Hotel Emma: A Gem in the heart of San Antonio

San Antonio? That place with the Riverwalk? As far as major cities in Texas, San Antonio seems to frequently slip into obscurity. It seems nobody speaks much of it, knows much about it. It is always overshadowed by Dallas, Austin, or Houston. If there is one thing about San Antonio that I do frequently come across, it is the Hotel Emma. This hotel is making waves and making all of the best lists. They have received a number of accolades, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t already heard about it.

Hotel Emma is located within a district called the Pearl named for the brewery that was there in the 1910s. It is quite close to downtown San Antonio with the riverwalk extending to this area (the riverwalk is actually 15 miles!) and nestled amongst a number of restaurants, shops, and residential living spaces. If the Hotel Emma itself isn’t entertainment enough, you will easily have plenty of exploring by just walking out the front door. Now, Emma is named for Emma Koehler who ran the brewery. Her husband Otto died in 1914 after being murdered by …. another Emma! The story on their website of the 3 Emmas is rather jaw dropping and most definitely worth a quick read.

The inside of the hotel is really one of a kind. In the lobby, you can read about the history of the hotel, relax in one of their many comfortable leather chairs, explore inside their beautiful library, shop at Curio for unique gifts, grab treats at gourmet grocer Larder, or have a cocktail at Sternewirth. The two story library is open to hotel guests and has quite the collection of books. There is a grand staircase inside leading up to the second level that overlooks the ground floor. In the mornings, hotel guests can go inside to grab water and their morning cup of coffee. For cocktails, Sternewirth is quite the showpiece. The room is rather spectacular with extremely tall ceilings and comfortable seating spaces. Their menu is innovative and rotates a selection of different craft cocktail creations. I have been a handful of times, and the menu always has different variations.

As far as the actual hotel room, there are a number of options to choose from. My choice was the Artesian River Cellar King mainly because of my want to use the oversized clawfoot soaking tub. Speaking of bathtubs, for me, the highlight of this hotel room was the bathroom. It had beautiful blue and white tiling with gold accents. In addition to the tub, there was a spacious shower. All of the bath products were Los Poblanos and lavender scent. My favorites were the bath salts and lotion. Los Poblanos is actually an inn and organic farm in New Mexico. The products were a distinctive choice and probably not something I would have otherwise come across, so it was definitely a nicely appointed touch. The room itself was spacious with muted decor. The armoire in the corner contained the “ice box” with two complimentary bottles of water and an assortment of fun snacks and, of course, alcohol. I also enjoyed the bathrobe and slippers they provided for being different. Doesn’t virtually every hotel offer a white bathrobe and matching slippers? At Hotel Emma, the seersucker robes from Dos Carolinas are a local touch. Their store is actually within the Pearl. The slippers were made of almost a burlap fabric and a little more durable than the average hotel slipper, and surprisingly still comfortable.

The restaurant connected to the hotel is Supper. Like Sternewirth, I have been a handful of times for both lunch and dinner. Their menu does rotate and change, however they do seem to have some variations of items that remain constant. Their cauliflower appetizer has always been something that I enjoy. My last visit, I also tried the green beans and eggplant starter, which was another great choice. As it is so conveniently located, it is most definitely worth a visit during your stay. They also have a cocktail menu, but I have found the craft cocktails at Sternewirth to be better than those at Supper. Don’t discount a midday meal here, one of my favorite meals at Supper was actually during lunch!

Finally, I have to talk about the gym and pool. They are both located on the third floor. The gym is rather small but appropriate for the hotel size. When I worked out, there were only two other guests. The equipment is high quality, and they have a decent assortment of cardio machines and some weights. The pool deck is outfitted well. It is not the most spacious, so I have to imagine it could get rather crowded on the weekends. On a Sunday afternoon, I was easily able to get seats, but a spot in the shade would be much more coveted. Recently, they restored a poolside provisions truck and lifted it onto the third floor! Their job restoring it was remarkable when you see the “before” photos on their website. This cute vehicle has a selection of food and drinks. There are several frozen drinks both classic and speciality. I have to recommend the Cucumber Fresca. Wow was it super tasty and just what I needed at the pool! The pool deck chairs are rather comfortable with plenty of towels, water, and sunscreen at your disposal. Definitely check it out!

If San Antonio comes into the cards for you, I recommend a stay at Hotel Emma. It really is a gem in the heart of San Antonio!

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