|Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California|
Just minutes from the historic Hearst Castle where my sister and I spent the day, nestled along one of my favourite coastal drives is the Morgan at San Simeon. A lovely boutique-style hotel with a warmth and personality all its own.
Serving as a midpoint between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Morgan at San Simeon is convenient not only when visiting Hearst Castle, but all the wineries in Paso Robles. Named after renowned architect Julia Morgan, who in 1919 designed Hearst Castle.
The Morgan at San Simeon Hotel
American architect Julia Morgan designed over 700 buildings in the state of California, 100 in Hawaii and multiple buildings for institutions serving women and girls.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, Morgan was one of the first woman to graduate from University of California Berkley with a degree in civil engineering. Morgan worked on several buildings on the Berkeley campus, including the decorative elements for the Hearst Mining Building and the Hearst Greek Theater. She is the first woman to receive a certificate in architecture from Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
In 1904, Miss Morgan opened her own architectural firm and quickly established herself as a fine residential architect. Within no time she secured a number of commissions in the Piedmont, Claremont and Berkeley neighborhoods.
Julia Morgan is perhaps best known as the mastermind behind Hearst Castle, also known as La Cuesta Encantada, which overlooks the San Simeon harbor. She was handpicked by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearts for this particular project, which proved to be her largest and most complex. As impressive today as the day it opened, Hearst Castle is now a National Historic Landmark and the pinnacle of Julia Morgan's genius.
Other notable projects by Julia Morgan include: the rebuilding of the Fairmont Hotel after the 1906 earthquake, the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California, and a series of YMCA buildings throughout California, Hawaii and Utah. Julia Morgan retired in the early 1950's and led a quiet life until her passing in 1957.
History of Hearst Castle...
In 1865, George Hearst, a wealthy miner, purchased 40,000-acres of California ranchland that included the Mexican Ranchos of Piedras Blancas, San Simeon and Santa Rosa.
In 1919, his only son, William Randolph Hearst, inherited the land from his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. By then the ranch had grown to encompass 250,000 acres.
Originally known as “Camp Hill,” its wilderness offered a place for family members and friends to “rough it” on camping trips. Despite elaborate arrangements with separate sleeping and dining tents, Hearst envisioned more comfortable accommodations. His simple instructions to famed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan in 1919: “Miss Morgan, we are tired of camping out in the open at the ranch in San Simeon and I would like to build a little something”
Hearst and Morgan’s collaboration was destined to become one of the world’s greatest attractions and showplaces. As they were planning and constructing his dream home in the Central Coast of California, Hearst renamed the rocky perch from which it rose “La Cuesta Encantada” – The Enchanted Hill. By 1947, Hearst and Morgan had created an estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways.
The estate’s magnificent main house, “Casa Grande,” and three guest houses are of Mediterranean Revival style, while the imposing towers of Casa Grande were inspired by a Spanish cathedral. The blending of the architectural style with the surrounding land, and Hearst’s superb European and Mediterranean art collection, was so seamless that world-renowned architectural historian, Lord John Julius Norwich, was moved to say that “Hearst Castle is a palace in every sense of the word.”
Visit Hearst Castle
It was an marvellous day which I wrapped up with the Morgan's Hot Stone Massage.
The RMT who took great care of me was Cindy Noble, a skilled practitioner who moved to San Simeon from LA to enjoy a more quiet and less frantic lifestyle. Cindy works as an animal rescue worker, and attends to Spa appointments primarily in the evenings.
If you are planning a visit, make sure to ask to have Cindy for your evening massage and check out their relaxing Morgan Massage Treat which includes:
- One night stay in your choice of room
- Two 60-minute "The Morgan" signature massages
- One bottle of red or white wine from Harmony Cellars, local favorites!
- Two souvenir logoed wine glasses
- Free continental breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi
The Morgan is by no means a full Spa, it is one room offering both traditional and modern massage therapies designed to eliminate tension and energize: warm stone therapy, relaxing and deep tissue massages, facial massages, hand and foot massages or reflexology. They also offer a couples massage, all to revitalize both body and mind.
What I liked is their 30-minute enhancement to any service, offered for $45.
If I had known just how skilled Cindy was, I would have added on several other treatments!
Massage Services at the Morgan at San Simeon Hotel