Your chance to swim in a Hearst Castle pool is now

Originally published at:


To think that 100 years ago or so there was that kind of money in newspapers.


I have buzzed Hearst Castle in a military chopper at night. Groovy.


Probably not heated anymore …


Can I piss in it while whispering, “Rosebud” over and over?


I am no art snob. I am not judging the taste of others. I’m gonna get so much hate, but…

But this says to me “I have a billion dollars. I have unlocked a new skill: epic vulgarity”. Lapis lazuli on the walls. Roman statues (probably real ones). Lotsa bling. Mozarabic doodads on the gallery. Horrible intent, beautifully executed. Like Nero’s Golden House.

It’s awesome, but me no likey.


There’s that kind of money in Facebook these days. Get to run the projector in Plato’s Cave, and the politicians and public dance for you.


It’s William Randolph Fucking Hearst. Everybody here agrees with you, bro.


There’s a lot you could say about Hearst. A quick reread of wikipedia may inspire you to go off on many tangents, but a few important themes emerge - hubris and wealth very easily can lead to downfall, and Hearst suffered the public embarrassment of this, just averting complete bankruptcy, and then seeing a financial surge during WWII. His unrestrained collecting and ostentatious taste reminds me of a couple folks…

His contributions to journalism are hardly laudable (fake news alive and well, yellow journalism too) but I find his contributions to the magazine trade more interesting - he was working in the peak era of illustration over photography, when magazine covers were drawn by America’s best commercial artists. As such, he was not just a patron and collector of art, but a ‘commissioner’ of art. He also loved aviation and focused a lot of attention on the subject apparently, which I can appreciate [though no aviation magazine? Only Popular Mechanics?]. Also, lots of car ads.

While his own journalism ethics may have been lacking, his son William Randolph Hearst Jr “won a Pulitzer Prize for his interview with Soviet premier, Nikita Khrushchev, and associated commentaries in 1955.”

And of course, his granddaughter, Patty Hearst.

His wife puts him to shame with her own philanthropy, “Millicent separated from Hearst in the mid-1920s after tiring of his longtime affair with [Marion] Davies, but the couple remained legally married until Hearst’s death. Millicent built an independent life for herself in New York City as a leading philanthropist. She was active in society and in 1921 created the Free Milk Fund for the poor.”

Lots to think about.


Having visited and toured the house about 15 or more years ago, I think I’d prefer the outdoor Neptune pool, for a swim, despite the eye-watering grandeur of the indoor Roman pool.
Here’s some info re each.


I could deal with all of that. But cutting up manuscripts to make lampshades was just rude.

(Photo of one at flickr: .)


Oooh, just like Orson Welles in that movie about the rich guy!


Can I really put a price on it?



As much as I really like lapis lazuli on walls it’s William Randolph fucking Hurst.

I was recently near there and contemplated going there only to mimic Ozzy Osbourne at the Alamo- anyone who did that much to make refeer madness stick 100 years later deserves to have their estate pissed on.

Alas, itinerary didn’t allow.


Still more tasteful than Trump’s gold dictator chic, though.


When my kids were tiny, we drove down south with another couple and their kids. We stopped near Hearst Castle, played in the pool at the hotel, had a nice meal then did the tour the next day. This was in the fairly early days of digital cameras and I made lots of snappy snappys. For whatever reason, I combined a shot of us playing in the hotel pool shoop’d into the outdoor Neptune Pool. My friend loved it. As it happens, later on he happened to rub elbows with some descendant of the family and he sends her the pic via email (long before fondleslab/smartphones). This gal damn near fainted. OMG! How did you!? Security! What? When?!

Now for only $1k I can actually go swim there? Cool.


Ahem, brag alert… My apologies…

I have swum in the Neptune pool! A family friend was a tour guide at the castle for 20+ years and part of the gig is that once a year they got to invite guests to swim for a couple hours. So over the years my entire family has had the chance to swim there. It was a pretty magical experience.

IIRC, circa 2005, nobody was allowed to swim in the indoor pool any more. I guess in the past the guides got to use that one occasionally too, but something about it was deemed too delicate for even that intermittent use.


Conquerors and their masters usually strip conquests of treasures, right? Hearst Castle, The Tombs, British Museum, yada yada. It’s a perq of winning.

The swim is in the Neptune pool, despite the article picture. I think the mosaic pool is too fragile to even be a possibility.