Hearst Castle Grand Rooms Tour - San Simeon, CA

If you're looking for a glimpse into the lifestyle of the rich and famous during the early 20th century, the Grand Rooms Tour at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA is a must-see attraction. This tour takes visitors through the most extravagant rooms of the castle, which was once the residence of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the Grand Rooms Tour and explore the history and architecture of this landmark.

The Grand Rooms Tour is a 60-minute $30 guided tour that takes visitors through the main house of Hearst Castle. The tour includes a visit to the Assembly Room, which was used for social gatherings and events, as well as the Refectory, which was the castle's main dining room. Guests from all over the world would gather in this room. Visitors will also get to see the Billiard Room, which features a ceiling mural and a collection of antique billiard tables, and the Theater, which was used to screen films for Hearst and his guests.

Photo by Steven Buena

Photo by Steven Buena

Hearst Castle Travel Tips 

(Updated 3/1/24)

Book Tickets in Advance: 

Reserve your tour tickets for Hearst Castle online or by phone ahead of time to secure your preferred tour time and date.

Arrive Early: 

Arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled tour time to allow for parking, ticket pickup, and security screening.

Wear Comfortable Shoes: 

Wear comfortable walking shoes as tours involve walking and stair climbing, and some areas have uneven surfaces.

Dress Appropriately: 

Dress in layers as temperatures can vary throughout the day, and consider bringing a hat and sunscreen for outdoor portions of the tour. 

Follow Tour Guidelines: 

Listen to your tour guide and follow all instructions and guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for yourself and other visitors.

Explore the Grounds: 

Take time to explore the grounds, including the gardens, outdoor pool, and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

Visit the Visitor Center: 

Stop by the visitor center before or after your tour to learn more about the history of Hearst Castle and pick up souvenirs.

Respect Photography Rules: 

Follow the photography rules during your tour, which may restrict photography inside certain areas of the castle.

Plan for Transportation: 

Consider transportation options to and from Hearst Castle, including guided tours, shuttle services, or driving yourself.

Check for Special Events: 

Keep an eye out for special events, lectures, and exhibitions happening at Hearst Castle throughout the year for additional experiences.

One of the highlights of the Grand Rooms Tour is the tour of the indoor Roman Pool. This pool is lined with blue and gold mosaic tiles and features statues of Roman gods and goddesses. The pool is surrounded by marble columns and is one of the most impressive features of the castle.

Photo by Steven Buena

Throughout the tour, visitors will learn about the history and architecture of Hearst Castle and its creator, William Randolph Hearst. Hearst was a media mogul who inherited a fortune from his father and used his wealth to build his dream home on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Hearst Castle was designed by architect Julia Morgan and was built over a period of 28 years.

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In addition to the Grand Rooms Tour, Hearst Castle offers a variety of other tours and experiences, including the Upstairs Suites Tour, the Cottages and Kitchen Tour, and the Evening Tour. Visitors can also explore the castle's gardens and outdoor areas, which offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Overall, the Grand Rooms Tour at Hearst Castle is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in history, architecture, or just looking for a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the rich and famous. With its architecture, fancy furnishings, and fascinating history, Hearst Castle is a true California must-see destination.

For more information, check out the official site.


For $45, you can purchase photos (physical prints + digital) taken behind a green screen. If you just want the printed copies, it’s $40. Digital copies are just $5 extra. Examples below of the photo package: 

Know Before You Go:

There are quite a few stairs so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. 

I got reprimanded for not staying on the blue carpet in some of the rooms. To preserve the beauty of the historic location, stay on the blue carpet! 

Also, only water bottles are permitted so throw out your soda or juice before hopping on the bus to the castle. 

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