Escapes: Hearst Castle Roman Pool

Escapes: Hearst Castle Roman Pool

Laure Joliet
Aug 15, 2007

Pool Party Everyone! We wish, anyway. You may know about our love for pools, but please let us introduce you to the Roman Indoor Pool at Hearst Castle. Located on a hilltop in San Simeon, virtually in the middle of nowhere on 127 acres, William Randolph Hearst built a 165 room castle. Castle! With the most incredible tiled indoor pool we have ever seen.

The whole room is tiled from floor to celing in deep blue and gold 1" glass tiles (and those are high ceilings and a deep pool). Seriously, how many tiles are there?

image from Daniella Zalcman'sflickr page.

The tiles, called Smalti, were inspired by the 5th Century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia and represent a traditional marine monster theme. The ceiling tiles create a picture of the stars in the sky. The whole experience is at once overwhelming and magical. Plus Roman gods and goddesses are all around (well as statues) watching you, making sure you are indulging, if you know what we mean. Because of all the tile, the room is eerily silent but the echo of even a drop of water overtakes you. We can only imagine the kinds of frolicking that happened in this pool--where all sense of reality is completely suspended.

It's such a good representation of the golden age of California. Where extravagance and escape knew no bounds. Up for a dip, anyone?

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