The Cambrian

Want to swim in the iconic Hearst Castle pools? Here’s how you can — but it’ll cost you

Hearst Castle Neptune Pool celebrates opening

Hearst Castle's iconic Neptune Pool celebrates reopening with a pool party including the Aquabatix synchronized swimmers and 250 guests.
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Hearst Castle's iconic Neptune Pool celebrates reopening with a pool party including the Aquabatix synchronized swimmers and 250 guests.

Have you ever dreamed of being a guest at the lavish hilltop San Simeon estate of media magnate William Randolph Hearst, including swimming in those iconic pools?

Members of The Foundation at Hearst Castle will have opportunities to experience that atmosphere and history starting up close and personal in special fundraising events starting in July. That includes swimming in the Neptune Pool on four selected dates this year, and on another two nights, swimming in the indoor Roman Pool.

Food, wine, music and historic atmosphere will be provided. The massive, nearly 90-year-old Neptune Pool, constructed of Vermont marble in various iterations during the mid-1920s, is probably the most frequently photographed site on the estate. But the popularity of the indoor Roman Pool would be close behind, with its marble sculptures, iconic diving platform and sparkling floor-to-ceiling cobalt-and-gold tile.

Upcoming Neptune Pool swims are set for July 6, Aug. 3, Aug. 24 and Sept. 21. Roman Pool swims will be July 20 and Oct. 19. A maximum of 40 tickets will be sold for each of the Neptune Pool events; 20 tickets will be available for each Roman Pool swim.

Tickets to the member-only swim events go on sale July 1 for a donation of $950 each. Annual foundation membership, which includes other benefits, starts at the $500 level. Incorrect previous reports published elsewhere about the fundraising events indicated that nonmembers could attend for a higher ticket cost.

And foundation leaders have been striving to clarify the specifics: The events are for foundation members only.

“Part of our fundraising strategy is to offer exclusive events that allow our members to experience Hearst Castle in a way that authentically replicates living history,” said Michael Young of Cambria, the foundation’s executive director. “ ... We want to bring to life what it was really like to be a guest there.”

The swim events also will include brief historical retrospectives about the history of the pools. Young said the new swim events for members replace the seven swim parties that were auctioned off each year to fundraiser attendees. People with the winning bids could bring 10 friends and spend a couple of hours in and around the Neptune Pool.

The 36-year-old Foundation nonprofit supports castle preservation and youth programs while also providing its members with unique benefits and accesses to the Castle.

Other events

Among the Foundation’s other special member-only events, each of which require an additional donation, are:

• Dinner-and-a-movie date nights on the hilltop, with the meal served in the Casa del Mar guest cottage and the film shown in the historic Hearst Castle theater where W.R. Hearst used to show the latest movies to his guests. Those events are to be Oct. 4 and Nov. 2.

• The reinstated Holiday Feast dinner in the famed Assembly Room, set for Dec. 7.

For details, go to www.foundationathearstcastle.com/events.

As part of a $5.4 million renovation project, contractors have spent months stripping the massive Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle and repairing leaks that have plagued it for years. Now, the pool is being temporarily filled with water to test for le

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