Hotel Emma Opens Inside 19th-Century Brewery

In downtown San Antonio, Hotel Emma is now calling a 19th-century brewery home. Opened in what used to be the Pearl Brewing Company building, Hotel Emma offers patrons a mix of history, hospitality, and one-of-a-kind hops.

Led by Stephen Alesch and Robin Standefer, Roman and Williams design studio was tasked with preserving the architecture, feel, and design of the Pearl Brewing Company building (known locally as “Pearl campus”), while also converting the space to a comfortable, cozy setting for guests to stay and enjoy. Wood-burning fireplaces, stone pillars, and exposed heavy steel beams abound, with patterned concrete tiles serve as a nod to the original aesthetic and design of the brewery. In Hotel Emma’s lobby, the flywheel of an old generator has become the centerpiece of the hotel. Roman and Williams complemented the personality of the original structure, The Spaces reports, by sourcing fixtures and furnishings that date back to the same time the brewery was first constructed. The results include leather armchairs, brass, bronze, and blown-glass chandeliers scattered throughout the 146-room hotel.

Bill Shown, managing director of real estate for the Silver Ventures, the hotel’s developer, told The Spaces: “We wanted to celebrate that history — not cover it up. By keeping much of the interior intact, the authenticity and history of the place was maintained.” He added that Hotel Emma sets a “new standard” for historic hotel design because of “its juxtaposition of grittiness and authenticity with elegance.”

Hotel Emma also features a 1,500-square-foot courtyard with a water fixture constructed from salvaged tanks once used in the brewery, a two-story library with more than 3,700 books available for guests to borrow, and Larder, a grocery shop, that’s tucked away downstairs in what once was old brewery cellars. The hotel also features Supper, a farm-to-table American pub.

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