Hotel Emma is a luxurious 146-room boutique property that makes no apologies for its humble beginnings as a 19th-century brewhouse. From the moment guests enter the lobby of the former Pearl Brewery building, its hard-working past is evident by the room’s star attraction: a colossal engine covered in firehouse red chipped paint. The engine provides a unique backdrop for the perfectly worn leather seating and intimate gathering spots placed strategically throughout the lobby.
The hotel is also home to a 3,700-volume library curated from the personal collection of author Sherry Kafka Wagner. The welcoming space beckons visitors to relax and sit a spell while delving deeper into the city’s 300-year history.
There’s so much to do in the area immediately surrounding the hotel that guests need not leave the premises of the Pearl complex to have a good time. It’s home to beautifully landscaped River Walk trails, a year-round Saturday farmers market, and a satellite campus of the Culinary Institute of America.
The complex sits on the northmost end of San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk and is a hotspot for local foodies. Acclaimed restaurants, The Granary, Cured, and Boiler House, are each within walking distance of the property. Supper is the hotel’s own farm-to-table style eatery. For a more relaxed atmosphere, try sampling the street foods of Mexico at nearby La Gloria.
Hotel Emma’s Sternewirth Tavern & Club Room makes the ideal spot for a nightcap. As one might expect from a South Texas hotel, the bar comes well-stocked with top-shelf tequila. Sternewirth’s most coveted seating can be found in former fermentation tanks cleverly repurposed into circular banquettes.
The staff at Hotel Emma are exceptionally welcoming, and guests can expect to be spoiled with delightful macarons from Bakery Lorraine at turndown service, custom Guayabera robes, and morning coffee from Merit Roasting Co.
Unconventional guest rooms intertwine modern elements with Old-World charm. In the bathrooms, the vintage-style claw foot tubs and elegant brass fixtures conjure images of gilded Parisian mansions, while Mexican saddle-hide benches and plush bedding juxtapose flawlessly against rustic concrete tiles and exposed brick walls in the sleeping areas.