Best hotel in Shaq’s high school town.

One of the most memorable weekend getaways trips happened where Shaquille O’Neal went to high school: San Antonio, TX.

It was October 2018 when we headed to the once 19th-century brewhouse turned hotel to celebrate our 3-year (dating) anniversary. “Hotel Emma” is an extraordinary, chic, industrial, and swanky hotel that provides an experience unlike any other.

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View from our room of Hotel Emma | Photo: Valerie

Upon our arrival, the professional valet team greeted us as if we were regulars, parked our car, and showed us the way inside. After remembering to “look normal” as if we stay in high-end places comparable to this alllll the time, we found our way to the check-in desk. Even that part was incredible. Receiving our room key was reminiscent of Norman Bates handing Marion a cabin key. (Have I not told you about my slight obsession with scary movies??) No, I didn’t get a “creeper” vibe from the hotel receptionist. It’s just, the actual keys (not an underwhelming chipped plastic card) were similarly hanging behind the desk. That’s all.

The reception desk at the Hotel Emma | Photo: Hotel Emma

Although I wanted to spend more time in the jaw-dropping lobby, it was time to take our luggage in the room. I thought this would be a quick process until we opened the door. I instantly resorted back to my childhood days in Toys “R” Us with my grandma and started scoping everything out. From the stylish, non-hotel-looking pillows, to the locally sourced toiletries, the thoughtfully stocked “icebox”, to our celebratory iced-down champagne. We took a moment, soaked it all in, snapped too many photos, and enjoyed the bubbly from the comfort of the heavenly bed.

The classic room at Hotel Emma | Photo: Hotel Emma

“The Hotel Emma Ice Boxes are neatly tucked away in attractive armoires serving as In-Room Pantries and stocked with local beer, farmers market provisions and ingredients for the famous La Babia margarita, which originated on one of Northern Mexico’s most prominent ranchos.” –Hotel Emma

Since I can’t sit still long, we decided to claim our complimentary cocktail in their library. Even if you don’t care for reading, I’ve no doubt you would find this room to be as magical as we did. The preserved charm mixed with new, chic touches would impress anybody. For the complimentary drink, I ordered (aka let Valerie bring me) the La Babia Margarita.* It took me back to a serene beach in Mexico, minus the sticky sand.

*RECIPE: 1 part premium tequila, 1 part orange liqueur, & 1/2 part lime juice.

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We then tried the two complimentary, almost-too-pretty-to,-eat small bites. YUM. I wasn’t sure how to eat the swan at first, but, when nobody was looking, I went for it, wing first. Whatever the concoction was, I enjoyed it & went back for seconds…no judging allowed.

Complimentary small bites in the Hotel Emma Library | Photo: Holly

Since we weren’t quite ready to leave the premises for the evening, we made another pit-stop in Sternewirth, the hotel’s tavern and club room. When you’re here, feel free to ask the wait staff to tell you a story. You will hear ones like this:

True story: in the 1950s, a “tight” worker was scolded by a Pearl Brewery manager for getting drunk at work. The worker replied, “Respectfully, sir, I did not get drunk on the job… I was right drunk when I got here!”

Is that not precious?! After I looked over the menu full of craft beer, notable wines, therapeutic cocktails, & hearty small plates, we ordered: The Three Emmas (pearl beer & rose cordial, amontillado sherry, botanist gin, grapefruit juice, lemon juice), Right of Spring (mezcal, suze, orange liqueur, lime, honey) & some spiced peanuts. I had already researched a restaurant in the local shopping center (Pearl) to eat, so we didn’t want to indulge in their more filling, mouth-watering snacks.

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Sitting there, we had all the “good feels” but didn’t want to test the strength of them with up against my possibly hangry-self. So, we walked to one of THE cutest, most delicious restaurant with the best service…which I will talk about on a future blog post! Be sure to check back because you don’t want to miss it- your tummy deserves that.

Before ending this post & booking another getaway to Hotel Emma, I must conclude with our morning coffee service. We didn’t want to go down to the library to have coffee, although I hear that’s fabulous. We ordered room service coffee because #coffeeinbed. Yes, the beds are that cozy.

I know I am unintentionally leaving some glorious details out, so go there, see how great it is yourself, & report back to me!

Don’t forget; I’m writing a blog on Pearl, the surrounding shopping/dining area in which Hotel Emma overlooks. Pearl’s beautiful, trendy, and unique shopping/dining are just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Go ahead & add Hotel Emma & Pearl to your “Texas Bucket List“…yw.

Feel free to leave me a comment if you enjoyed it, hated it, have suggestions, or want to see more content like this. I’m a blogger with a Shaq-tweeter mentality:

“When I tweet, I try and accomplish three things. One, is to make you laugh. Two, is to inform you. Three, is to enlighten you. That’s all I do.” -Shaquille O’Neal

More Photos:

Collage photos: Hotel Emma

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