Set atop the rolling hills in San Simeon is Hearst Castle®, one of the most popular tourist destinations in California. Originally built as the private estate of art collector and publisher W.R. Hearst, it has become recognized around the world for its glamour, elegance and authentic art pieces. Today it is a California State Park, open to the public daily for guided tour. Feel the allure of this fascinating country house, where Mr. Hearst entertained movie stars and business tycoons with lavish dinners, private film screenings and glittering parties.
Hearst Castle will offer new summer tours that will include self-guided access to the grounds beginning June 27, 2011. Access Hearst Castle from the North by traveling south on Highway 101 through Paso Robles, taking 46 West to Cambria and then North on Highway 1. If you are traveling from the South, take Highway 1 North from the City of San Luis Obispo. Visitors will be able to book one of three tours:
•The Grand Rooms Tour will take you through the ground floor of Casa Grande including the Assembly Room, Refectory and Billiard Room.
•The Upstairs Suites Tour will guide you into Mr. Hearst's private suite as well as the Library and Guest Suites.
•The Cottages and Kitchen Tour will experience the wine cellar, kitchen and two guest houses.
At the conclusion of each tour, visitors will be able to stroll the gardens and terraces at their leisure, view the iconic Neptune and Roman Pools, and enjoy the views of the surrounding coast and mountains just as Mr. Hearst's guests did. Reservations can be made through www.hearstcastle.com or by calling 1-800-444-4445. Hearst Castle operates from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm for the summer.