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Hearst Castle

A stunning mansion getaway on the California coastline, Hearst Castle , owned at one time by famous journalist William Randolph Hearst, is one of the most impressive and historically rich estates in the American West.

Hearst Castle was built on a 40,000-acre ranch purchased by William Randolph Hearst's father, wealthy miner George Hearst in 1865. Hearst Castle is located in San Simeon , California , almost exactly half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco . The ranchland has grown over the years to encompass some 250,000 acres.




When William inherited Hearst Castle in 1919, he invited one of the best architects in the area, Julia Morgan, to come to the estate and “build a little something.” The castle grounds were a perfect site for setting up tents and camping out in the Californian wilderness, but Hearst envisioned accommodations that were even more comfortable than the average camping tent. By 1947, Hearst's dream house was built on the Hearst Castle hill that he began to call ‘La Cuesta Encantada'- The Enchanted Hill. Hearst Castle was fashioned to imitate the great European architecture that William had seen in his extensive travels. The main house of the castle, Casa Grande , and its three surrounding guest houses, all emulate a kind of Mediterranean Revival style, while its adjacent towers were designed to mirror the looks of a 16 th century Spanish cathedral. The outdoor Neptune Pool was made to look like an ancient Roman bath and coliseum.


Upon its completion, the Hearst Castle estate boasted over 165 rooms and 127 acres of outdoor pools, gardens, terraces, and hiking paths. Of the 165 rooms, 56 were guest bedrooms, and an additional 19 were sitting rooms. The Hearst Castle grounds include tennis courts, a movie theatre, an airfield (so that its high profile guests can fly straight to the castle in their own private jets), and the largest independently owned zoo in the world. Hearst Castle has within its famous walls more than 40 private fireplaces, and was a wonderful coastal getaway for a number of A-list celebrities throughout history—particularly in the 1920's and ‘30's.


Political leaders Winston Churchill and Calvin Coolidge, literary mastermind George Bernard Shaw and famous actor Charlie Chaplin were just some among the many guests that have graced the halls of California 's great Hearst Castle . Hearst kept strict rules for his guests in attendance. During his or her stay, each guest was expected to attend the evening's formal dinner in the main dining hall. Guests were told that they would each be permitted to consume only one alcoholic drink before the nightly communal dinner parties. Any guests who did not respect this rule were asked to leave the castle grounds. Many regarded such rules to be somewhat hypocritical, seeing as how William Randolph Hearst himself was known to take to sweet tasting after-dinner liquors, such as Cointreau, Benedictine and Crème de Menthe. He also had a mistress on the property.


California's proud Hearst Castle has one of the most coveted wine collections in the nation, locked tightly behind two rooms with double-vault iron doors that were installed in the early 1920's to protect Hearst prized collection of ales and fine wines from potential thievery. Guests of the estate were permitted to enjoy these wines during dinnertimes at the castle, even during the prohibition movement in the 1920's and 30's.


In 1957, Hearst Castle was donated by the Hearst Corporation to the state of California . Today, Hearst Castle is considered to be a State Historical Monument and a National Historical Landmark which is open to the public for touring. It is one of the only, and, one of the most popular, castles to ever grace our homeland—the nation.




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