Much like the clothes I wear, I love when interior design mixes old and new. A metal pipe chandelier can add interest and intrigue to a modern room with clean lines, or an old space can look new again with a reupholstered vintage sofa. I’m not sure when it began, but I am a HUGE fan of the industrial chic design trend, and there is no hotel I have seen do it better than the new Hotel Emma at The Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, Texas.
A few weeks ago, Erick and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary, and because we waited too long to book reservations, we could only get one night at the Hotel Havana, which is where we stayed on our wedding night. At first, we were both really upset and beating ourselves up that we waited so long, but then we decided to take this opportunity to explore a new place together, like Hotel Emma.
Opening its doors in the fall of 2015, the Hotel Emma is graciously named for its bold history and the pioneer who made it possible, Emma Koehler. In 1881 the brewery opened and not too long after, prohibition struck. Under Emma’s leadership, the Pearl Brewery was the ONLY brewery to remain open in all of San Antonio in this time. Over the next 60 years, the brewery had its ups and downs, until it closed in 2001. In 2002, it was purchased with the plan to revitalize and reuse as much at possible, and transform the building into a hotel.
When I first saw the inside of the hotel, I was in awe at how rustic, yet elegant it appeared. Old fans and generators were left intact, but there were golden light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. The cement walls had a flaky patina that meshed well with the wrought iron staircase in the library. It was like nothing I had seen because it was like stepping in time… a time I never got to see. Walking around, it seemed like nearly every old item from the brewery had been made new again and given a new purpose. In the bar, silos were cut and turned into quaint, private sitting areas, old boilers were planters, the list goes on and on. Seeing so much history preserved and restored made me happy! As you know, Erick and I love visiting places that have history! It is why we chose to visit North Carolina!
Based on the outside and lobby alone, we were both excited to see our room! Although is was a little small, the amenities and view made up for it. Our bathroom was floor to ceiling tile with brass accents (just like my kitchen at home), we had our own fireplace on the balcony and a great view of the Riverwalk. Another fun perk was that there was a wedding happening below our room outside the night we stayed. Erick and I truly enjoyed and treasured watched the two tie the knot since we were there celebrating our own special day. 🙂 Congratulations, whoever you are!!! We loved your wedding and the wonderful mariachis!
How cute is Erick all cozy on the balcony?! <3
Other amenities included a stocked “Ice Box” that even had a lock, welcome cocktails, breakfast credit to use in their restaurant Supper, and tasty surprise snacks brought before bedtime. Originally, the cost of the room was more than we wanted to pay, but after staying just one night, we really thought it was worth it. There is so much to do in the Pearl area, and the hotel was within walking distance to the San Antonio Museum of Art, several restaurants, and much more.
Some people may throw around the phrase “one of a kind,” but the Hotel Emma really is. Erick and I had an incredible time exploring all the hotel had to offer, which was a lot! We walked along the Riverwalk, gazed at the beautiful architecture, played pool, enjoyed pour over coffee service in the morning and of course with the Culinary Institute of America nearby, snuck in a few snacks. 🙂
And if you have little ones and are wondering if the place is kid-friendly… it definitely is! When Erick and I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant, there was a little girl with an American Girl doll. The waiter got the doll her own chair and plate to eat with the family. It was beyond adorable! <3
We both definitely recommend this place and already want to go back. If you don’t want to stay in a room, you can view the lobby, bar, restaurant and other specialty stores by simply paying a visit. I would personally go on a Sunday morning so the place isn’t so crowded, but if you want drinks, I say Friday night! Saturday during the day is a farmer’s market and at night they are PACKED. Whenever you are going, make a reservation ahead of time to be safe. Even the bar, Sternewirth, will reserve a table for you.
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, advice, and whatnot. Until then… Happy travels and exploring, friends!