June 6, 2010

Hearst Castle: The Indoor Pool

The Roman indoor pool at Hearst Castle.

Himself: Up and out by seven to the Auto Museum where he is helping docent a car show.

Herself: Worked on this entry till almost nine. Walk. Stores. Played here, cooked dinner….I cannot believe I am so domestic.

Gratitude: A quiet day.

The indoor pool fascinates me. I long to jump in to it’s ten foot depths and do a few laps. I’m mesmerized by the richness of the mosaics, and I am tantalized by visions of the rich and famous playing in its depths.

Above the pool are the tennis courts.

Yes, it is ten feet deep everywhere except for an area in the water behind the diving platform....perhaps 12x15. The gold is real. These Roman Pool mosaics will take your breath away too. The pool was heated and the air was steam heated around it. Situated into a hill, outside you will find doors and stairs that are in odd shapes and places to conform to the hill. On one side, there is even a stairway that leads nowhere. On top are the tennis courts. No longer used because of the glass skylights inset into the surface, they leak less now because of careful maintenance.

PlanetWare says of the indoor pool, “The other, a Roman bath, is under cover and is so big that Hearst had two tennis courts built on top of it. The concrete building is faced in tiles of brightly colored Venetian glass and some of gold, a task which took the Italian craftsmen three years to complete. Hearst was said to have derived the inspiration for this from a visit to the fifth century Galla Placidia Mausoleum in Ravenna.”

Above: Door to diving platform, and the clarity of the water with reflections of the alabaster lamp shades and the marble ladder.

Originally, one of the perks of working here at the Castle was permission to swim in the pools. Last time we were here, that permission had been revoked. This time, our first guide told us that once a year the staff were allowed to swim in the outdoor Grecian pool.

Outside to the north, there are stairs disappearing into a wall, and to the south, a tiny door opens onto working spaces.


  1. You did a terrific photography job in getting us to see the scale and the magnificence. I am usually put off by opulence because it is more show and less comfort. But I must say that this pool is a lovely work of art. Just wish it wasn't ALL 10 foot deep. Clearly they did not have children to entertain.

  2. It seems wrong that no one is able to enjoy the pool. Perhaps it would age better if it were used once in awhile. these types of things were ususally designed to be used, not left to sit. I will voluteer my precious time to spend a little bit of it swimming in the pool, even though I have not worn a suit in years.......it would be worth it. Amazing stuff.

  3. The mosaics are beautiful. I'm astounded by the wealth...

  4. Appreciate your post. The indoor pools are just awesome with beautiful pics. The more it looks attractive the more is the maintenance required. It is advisable to have a pool leak detection test done periodically in order to maintain the beauty and avoid loss of water.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...