10Best Visits Hearst Castle, America's Treasured Palace

  • Hearst Castle: A Ride to the Enchanted Hill

    The iconic Hearst Castle is located in San Simeon, on the scenic Central Coast of California. The adventure begins at the Visitor Center, where guests board a shuttle for a picturesque five-mile ride to Hearst's beloved La Cuesta Encantada – Spanish for the "Enchanted Hill." The drive offers majestic views of the castle itself, as well as of the surrounding countryside and the Pacific Ocean below.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • The Neptune Pool: A Hearst Castle Icon

    It took 15 years to construct the classical Neptune Pool, one of two intricately tiled pools on the premises. Hearst imported a 17th century limestone reproduction of a Roman temple to California to serve as a facade for this magnificent work. The pool is a favorite backdrop for Hollywood movies and videos. In March 2014, Lady Gaga, together with synchronized swimmers, filmed her "G.U.Y." video on site. Currently drained for repairs, the pool, a visitor favorite, will reopen in 2016.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • A Portrait of America's First Media Mogul

    This captivating painting of 31-year-old William Randolph Hearst, created in 1894, still hangs in Hearst's Gothic Study as it did during his day. Hearst is touted as America's first media mogul. He died at the age of 88 in Beverly Hills, California, more than a half century after this portrait was painted.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Gilded Statue Blends into a Golden Sunset

    Located on the South Terrace, this art deco statue turns a back to the viewer admiring it from above. The front view represents a princess about to kiss a crowned frog and turn him into a prince. Miracles happen at Hearst Castle. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Stunning Replica of Ancient Roman Baths

    The exquisite Roman Pool at Hearst Castle is a mosaic-tiled indoor pool decorated with eight statues of Roman gods, goddesses and heroes. Built from 1927 to 1934, the pool and surrounding room is a replica of a second-century Roman bath. Visitors from around the world flock to Hearst Castle to admire this monument to a great man's artistry and vision.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Casa Grande: Hearst's Home and Hearth

    The Casa Grande, the "Main House" of the Hearst Castle, features stunning architectural details, such as the exquisite teak woodwork adorning the roof's overhang. The Casa's 60,000-plus square-foot interior is the centerpiece of Hearst Castle, constructed in a Mediterranean revival style. The main building towers are patterned after the Santa Maria La Mayor cathedral in Ronda, Spain.

    Photo courtesy of Tony DiBona

  • Gothic Study: The Pulse of Hearst's Empire

    Hearst spent most of his time on the third floor of the Casa Grande in his elaborate Gothic study and library, which served as the headquarters for America's first media empire. It was here he conducted many important meetings. His 27 newspapers were flown in daily via his private plane and airstrip and were displayed in an adjoining room for his inspection.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Go Back In Time

    The Hearst Castle harbors an incredible array of art and artifacts dating back millennia. These Greek vessels are some of the oldest artifacts on display in the castle. The drinking cup to the left dates circa 530 to 520 B.C.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • View an Authentic Roman Sarcophagus

    Chances are there are few places in America where can you view a third-century authentic Roman sarcophagus while walking down a garden path. The Nine Muses marble sarcophagus was carved around 230 to 250 A.D. and can be admired as you stroll through the Hearst Castle Gardens.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Capture a Romantic Moment

    With such an enchanting backdrop, it's hard not to want to put yourself in the picture. Guests snap a memorable "selfie"  to commemorate a romantic moment during a special Hearst Castle event.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona/Savor the Central Coast

  • Look Up and be Dazzled

    When you are touring Hearst Castle, don't fail to look up. Hearst went to great lengths to bring back the best of European architecture, and this is most evidenced in the intricate ceilings found throughout the castle. Many of them were dismantled from European monasteries and churches and pieced back together in California to create the magnificent display that exists today.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Out of Africa – but Alive and Well

    No, it is not the Serengeti. The zebras and other wildlife visible from the shuttle are descendants of William Randolph Hearst's Garden of Comparative Zoology. As you wind your way up the hill, you can see the empty cages that once held a variety of exotic animals collected by Hearst, many of which were later donated to zoos. The zebras, however, along with some other wildlife, such as elk and bison, were allowed to roam free on the mountainside and now live in harmony on the castle grounds.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • The Castle's Renaissance Theme: Madonna and Child

    Much of the artwork at the Hearst Castle has a religious theme, and the Madonna and Child motif is one of the most prevalent. This was not attributable to Hearst's religious propensity, but rather to the fact that the Renaissance religious art of Spain and Italy, which Hearst most admired, made up a good part of his collection.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Stroll Through Romantic Gardens

    The lush gardens surrounding Hearst Castle are filled not only with authentic ancient statues, but also with ones from recent centuries. The theme of love is manifested in quite a few of these lovely statues found in garden alcoves throughout the grounds. 

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Bedrooms Fit for a King or Queen

    Hearst loved to entertain, as evidenced by the 58 bedrooms in his Enchanted Hill complex. For the most part, the many guest bedrooms throughout the Casa Grande reflect an opulent Renaissance theme in the choice of art and decorative embellishments. Each room is different, but all can be described as grandiose.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Pick from 60 Royal Baths

    Hearst spared no expense in creating luxurious bathrooms for his guests. Here is an example of a lavish bath in the Casa Del Mar, one of several smaller villas that surround the Casa Grande. This is one of 60 bathrooms on the premises.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona

  • Toast to an Enchanting Visit

    There is no more romantic place to raise a glass than on one of the several Hearst Castle terraces at sunset. Special events are held at the castle throughout the year, including the annual Sunset at Hearst Castle event in September, when the finest cuisine and wines of California's Central Coast are showcased.

    Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona/Savor the Central Coast

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