On Sunday, October 21st Hearst Castle reopened its iconic Neptune Pool after 4 years of being under renovation. To celebrate they hosted a grand reopening called “The Sunset Soiree.” This exclusive event was attended by 250 guests and only 50 were given the opportunity to take a plunge into an architectural piece of central coast history – The Neptune Pool. Pre-sale tickets to attend started at $275 and tickets to swim started at $1100. The proceeds from ticket sales are to fund the conservation and restoration of Hearst Castle.
So was the grandiose price tag worth the cost to jump into one of the top 10 most photographed pools in the world?
Guests were swept away to the castle grounds via limo from the visitor center. On arrival, they ascended the grand staircase and were greeted with glasses of wine and champagne from our local vineyards: Hearst Ranch, Presqu’ile, Talley, Cuttruzola, Still Waters, Chateau Margene and Daou. Large tables filled with charcuterie and fresh seafood were available at the footsteps of Casa Del Sol for all guests to enjoy; along with an array of passed hors d’oeurves. Glass in hand you could take a leisurely stroll and mingle around the Neptune Pool grounds. All while enjoying breathtaking views of the ocean and sunset.
This event made it easy to imagine what it would be like during an evening party hosted by William Hearst himself – enjoying conversations with interesting people from all walks of life. Whether you survived cancer, were celebrating your birthday, a huge Lady Gaga fan, or were a person of unimaginable wealth for this moment in time there was a feeling of togetherness. People were open, kind and easy to talk to. The evening was filled with dynamic conversations and everyone was so happy it was infectious. There is no doubt that despite all the years that have gone by, Hearst Castle still stands as a testament of dreams, decadence, and art.
Towards the end of the evening, guests gathered around the Neptune Pool for a surprise performance. Eight gorgeous girls from Aquabatix dressed in bright red swimsuits and white caps descended the Neptune Veranda. They gracefully made their way to the Neptune Pool for a synchronized swim as the melodies of Baz Lhurmann’s, “The Great Gatsby” filled the air. The performance was magical and a great way to close out the end of the first part of the evening. Shortly after visitors were escorted down the mountain to allow more privacy for the 50 lucky swimmers of the night.
Only those with VIP wristbands remained. They were escorted to changing in the changing rooms of Hearst Castle where they got into their swim gear and proceeded to jump, dip and dive to their heart’s content as hot chocolate and cognac was passed around. Truly a magical way to end such an enchanting and unforgettable evening. You can’t help but ask the question on everyone’s mind – “How can we swim in one of the Hearst Castle pools?!” Lucky for us we were able to interview Jeanette Trompeter (President of the Board of Directors for Friends of Hearst Castle) to ask that very question:
As locals, we often forget about the castle, what William Hearst described as “my little hideaway on my little hill.” A quick drive north from San Luis Obispo, Hearst Castle is a great full day event for you and your family. After wandering the grounds and letting yourself fall back in time, head back down the hill and stop by Sebastian’s for lunch. Located directly across from the Heart Castle entrance this cute little restaurant doubles as a Hearst Winery tasting room and serves some amazing Hearst Ranch beef. There is also a pier where you can relax with friends and take in a beautiful sunset. So what are you waiting for? Make plans to stop by this architectural treasure. With over 750,000 visitors annually Hearst Castle is a must visit for all locals to enjoy!