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Santa Monica's Annenberg Beach House Opens to the Masses

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Santa Monica’s Annenberg Beach House, a renovation of the old 1920s estate built by William Randolph Hearst, opens this weekend to much fanfare. A two year rehabilitation, the project on Pacific Coast Highway was done by local architecture firm Frederick Fisher & Partners, who built two new structures—the pool house and the event house—and renovated the white guest house. (The main house was torn down in the 1950s.) The pool, which has the original decking and tiles, is probably the centerpiece of the whole place: It was designed by the late architect Julia Morgan, who also designed Hearst’s San Simeon estate. There are similarities between this pool and the pool at San Simeon, according to Barbara Stinchfield, director of community and cultural services with the city of Santa Monica. As far as the new pool house," the structure is is intended to frame the historic pool and reinterpret the old mansion," says Stinchfield. Frederick Fisher & Partners designed the new columns outside the pool, a nod to the original mansion. Before the property was damaged by the Northridge earthquake, it was operated by the Santa Monica and before that, it was used as the Sand and Sea Club. Here are the scrappy DIY photos; the fancy photos of the renovation will come tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Lookout News has more on the history of the estate: Hearst built the original structure for his lover, Marion Davies. A girl really got treated well back then.

What.: A new 5-acre beach facility open to the public. Amenities include a pool, volleyball/beach tennis courts, spaces for events and meetings, Back on the Beach café, a children’s play area, public art, a splash pad and an historic guest house from the former Marion Davies estate.

Hours. Most of the facility will be open from 8:30 am – 6 pm. Starting on weekends in May, the pool will be open from 10 am – 6 pm.

Membership. The Beach House is a public facility open to all, no membership required.

Location. The Beach House is located at 415 Pacific Coast Highway, north of the California Incline and Santa Monica Pier, and south of Will Rogers State Beach.

Getting There.
CAR: On-site parking is limited – advance reservations will be recommended. Payment will be required at the time of reservation.

BUS: The Big Blue Bus Beach Ride will serve the Beach House on weekends in the summer (May –September).

BIKE: Located directly adjacent to the South Bay Bike Trail there is ample bike parking on site. A low-cost bike valet service may be offered on weekends.

Reservations. Due to expected demand for use of the pool, parking and volleyball courts, reservations will be strongly suggested but not required. Reservations may be made online up to 3 days in advance of visits, with payment required at the time of reservation. A percentage of total capacity will be available on a walk-up basis.

Entry Fees. Pool passes are $4 for children, $5 for seniors, $10 for adults – or $24 for a family pass (2 kids, 2 adults). Parking ranges from $6 – 10 per day or $3 – 4 per hour depending on time of year. Volleyball courts may be reserved ahead of time for $5, or are available on a walk up basis for free.

· Annenberg Beach House [Official Site]