You’re still in luck – you can get the full tour below from TriumphRainbow on Youtube:
Isn’t Hearst Castle just enchanting? Would you love to walk around this elegant mansion?