hotelemma-1569Hotel Emma, one of the most anticipated hotels in Pearl and San Antonio. Once a 19th century brewhouse, Hotel Emma has gone through a massive transformation over the past five years and is now a 146-room hotel. While many parts of the hotel have been renovated, a large part of the hotel still has accents of the over 100 year old brewhouse. Although the doors of Emma have yet to open, we had the exciting experience to get a sneak peek at the inside of the extraordinary hotel.

_13a8264With construction hats in hand, Jacqueline and I walked into the lobby of Hotel Emma and were already blown away. A large fireplace sits in the center of the lobby in between the two door ways. Tile replicas from the original brewhouse can be found in the building, as well as many other fixtures and features from the brewery. Along with the gorgeous fireplace that can be viewed from inside the hotel or outside on the patio, four large – very large – chandeliers will grace the ceiling of the lobby. As we walked through the lobby, Hugh, the concierge and one of the happiest people we’ve come across, spoke of the vision for the hotel. Leather couches and coffee tables will sit all through the front of the hotel and vintage key holders with combination locks give the look and feel of a 19th century brewhouse.

After walking through the lobby, we entered the bar which is lined with a valve system from the original air system in the brewery. The Hotel Emma bar is located in an old cellar room. Private seating will be available in old storage tanks customized for VIP service and mezzanine seating will also be available. The details of the bar, and the hotel as a whole, are outstanding. The walls of the brewhouse were not destroyed by sledge hammers, instead the mortar was chipped out, exposing bricks. In the bar, a gorgeous exposed archway was revealed once numerous bricks were removed. Many other features of the brewery have been incorporated including many of the light fixtures.

The first floor also houses a library which will be composed of 3,700 volumes from a collection of a very prestigious, San Antonio woman. A couple hundred volumes from the old brewery will also be available for you to take up to your room to read or to sit down in the library and enjoy the atmosphere as you read about the hotel’s past. However, not all of Hotel Emma comes from the brewhouse; a newly constructed area to the right of the lobby, features many amenities including a gift shop with Southwestern vibes and accents.

One feature of Hotel Emma that caught our attention, due to it’s immaculate and unique beauty, was the elephant cellar – the biggest ballroom in the hotel which fits 170 people. The architects kept many of the brewhouse elements in the elephant cellar, which used to be a storage tank room. Six of the storage tank tops were cut and mounted on the wall to keep the old, brewery feel. Also, three chandeliers weighing three thousand pounds each will hang from the ceiling, illuminating the room for any special occasion.

Hotel Emma RoomNo room in Hotel Emma is alike. Six suites on the seventh floor which can only be accessed by a private, glass elevator have a vintage and undeniably romantic feel – perhaps it’s the gorgeous claw foot tubs. Many of the original pillars from the brewhouse are still intact. Two story suites with a private deck area have been constructed for guests to enjoy meals outside. Supper, the main restaurant in Hotel Emma and Larder, which will feature local groceries, wine, beer, baked goods, house-butchered meats and freshly-prepared foods, makes it easy to dine in. Sternewirth, the bar and clubroom in the hotel, features classic cocktails and small plates for a light meal.

Hotel Emma BathroomHotel Emma BathroomOne of the most gorgeous (and expensive) rooms in Hotel Emma is the presidential suite. With a baby grand piano in the corner and an extra large balcony wih private fireplace, it’s easy to see why this suite will be one of the most popular rooms in Hotel Emma. White wood finishing lines the staircase and exposed brick and glass windows lead to the balcony. We can’t begin to describe the beauty of the suite, you’ll have to go see it for yourself!

jh_2564Hugh, our wonderful tour guide, perfectly described the vision for Hotel Emma.

“We want to showcase different parts of San Antonio [in the hotel] – restaurants, authors and performers. It’s all about the guests perspective. We don’t want to keep our guests in the hotel during their entire vacation. Our philosophy is if they haven’t left the hotel, they haven’t enjoyed Pearl, if they don’t leave Pearl, they haven’t fully enjoyed San Antonio.”

Hotel Emma, named after Emma Koehler, the CEO who ran the brewhouse from 1916 to 1942, is anticipated to open late fall of 2015 and we’re counting down the days.

*The second and last photo are courtesy of