Night at Hearst Castle up for grabs

Sept. 10, 2008 at 3:01 PM

SAN SIMEON, Calif., Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Anyone with thousands of dollars to spare can bid for a chance to live like a newspaper baron for a night at William Randolph Hearst's California castle.

San Simeon, Hearst's famous estate on the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is a state historic monument. The castle that played host to movie stars and famous writers is now a museum.

The estate was the model for Xanadu, the Florida castle inhabited by Charles Foster Kane, the Hearst-like newspaper baron played by Orson Welles in the classic film "Citizen Kane."

A non-profit group seeking to restore and protect Hearst's art collection is auctioning off a night at the castle on eBay, the Los Angeles Times reports. The winner can spend the night at the castle with a spouse or partner and entertain eight friends, who will sleep at a nearby resort.

"Joe P. Average was not going to be invited to the castle," said Carol Schreiber, director of Friends of Hearst Castle. "Now the attitude is more: 'This is the people's castle.'"

Of course, the winning Joe P. Average is likely to be well-heeled. Organizers hope to raise $100,000 from the auction.

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