The Cambrian

Want to really impress your date? How about dinner and a movie — at Hearst Castle?

Want to really impress your date? Try suggesting “dinner and a movie … at Hearst Castle!”

It’ll be a pricey but priceless experience, offered this year on two Sunday nights (Oct. 6 and Nov. 3). Attendance will be limited to 15 people per evening at the former estate of 1930s-era media mogul William Randolph Hearst.

The events are only for members of The Foundation at Hearst Castle nonprofit (formerly Friends of Hearst Castle). To go, you’ll have to join the foundation and then pay a $950 donation per ticket for the enchanted evening. Membership fees start at $42 a month.

The ticket cost and the membership fees benefit The Foundation, a nonprofit state cooperating association that leads preservation and conservation of the world-renowned historic landmark.

The rare experiences will include an intimate, seated dinner on the glass-enclosed sun porch of the Castle’s 5,350-square-foot Casa del Mar guesthouse, complete with a sunset-time view of the Pacific Ocean. The cottage, once occupied by the Hearst family, has eight bedrooms, six bathrooms and five fireplaces. It’s the largest of the Castle’s three guesthouses.

After the lavish “date night” meal, the evening will continue with a stroll through the gardens and a showing of a Hearst-era film in the Castle’s 50-seat private theater, complete with red damask walls and golden goddess lights.

“It’s said that W.R. himself seemed most relaxed in his ornate, 50-seat movie theater, where he would enjoy a movie or performance, surrounded by actress Marion Davies and his dachshund, his famous guests gathered around him. The theater, which leads off the billiard room, was used both for amateur theatricals and the showing of movies from Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Studios and others,” according to a foundation media release.

And for the ultimate date night, how about the Holiday Feast on Saturday, Dec. 7, with a sit-down dinner matched to top-notch wines served in the Castle’s Refectory, Hearst’s own dining hall? Again, it’s for Foundation members only, with a $1,500 donation per person ($1,750 after Nov. 1). For details, or to book online, go to

This year’s previously offered swims in the Neptune and Roman pools have sold out.

The Foundation at Hearst Castle’s mission is to support the conservation and restoration of Hearst Castle, and to offer youth programs for underserved middle school students — enhancing their appreciation of the art and architecture of the world-class museum and monument and ultimately inspiring future generations of visionaries.

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