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Southern Charm

What was once a San Antonio brewhouse has turned into one of the prettiest historical hotels in the country. Say hello to Hotel Emma.


Exposed brick walls paired with Saltillo tile floors make for Old World elegance

Three words: Roman and Williams. Design aficionados know the award-winning New York-based company has changed the way hotels are designed. For everyone else who steps into one of their projects, they just know the spaces feel good. Exceptionally good. Case in point: Hotel Emma in San Antonio. Situated on the city’s River Walk, the 19th century brewhouse had a multimillion-dollar transformation that’s yielded a 146-room hotel with thoughtful touches such as original brewery silos and concrete columns, vintage Mexican pottery, painted ceramic tiles, handsome leather and wood sofas, chairs topped with kilim pillows, and bathrooms with brass fixtures and porcelain sinks. We don’t think there’s a prettier setting for a South Texas destination wedding than the hotel’s Elephant Cellar and outdoor courtyard. The former has 19-foot ceilings, 3,200 square feet of space for a 240-guest dinner and custom vintage chandeliers from Germany, while the courtyard is reminiscent of Mexican outdoor living spaces and overlooks the river. Make sure to request the River Suite ($795 per night) for the best view of the River Walk, plus Frette linens and a fridge stocked with all locally made provisions. 136 E. Grayson St., San Antonio, 214.448.8300

The Pearl Brewery compound has hit its stride thanks to a slew of new shops and restaurants. Here are our suggestions for must-stop spots just outside the hotel’s doors.

Cured, housed in the brewery’s former administration building, which was built 1904, is now a meat lover’s paradise with housecured charcuterie and an excellent menu of Texas beers. Il Sogno Osteria (210.223.3900) is chef Andrew Weissman’s homage to the trattorias of Rome. Order an Aperol spritz and some housemade pasta for a transportive experience.

Melissa Guerra offers an expansive collection of tabletop and kitchen tools imported from Mexico and Latin America. Rose Ann Hall glassware is a favorite.

The catering staff created the wedding cake and dessert table overflowing with sweets for guests to graze freely.