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Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

Shell Beach...
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Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

I remember reading in a magazine that private tours of Hearst Castle are an option, and now I see it online at:

http://hearst.reserveamerica.com/

For $750 you get a private guide with up to 6 guests for as long as 4 hours. Sounds like a fun splurge if you want to see the place without crowds. Has anyone tried it? I'd be interested in hearing your opinion.

Grover Beach...
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1. Re: Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

Hi scooterboss

You should contact Wanderluster255 about this. She's a guide there and might have some insights for you:

www.tripadvisor.com/members/Wanderluster255

San Francisco
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2. Re: Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

Not exactly on topic but a bit of history. When I was a small child (age 3-8) we lived in Santa Barbara. My mother's "women's group" had a tour of Hearst Castle. In those days (1960 or so) the parking lot was up on the hill outside the house. You just drove up and parked. My how things change!

Grover Beach...
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3. Re: Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

No kidding, Sal? That would be SOOOO cool. Yes, how things have changed. I remember the old Visitor's Center where the ticket windows were outside, as was every other convenience there. Amazing how the place changes every few decades.

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4. Re: Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

Hi Scooterboss (and thanks, Kibblesmom!)- A private tour is a special way to see Hearst Castle. I've given several private tours. First, you drive your own car up to the hilltop and park there. That's a unique experience. If you have specific interests (like the art, construction, etc) you can let your guide know and he/she can focus on that during your 4 hours together. With the current way of doing tours, with 3 tours and only 40 minutes (per tour, if you want to pay to do all 3), a private tour is an especially good way to go if you want to linger inside the Main House and guest houses. There are some places that are no longer part of the regular tours where, with advance notice, your guide MIGHT be able to arrange to get into. Personally, I think it's a good value for the time you get to spend and the fact that it's tailored to your interests. Even with 4 hours, it's hard to see it all.

These do have to be reserved in advance so a guide can be scheduled. And keep in mind that during high season (summer, holidays) it's more difficult to get into some of the rooms without the constant flow of the regular tours coming in.

Edited: 10:33 pm, July 05, 2011
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5. Re: Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

Sounds like a very good deal. Not as expensive as I would have thought. Seeing a tour of everything for 6 people would run several hundred dollars anyway and that's for being nestled with a few dozen other tourists. IMO, I think you should do it.

Shell Beach...
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6. Re: Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

Thanks so much for the advice (and personal reminiscences). This sounds like something really special.

Driving one's own car up the hill seems especially fun. When I first visited the central coast in 2003, I had rented a red Thunderbird convertible. I was disappointed that I couldn't park it in front of the house and pretend to be visiting from Hollywood like one of Mr. Hearst's guests in the 20s and 30s.

Grover Beach...
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7. Re: Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

"....in 2003, I had rented a red Thunderbird convertible. I was disappointed that I couldn't park it in front of the house and pretend to be visiting from Hollywood like one of Mr. Hearst's guests in the 20s and 30s......."

Looks like you can do that with this tour, scooterboss. If you should decide to do this and want to include "up to 6 others", I would be more than happy to join your group. ;-)

*** I'm still kicking myself for not taking advantage of an invite at Hearst Castle on Thanksgiving a few years ago (The castle was closed that day). A friend of mine was a fireman up there at the time and invited several friends up for the day. The invite included bringing a swimsuit. So I could have gone swimming in the Neptune pool. Now THAT would have been memorable! ***

Edited: 11:58 am, July 06, 2011
8. Re: Private tour of Hearst Castle: anyone done it?

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