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“Design the dream tour”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle
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Santa Barbara, Solvang and Hearst Castle Day Trip from Los Angeles
Ranked #2 of 14 things to do in San Simeon
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: It took 28 years to complete William Randolph Hearst's lavish estate, which includes 165 rooms on 125 acres.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Design the dream tour”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2014

Our guide Diane, was great, lots of inside information, after 18 years, she's knows lots of gossip. Lots of steps, climbing and walking, need to be quite able for this tour. Sadly Neptune pool empty at the moment due to leaks and drought.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank Janet W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Stockton, California
Level Contributor
59 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2014

This place is incredible. The history and beauty is worth the trip. I’ve gone back two more times to take different tours.
The first time I visited, my wife surprised me with tickets on a birthday trip to San Luis Obispo. At first I thought to myself, Yuck, I don’t want to go see some rich dude’s “Castle”. How wrong I was.
It can be busy on summer days so call ahead for reservations. When you arrive a bus will take you up the hill to the castle. There is a tour guide that’s gives a very informative narrative explaining a lot and also some basic rules. The house is a work of art in itself. The artifacts all over the grounds are amazing dating back 1000’s of years.
Then there is the pool. Words cannot describe it unless you can think back to some roman Caesar and all the lavish lifestyle.
After the tour I was amazed and like I said returned two more times to see more and enjoy the day.

Visited March 2014
2 Thank Warm-Water_Sailor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
80 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Pleasantly surprised”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2014

I booked a stop at Hearst Castle because all of our friends who had done a drive up the coast had told us we should stop there. Admittedly, we are not fans of these types of attractions but felt that since we were driving through we should stop. The other interest was the connection to Patty Hearst whose kidnapping captivated us during our teen years. Upon arrival at the Visitor Center, everything was well organized. We had not pre purchased our tickets because there seemed to be so many available and tours left every 10 minutes. They shuttle everyone from the Visitor Center to the Castle in buses. It is very, very organized. Upon arrival at the castle, you are greeted by your tour guide who gives you the rules and then proceeds with the tour. We went on the Grand Rooms tour. It was beautiful and the tour guide (Terry) was very good at explaining everything, He seemed incredibly enthusiastic despite having likely told the same story thousands of times. I felt like he was telling it for the first time. After our tour, we were allowed to roam the grounds and look around. All the staff seemed to be so thrilled to answer our questions and proud of the castle, the grounds and the fact that people can visit. Our tour lasted about 45 minutes and then we spent about another 45 minutes looking around and enjoying a spectacular view. Once we got back to the visitors center we were incredibly thankful that we did end up stopping as it was one of the highlights of our trip. Even our 20 something daughter felt that it was an amazing place to visit. I would highly recommend this to all who pass through this area. If you don't stop, you will have missed an amazing place! The other thing, is that it didn't feel 'touristy' and was incredibly well organized! It is truly an "enchanted" experience!

Visited August 2014
3 Thank Teresuzza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“America's Castle”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2014

Hearst Castle is a fascinating architectural feat! A huge structure built high on a hill, it almost seems unreal with the swimming pools, several houses surrounding the grounds and the theater. The furnishings are very opulent and expensive, with lots of mahogany and dark furniture pieces. The kids, ages 15 and 11 were not too thrilled with the visit of the Grand Rooms, until we saw the indoor pool, at the END of the tour. I would give this attraction a higher rating only if you could actually see each building, and the main house for the admission price. It was pretty expensive for 4, even online tickets were $85. It is a California State park...oh, and there are no bathrooms! Only portables, outside the visitor's center because of water shortage in California? And the smell wasn't that good!!!!

Visited July 2014
Thank Stacimcd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oak Hill, Virginia, USA
Level Contributor
36 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Really want to give it 3 1/2 stars due to the price”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2014

This is a good attraction to visit, especially if you are traveling through San Simeon. I wish Trip advisor allowed half stars, because I would give it 3 1/2 due to the price. It is $25pp to see each of the floors: both upstairs and downstairs; so to see both it's $50pp. I wouldn't mind this so much if they let you see more of the rooms than they do. The upstairs tour was definitely more detailed than the downstairs tour, but you can't really see the castle without doing the down stairs tour!
As for the castle itself: it is incredible. It was so interesting to learn about Mr. Hearst and how and why he started this endeavor so late in life. He was ahead of his time in a lot of the things he had installed in the castle and if you listen to the tour guides carefully you quickly get the idea that a weekend spent here during the 1930s was nothing short of magical. The accommodations were first class, and the quests did not have a lack of things to do: two pools, tennis and even a zoo! Our upstairs guide mentioned that a lot of recent movie stars have visited the place, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, and I wonder if that helped him get into character for the Great Gatsby and much earlier the Aviator (modeled after Howard Hughes, another rich American). The castle and estate is nothing short of beautiful, so even though it is expensive I would still recommend visiting it. The views from atop the mountain are stunning. In fact one of the best parts of the trip was the 15 minute bus ride to the top of the mountain to get to the estate. There is quite a big souvenir/gift shop area at the visitor center when you get back down the mountain; you can eat there as well. I don't think you really have to buy tickets in advance for this attraction. We bought them on the day of and it was fine.

Visited July 2014
3 Thank judybudy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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