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"Up on the Enchanted Hill" Top 5 Page for this destination Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument by Dabs

"San Simeon was the place God would have built--if he had the money." George Bernard Shaw

I've been wanting to visit Hearst Castle for as long as I can remember but it's never been close to another destination that I've been visiting, it's 4 1/2 hours from Los Angeles and 5 hours from San Francisco but when I mentioned to Kat (keida84) that I wanted to visit on this trip she suggested an overnight in Cambria and a few points to stop on the way up and we had an enjoyable two day trip through California's central coast to go along with a visit to what I'm sure must be the most impressive (former) personal residence in the United States. Just the Neptune pool and the Roman pool were worth the trip!!!

Visits to the Hearst Castle are by guided tour only and although expensive I would highly encourage you to spend the extra money and do more than one tour. Had we just done the overview tour, I probably would have walked away disappointed at not seeing more as each tour shows a different part of the castle although every tour includes the two fabulous pools.

On the bus ride from the visitor center to the Castle, you get the first glimpse of the Castle. From several kilometers away, sitting all by itself on top of the Enchanted Hill peeking through the trees surrounding it, the Castle seems to be swallowed up by the nearby mountains. But once you've stepped off that bus and walk up those stairs to the Neptune Pool be prepared to have your jaw drop! And remember that this was built by one private citizen, not a monarch, not a tsar but William Randolph Hearst, a businessman who made his fortune in publishing (oh, and he probably got a little inheritance).

Once inside the Castle, your mind doesn't dare think what it would have been like to own this place, no this isn't a home for common folk like us. But I did imagine what it would have been like to be a guest at the Mansion during the golden days of Hollywood when Cary Grant could be seen playing tennis or Clark Gable could be spotted sitting poolside. But I guess a commoner like me probably wouldn't have ever made the guest list

  • Last visit to Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument: Oct 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (12)

Comments (11)

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    Mmm, genuine 5 star tips. I think you just convinced me to put it on our June itinerary.

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2007 at 7:58 AM

    I would love to see this magnificent mansion--you described it so beautifully that I really want to see it for myself. Thanks, Kristi!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2007 at 12:28 PM

    Wow! I have to keep reminding myself that this guy wasn't a duke or a margrave, just a publisher.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2007 at 4:13 AM

    San Simeon is a very impressive estate indeed! Your photos are magnificent, capturing the glory of the place. It is difficult to imagine what it would have been like to actually live there!

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2006 at 7:24 AM

    Fascinating. Like you, I have always wanted to visit the Hearst Castle. Unlike you and Kat, I haven't been there - yet. Beautiful photos and very interesting and helpful info.

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2006 at 4:05 AM

    Wonderful pics of Neptune and Roman pools. Interesting & thorough info on the tours and Hearst Castle itself.

  • keida84's Profile Photo
    Nov 7, 2006 at 8:29 PM

    Very nice look at the Hearst Castle. Great photos too! Next time we should bring a megaphone and/or a pea shooter & learn how to say "Shut up" in various languages to quell idiot foreigners who have no courtesy whatsoever.

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2006 at 1:14 AM

    Fantastic page on unique place in California. I agree 100% with a previous comment of "deecat". The only sad thing (except for ban on photography inside and obnoxious tourists) is that I was there and didn't visit (sold out tickets).

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2006 at 11:33 AM

    Kristi, you've done a fabulous job on the Hearst Castle. Wow & double wow for your photographs. I would have been seething about the obnoxious tourists. Informative, creative, helpful, balanced, provocative, alluring, & any other great adjectives..Bravo.

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo
    Nov 3, 2006 at 8:16 AM

    HOLY MOLEY! You know you have too much money when... your house looks like the Alhambra! Winged feet is Mercury/Hermes--he's the messenger god. Well done!


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