Take one step into the gorgeous Pearl Brewhouse refashioned into the one-of-a-kind, Hotel Emma, and you’ll feel like you could sleep right in the middle of the lobby. Instantly there’s the feeling that you’ve reached a place that’s welcoming you to come as you are, but ready to encourage you as you change. And each step you take in this sprawled out design haven will have you a bit more aware of the pull on the soul to engage and transform.
The Hotel Emma first opened in 2015 after the talents at Roman and Williams poured their passions into the redesigning of a space originally used to make a darn good cold one. Merging the foundations of the past with the visions for the future, The Larder groceries and provisions store branches off the main lobby and stocks a variety of community favorites alongside cans of Pearl Beer: a testament to the hotel’s commitment to the heart of the place.
Beyond love for the beer, all the staff at Hotel Emma devote their energy to their crafts as they bestow their passions to the guests. From the coffee and conversations brewed in the lobby during breakfast to the hearty smiles and plates at Supper Restaurant, everyone here seems to be united in a belief that the motto of leaving a place better than you found it extends beyond walls: to mixing a great cocktail, engaging in authentic conversation, and finding hidden purpose in all the details.
The Hotel Emma is the centerpiece around which the rest of the Pearl District can be embraced and flourish. It’s a surprise for the guest who knows the rest of San Antonio and a reminder for the local that every day has character if you take the time to let its potential expand. As if you need more proof, Hotel Emma even has their own Wildsam Field Guide in each room.
While you’re there, pick up the hotels two signature scents, Milagros and Recuerdos (Miracles and Memories), at Curio. The entire hotel is wrapped in notes of wood, books, and metal to bring you into its down-to-earth embrace while floral notes lift you into a reverie of possibility. Both are smells you will want to experience again when you need to be reminded of your own abilities to craft your story from what you’ve got right in front of you.
One of the reasons this hotel has become an easy favorite is due to its eager departure from the trend of late to redesign a space away from what it is not, refashioning historical buildings into modern works of art. Seemingly, there’s a disconnect in recent restorative design projects between appreciating the history and story of space with a working vision for future use. It just feels so unengaged, despite how beautiful the space might appear. Then there’s the Hotel Emma, a place so unapologetic in its acceptance of its story and never shying away from embracing the spirit of a space even if the needs of the place have changed. The door to the brewery tanks have been incorporated into the design, some of the original machinery left to stand its ground against the new sofas and rugs, and the celebration for the brick and wooden elements that craft a space in the first place.
The Pearl Brewery is no stranger to hardship, a workplace that was able to remain open and full employed under the insightful guide of Emma Koehler even throughout the era of prohibition. Her guidance and spirit continues to linger through the halls, whispering to host and guest alike, encouraging all to strive for continuity by refashioning what you’ve got into something better. After a few days at The Hotel Emma the soul also has repurposed resolutions.