Would You Pay $950 to Attend a Pool Party at Hearst Castle?

Jun 16, 2019

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Beverly Hills may be known for outlandish celebrity homes, but in San Simeon on the Central Coast, a Jazz Age mansion to rival that of the Great Gatsby is opening up its two pools for select dates this summer — for anyone willing to pay $950 and become a member of the Foundation at Hearst Castle, that is.

Hearst Castle was commissioned by publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst — whose empire, though diminished, still publishes Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar and Town & Country, among other titles — and took more than 20 years to complete. Hearst’s father, George, had made a fortune in the California Gold Rush and bought the failing San Francisco Examiner to further his political career. William Randolph grew the business into a superpower and dominated publishing for the first half of the 20th century.

He hired architect Julia Morgan to build the palatial 165-room abode in 1919 and filled it with priceless art and artifacts from Europe and beyond. According to the Los Angeles Times, the two pools are among the most photographed parts of the mansion, which is now run by the California State Parks system.

The Roman pool at Hearst Castle. (Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen / Unsplash)
The Roman pool at Hearst Castle. (Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen / Unsplash)

The 104-foot-long Neptune Pool — famous for its colonnades and Italian relief sculptures — will be open from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on July 6; on Aug. 3 and 14; and again on Sept. 21 for up to 40 guests. Last October, the pool was reopened after a $10 million renovation that required it to be drained and have cracks repaired. The massive pool is more than three feet deep at the shallow end, 10 feet deep in the deep end and holds 345,000 gallons of water.

The indoor Roman Pool will be open for just 20 guests during the same hours on July 20 and Oct. 19. The mosaic tiles surrounding the pool were inspired by a 5th-century mausoleum in Ravenna, in northern Italy, and the pool is flanked by statues of Greek and Roman gods, goddesses and heroes.

Pool parties will include “a fabulous selection of fancy foods, as well as the Central Coast’s finest wines and craft beers.” Members of the Foundation at Hearst Castle — a nonprofit dedicated to the estate’s preservation — can attend for $950 per person (Hearst Castle’s director of development confirmed to The Points Guy that the pool parties are for members only). The events are meant as fundraisers to support the preservation of Hearst Castle’s grounds and art collection as well as new youth programs designed to inspire underserved middle school students in California.

Not a member? Memberships start at $500, which includes three tour tickets and a $50 store credit.

Then again, for just $25 you can take a tour of Hearst Castle — pool time not included.

Featured photo courtesy of the Foundation at Hearst Castle.

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