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Hotel Emma Reviews

Hotel Emma Front

Image via Flickr

Everything is bigger and better in Texas, right? Well, the Lone Star State certainly has no shortage of luxurious, hip, and glamorous hotels such as the prohibition-era brewery-turned-boutique Hotel Emma. It’s in the hip Pearl District of San Antonio and impressed us with fabulous foodie fare and lovely views of the river and the downtown skyline.

In our “secret” Texas hotel roundup you will also find the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt, a self-proclaimed “true Texas charmer that speaks to your inner rebel” in Austin, the posh Hotel Granduca Austin in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, and downtown Austin’s hippest and trendiest hotel, W Austin, a top spot for music aficionados.

There’s truly something for every inclination; all properties are equally luxurious but in distinctly different ways, whether you’re in the mood for a lively street and downtown scene in vibrant San Antonio or Austin or a luxe retreat with alfresco dining in the hill country. Read this post to learn all about the cool Hotel Emma and some other great Texas stays worthy of your attention.

What Is Hotel Emma?

Perched in downtown San Antonio’s hip Pearl district, this former 19th-century Brewhouse was transformed into a unique 146-room hotel with a charming ambiance, amazing views, well-appointed amenities, fantastic restaurants, a great bar, a rooftop pool, and a snug library with 3,700 volumes.

Hotel Features

Hotel Emma Exterior

Image via Wikimedia

The foodie-centric boutique Hotel Emma opened in 2015 in San Antonio’s top culinary and cultural destination, Pearl. The historic building was originally a Brewhouse and a San Antonio landmark dating from 1894. It features 146 rooms in the original Brewhouse tower or the modern-day River Cellars. Enjoy the rooftop pool or sip a cocktail the cozy library, featuring a whopping 3,700 books. Hotel Emma attracts savvy staycationers and discerning jetsetters in search of unique Texas charm and timeless-yet-trendy vibes. The boutique hotel boasts two stellar eateries and a splendid bar.


Average rates for a standard room at Hotel Emma start at $350 per night.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar hotels in Texas to see how they compare to Hotel Emma.

  • Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt
  • Hotel Granduca Austin
  • W Austin

Hotel Emma


Among Hotel Emma’s notable services, you can avail yourself of free private transfers to and from the airport as well as limousine service for an extra charge. Valet parking is just $15 a day. Special touches include a welcome Margarita upon arrival. And we like that check-out (it’s at noon) can be flexible whenever possible. This boutique hotel offers daily room service from its restaurants, Supper and Larder, from 6 a.m. until 1:30 a.m. Another plus for caffeine aficionados: Merit Roasting Co. coffee service is on pretty much non-stop offer. Spa services are available in-room as well.

The converted Brewhouse is still evident at Hotel Emma via elements such as lounge seating made from re-purposed former fermentation tanks and chandeliers that used to be bottle-labeling machines. Notable amenities include the stellar and locally beloved Supper restaurant, industrial chic Sternewirth bar, the cool, clay-tiled rooftop pool, the cozy library, a gym, and Hiatus Spa.

Rooms at Hotel Emma include the Plaza Suite with Pearl Plaza views through floor-to-ceiling windows, a small sitting room, a separate dining and work area, double vanities, and a vintage clawfoot tub. As far as amenities, rooms feature free WiFi, a stocked ice box boasting all the makings for a margarita, local beer, and farmer’s market goodies, custom-made robes by Dos Carolinas, fancy Malin + Goetz bath products, free bottled water, and a Bose Bluetooth sound system.

Hotel Emma is a local foodie destination, and the palates of visiting guests will be equally delighted by Supper, under the reign of John Brand. There’s also Larder, Hotel Emma’s artisanal café and deli, and Sternewirth for cocktails.

Hotel Emma is conveniently situated just a ten-minute drive from San Antonio International Airport. More importantly, it’s smack in the middle of the happening San Antonio Pearl district boasting great restaurants, bars and shops, and a farmers’ market. Borrow a bike from the hotel and go exploring! Nearby attractions also include the San Antonio Botanical Garden, the San Antonio Missions National Park, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Alamo.


  • Charming and unique ambiance
  • Stellar dining
  • Great bar
  • Rooftop pool with cabanas
  • Hiatus Spa
  • Great views of views of the river and the downtown skyline
  • Cozy library with libations
  • Cool converted 19th-century brewhouse architecture
  • Dog-friendly


  • Breakfast not included
  • Not kid-friendly (geared toward adults)

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt

This award-winning rebel with a lot of charm is all about style and substance. Parked on Austin’s Rainey Street in the historic district, this “true Texas charmer” features a sweet rooftop deck complete with pool, cabanas and great views, tasty classic Texas eats, and a sophisticated yet unconventional ambiance.

Average rates for a standard room at the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt start at $200 per night.

Among the services, you can borrow complimentary bicycles, and there’s also a hosted wine hour and coffee and tea service. The hotel is pet-friendly and the rooftop pool area offers full service. Another thing we like: There’s a yoga mat in every room free of charge.

Featuring 319 totally “teched” rooms with high-speed Wi-Fi, Bluetooth speakers and rooms with views of downtown Austin or Lady Bird Lake, this 4-Star hotel also takes pride in its outdoor rooftop pool with an incredible underwater sound system, 24-hour fitness center, restaurant with live music and cool music theme in public spaces. They also offer business folks 12,000 square feet of meeting space with 11 dedicated meeting rooms. What else can we tell you about the facilities? They boast a tasteful, understated yet design-forward elegance.

The hotel takes pride in its eatery Geraldine’s, serving locally inspired, chef-driven Texan cuisine and carefully concocted cocktails. Bonus? You can enjoy live music Monday through Saturday evenings and during Sunday Brunch. The gorgeous pool deck with amazing views of Ladybird Lake offers seasonal bites and refreshing drinks for lounging poolside, and at Café 605 you can grab the makings of a portable picnic to take to Lady Bird Lake.

You’re right in Austin’s hot and happening Rainey Street mix, featuring loads of great bars and fantastic restaurants. Try this hot local tip: The Sunday Big Band Brunch at Banger’s!


  • Great location
  • Full-service rooftop pool
  • Excellent restaurant
  • Pet-friendly
  • In-room dining


  • Valet parking is pricey
  • Some folks find the menu at Geraldine’s too eclectic

Hotel Granduca Austin

One of Conde Nast Traveler‘s “10 Best Hotels in Texas” and dubbed a “little corner of Italy,” the Hotel Granduca lives up to its motto with luxurious, secluded environs that truly evoke an Italian palazzo—not in Tuscany but in the heart of the Texas Hill country. Notable features include Italian accents throughout, balconies with great views, and rooms with petite kitchens, walk-in closets, and free WiFi.

Average rates for a standard room at the Hotel Granduca Austin range from $180 to $550 night.

You can expect stellar services galore, including shoe shine, daily newspaper, dry cleaning, tea or coffee at wake-up call and, especially, local transportation in their Cadillac Escalade. Also, count on top concierge service and 24-hour room service.

Special amenities are available at check-in, and once in your room, enjoy iHome radios and docking stations, Smart HDTV, free WiFi, complimentary bottled water and a fully stocked mini bar. The facilities include a top restaurant for Northern Italian fare, a pool bar and grill, and a fantastic pool area with cabanas and submerged loungers, a modern gym, spa treatment rooms, 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a business center and a billiards room.

Enjoy la dolce vita Texan-style at Visconti Ristorante via authentic northern Italian dishes, and at Visconti Bar with its lovely live jazz music. Also be sure to try the Sunday brunch, and you must allow yourself the experience of dining al-fresco, weather permitting.

Nature awaits! You’re just 1.8 miles from hiking and star gazing at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve Hiking Trails, and 7.5 miles near beautiful Barton Creek Greenbelt, a local favorite. Other close attractions include Barton Springs Pool, Capital Cruises, 360 Bridge, Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Blanton Museum Of Art, the largest university art museum in the country. Downtown Austin beckons but is about 10 miles away; so not in convenient walking distance.


  • Great hilltop location
  • Panoramic views
  • Luxurious ambiance
  • Fine dining Italian restaurant
  • Fantastic and plentiful services


  • Location a bit off the grid (Can be a plus, too!)
  • Breakfast not included (extra surcharge)

W Austin

The hip and music-themed W Austin tries to “keep Austin weird and green” with an eco-friendly yet sophisticated hipster approach. Think great dining, great style, a lovely spa and some killer creature comforts such as their so-called WET deck with cabanas.

Average rates for a standard room at the W Austin range from $240 to $550 night.

Among the notable services available here are in-room dining from noon to one minute before midnight. We also like their meeting set-up option that includes mood music, signature aromas, and other goodies.

The W Austin features 251 custom-designed rooms and suites with a style they call “urbana Americana” meets contemporary sophistication, plus a rock star, music-centered twist. The rooms have a view of the city of Lady Bird Lake and the property is completely devoted to sustainable and eco-friendly practices, even featuring in-room recycling and Bricor Vac and Venturi low-flow showers.

The facilities also host AWAY Spa with signature treatments, the WET deck with cabanas, a state-of-the-art fitness center and 10,050 square feet of event space and studios. Also cool: Some parts of the hotel connect to the Austin City Limits live venue!

The W Austin wants guests to indulge. To that end, they feature the stylish and chic but casual Trace restaurant for local, regional, and sustainable fare. There’s also the super cozy yet luxe Living Room, featuring four unique themed spaces including the airy Tequila Bar and the Records Room with over 8,000 vinyl records. Sip a cocktail and indulge in the happy hour. The seasonal WET bar rounds out the food and drink options. Enjoy a swim, DJs and—again—happy hour.

W Austin is in the middle of the city’s most happening neighborhood, the 2ND Street District, where you will encounter great restaurants, over 50 specialty boutiques, and hot nightlife spots. You will also find yourself right next to the legendary music venue, Austin City Limits. If you prefer less of a scene, head to Lady Bird Johnson Lake and enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, rowing or just strolling. Last but not least, a singular attraction is North America’s largest urban colony of Mexican free-tailed bats.


  • Hip and trendy vibe
  • Luxe spa
  • Great central location
  • Very good restaurant
  • Rooftop pool with cabanas
  • Pet-friendly
  • Smoke-free


  • Hip scene is not everyone’s taste
  • Small rooms
  • No free WIFI in the rooms
  • Steep pet cleaning fee


Hotel Emma Library

Image via Wikimedia

San Antonio and its bustling Pearl District have experienced a real renaissance, and there’s no better place to stay than the 4.5 Star Hotel Emma, despite its not-so-small price tag. With its unique architecture, charming ambiance, and fantastic amenities it’s well worth it and the place to stay in San Antonio. You will love this hotel as much as we did. It really is one of the coolest boutique hotels in Texas, and that’s saying something.

If you’re on the hunt for music, stay at the perennially cool W Austin, situated in Austin’s 2ND Street District, where you will encounter hot nightlife spots and are also immediate neighbors with the legendary Austin City Limits. You will also adore this place if an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle is important to you since that’s a huge theme at this trendy hotel.

Equally cool is what Forbes magazine called “The Best New (Not So) Little Hotel In Texas: Hotel Van Zandt In Austin.” This property in Austin, the fastest-growing city in the country, is great for those seeking a whimsical stay with fun rock ‘n’ roll surprises while enjoying the amenities of a more “regular” luxury hotel.

Finally, if you crave a luxurious taste of la dolce vita in the Texas hill country, check out and check into the luxurious Hotel Granduca Austin, modeled after a true Italian palazzo from the 16th century. Molto bene!

We hope you enjoyed our exploration of the hipper and more urbane and stylish side of Texas, with a little bit of country, a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll, and the charming Hotel Emma, which you should definitely keep in mind should your travels take you to the fine City of San Antonio!

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