New summer tour focuses on Hearst Castle's design

ktanner@thetribunenews.comMay 16, 2013 

For three summer months, visitors to Hearst Castle will be able to see parts of the state park that haven’t been open to the public for years.

The new “Designing the Dream” tour covers the design evolution of William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon manor. The tour “showcases the extraordinary story of the design and nearly three-decade-long evolution of this hilltop estate,” according to Nick Franco, state park district superintendent.

State Parks plans to offer the guided tour several times daily, starting June 1 and continuing through Labor Day, Sept. 2. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for ages 5 through 12. Children under 5 are admitted free.

Admission also includes a showing of the 40-minute, large-format film, “Building the Dream” at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center.

The 75-minute tour include the gardens, iconic outdoor Neptune Pool and interior rooms of Casa del Sol, which at 18 rooms is the largest of three guest “cottages,” and goes on to the North Wing of the 68,500-square foot, 38-bedroom Casa Grande (the estate’s primary mansion). Guest rooms in that wing were completed in the late 1930s and mid-1940s, where construction is starkly different from areas built earlier. Work began in 1919.

Visitors wind up behind the scenes at the gilded indoor Roman Pool, peering into dressing rooms.

After the guided tour, visitors may stroll through the gardens and terraces at their leisure, enjoying the views of the Pacific, the coast and mountains, just as Hearst’s guests did during the estate’s heyday.

Reservations can be made online at and by phone at 800-444-4445.

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