What happens when you have limitless money, power and what seems like time on your hands…you build the most lavish and opulent residence in the United States, Hearst Castle.
Originally a landholding grant bought by Hearst Family in 1865 at 30,000 acres, the real story of the castle starts in 1919 when William Randolph Hearst inherited the property from his mother and the family’s land holding swelled to 250,000 acres, or around 390 square miles!
Hearst tired of camping in tents on the property, hired famed architect Julia Morgan to build him something a little more comfortable. Construction started in 1919 and continued through 1947 on his comfortable estate, “La Cuesta Encantada.” In the end, the estate was in excess of 90,000 square feet contained in the four main buildings along with a movie theater, airport, and a private zoo.
There are even two pools: the outdoor Neptune pool, which feels like you are in ancient Greek bathhouse, and the indoor Roman pool, that feels like a Turkish bath with deep blue tiles and gold accents. Everything in the estate was done to the highest detail, even the ceiling beams are ornate and decorative like you have never seen.
During a visit here you can understand why people of the 1920s-1940s considered it the highest honor to be invited to stay at the La Cuesta Encantada. Some notable guests included: Calvin Coolidge, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Charles Lindberg, Bob Hope, and even Charlie Chaplin. The Hearst family still uses the property to this day and famous guests still visit from time to time.
When leaving estate along Pacific Coast Highway make sure to keep your eyes open for some of the wild zebras that still roam the property after the zoo was closed.