Imagine taking a dip in one of Hearst Castle's ornate pools on a warm summer evening. The historic swimming pools at the famously opulent private residence built by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst will open for pool parties on selected evenings - with a $1,250-per-person ticket price.

The pools have been among the most photographed parts of the 165-room mansion designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947.

The Neptune Pool, famous for its sweeping colonnades and Italian relief sculptures, will be open 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 6, Aug. 3 and 24, and Sept. 21. It's 104 feet long, and more than 3 feet at the shallow end and 10 feet at the deep end. It was drained in 2014 to fix cracks and refilled in 2018 in a project that cost $10 million.

Pool parties are limited to 40 guests.

For the same price, the indoor Roman Pool, which shimmers with deep blue glass tiles and is decorated with statues of Greek and Roman figures, will open the same evening hours to just 20 guests on July 20 and Oct. 19. Mosaic tile patterns covering the pool area were inspired by a 5th century mausoleum in Ravenna, Italy.

Pool parties include "savory and sweet treats" as well as local wines and craft beers, the website said. Prices drop to $950 for Foundation at Hearst Castle members. The events benefit the foundation, which raises money to support conservation and restoration at the 127-acre site.

Tickets go on sale July 1.

For three decades, Morgan worked with Hearst on the design of the lavish home formally called La Cuesta Encantada. Hearst died in 1951, and in 1958 his home was established as a California state park and opened to public tours.

Without a swim, travelers can take the 60-minute guided Grand Rooms Tour and see both pools ($25 for adults, $12 for children 5 though 12).


Info: Hearst Castle Pool Parties, https://foundationathearstcastle.com/events

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