Designed by legendary architect Julia Morgan, Hearst Castle is positively enthralling: a collection of priceless art and antiques from all over the world, exquisitely assembled in a mountain-top Mediterranean estate that Hearst dubbed La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill).
The castle out-Hollywoods Hollywood and is as grand as the finest palaces of Europe. And the story of its visionary owner, William Randolph Hearst, is a made-in-America fable that proves that fact is truly stranger than fiction.
Considering that the castle rambles over roughly 80,000 square feet/7,400 square metres, 165 rooms, and nearly 50 hectares of gardens and pools, no single tour can fully capture its splendour. In fact, you can take your pick of nine different ways to explore the castle, including seasonal evening and public holiday tours. Or splash out on your very own four-hour private tour for up to six people.
Love art? The Art of San Simeon Tour looks at the priceless assortment of tapestries, paintings and sculptures that Hearst collected for his castle. Limited to eight visitors, the tour explores a few rooms that have never previously been accessible to the public. Or for architecture fans, nothing beats the Designing the Dream Tour, which focuses on the unique creative collaboration between Hearst and Morgan that spanned more than 30 years.
It’s just a few minutes downhill to your next stop at William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach.