Hearst Castle: Playground of Hollywood Stars
by Jo Anne Disney
October 16, 2013 • 739 views
Visiting Hearst Castle is a must for movie buffs everywhere. You can enjoy reminiscing about legendary Hollywood movie stars, including those of the silent movie era. The castle is only open by tour. Each special tour furnishes a guide who provides a wealth of information about the intimate life of William Randolph Hearst and his guests. There are four day tours lasting approximately one hour and forty-five minutes each with their own individual motif and one two hour evening tour. Reservations are required.
Walking through the rooms of Hearst Castle, I was fascinated hearing of the the illustrious parties that movie stars attended there. I was mesmerized by thoughts of standing in the same place that Greta Garbo and Cary Grant may have stood. Among the many famous personalities that visited the Castle were Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Louis B. Mayer, Calvin Coolidge, Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Jean Harlow, William Powell, Carole Lombard, Loretta Young, Joan Crawford, Charlie Chaplin, David Niven, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Hal Roach, Buster Keaton, Randolph Scott and most importantly, Marion Davies, Hearst’s mistress of 32 years.
My first look at the Castle was Tour One, the “Experience Tour,” suggested for first time visitors. It takes you through the gardens, a guesthouse called Casa del Sol, both pools, the first floor of the main building (Casa Grande) and a movie theatre room, where you see home movies Hearst made of all of the famous people that visited the Castle. This tour includes a ticket to see the film “Hearst Castle, Building the Dream” at the Visitor’s Center, which shows the priceless furnishings, paintings, sculptures and tapestries from around the world, used at the Castle. I think the two pools at the Castle are spectacular and add to the Castle’s beauty and grandeur.
My second look at the Castle was Tour Two. This tour visits the upper floors of the main building (Casa Grande), including Hearst’s private quarters. The architecture is breathtaking. As I walked from room to room, I felt like I had traveled Spain, France and Italy all in the same day. His library is amazing. Most of the books enclosed in glass bookcases are first editions and very rare. I was awe-struck!
During the months of November and December, the Castle is especially decorated for the holidays. Visitors say touring the Castle during this time makes their holidays extra special. Don’t miss out on the chance to see the Castle and see where legends played. Visiting the Castle is an experience not to be missed. Hearst Castle is located at 750 Hearst Castle Road, San Simeon, CA. More information can be obtained by calling (805) 927-2070 or at www.hearstcastle.com.