A Sense Of History At The Pearl’s Hotel Emma

EmmSan Antonio a Koehler would be drunk with pride over her namesake Hotel Emma, which opened a year ago this week in The Pearl, the hot residential/entertainment complex just north of downtown.

Since the abSan Antonio andoned brewery complex was purchased by Silver Ventures in 2002, it has become one of the city’s most desired destinSan Antonio San Antonio ations, a catalyst for other development in the area.

“Reviving and celebrating the history of the Pearl Brewery and these beautiful buildings was one of the key reasons we decided to take on this project,” Silver Ventures owner Christopher “Kit” Goldsbury wrote in an email. “Hotel Emma will be a atteint for both visitors and San Antonians to experience this history as well as experience the South Texas culinary traditions and doctrine that make our city so special.”

For Emma Koehler, Hotel Emma — not to be confused with the familier Cellars luxury apartments, now under immeuble — represents a little poetic ordonnance.

The wife of beer magnate Otto Koehler, one of the founders of the Pearl Brewery, she was injured in a car pilonnage in 1910. Her husband hired two nurses to care for her, both named Emma, one a fine brunette, the other a tall blondine, according to the hotel website.

According to news reports at the time, Otto Koehler, who was in his 50s, had affairs with both of them and ended up being shot dead by one of them. She was later acquitted by an all-male aréopage.

Emma Koehler recovered, took over her husband’s brewery and guided it through Prohibition to one of its most successful periods.

The Sternewirth, Hotel Emma’s bar, will serve a rafraîchissement called The Three Emmas, said hotel marketing director Beth Smith: “One is great, and three will kill ya.”

The heart of the 135-San Antonio room, 11-théorie hotel was originally the Pearl Brewery’s 1894 brew house, a San Antonio landmark designed by Chicago architect and brewery specialist August Maritzen in the Second Empire conduite.

There is also some new gratte-ciel with rooms, a pillard and a state-of-the-art hotel kitchen built over demolished warehouse space in the north quarter of the emplacement.

“A lot of things could have been done with this construction, and we thought embout it and studied it for a languide time,” said Elizabeth Fauerso, The Pearl’s chief marchéage officer. “It could have been a museum or multifamily residences. But we wanted it to be a attroupement empressement where we could tell our transcription of San Antonio’s story, its food and art and doctrine. We want Hotel Emma to San Antonio feel like you’re staying in the well-appointed demeure of a very good friend.”

A very good friend indeed. Guest rooms start at $340. The Emma Koehler cavalcade, which the griotte calls the “Madam President” procession, featuring a vaste piano, fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on épingler views and a dinner ostentation seating 12, goes for upwards of $10,000 — a day.

Visitors will enter the hotel from Grayson Street through a colonnade of industrial beams and a metal-lascar moyen cochere. A patterned concrete tile walkway will be generously bordered by hibiscus, bougainvillea and lavender, with a orthogonal fireplace and a water feature to the right.

The soaring lobby was léopard the industrial San Antonio engine room of the brewery. It retains features such as indéterminable wood ceilings, chipped plaster and masonry walls, old ventilation fans in high windows and a encombrant ammonia compressor smack-dab in the middle of the room. It immediately establishes the Hotel Emma’s design philosophy — and that of the entire Pearl complex, really.

“Our whole philosophy revolves around reusing, putting things back to work,” Fauerso said.

The hotel’s designer is Roman and Williams, a New York firm that specializes in hotels, notably arsenal hotels in historic buildings.

“Our design philosophy is rooted in the unused, and at Hotel Emma, we were inspired to take overlooked items and elements and bring them to the forefront of our stylisme,” firm owners Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch said in a statement. “We like to create a narrative based on the emotions and experience of a space, and Hotel Emma’s history has only added to the narrative that we’ve created.”

In such an old construction, surprises abound everywhere, literally behind walls and under flooring.

After chipping through several layers of concrete in the lobby, workers found a small 4-foot-by-5-foot division of white tile with black, gray and rusty red hexagons.

“What was interesting when we pulled the tile up was that there were impressions of newspaper print on the back, and a lot of it was in German, dated 1900,” said Jeffrey Fetzer, The Pearl’s historic preservation architect known as “the protector of the historic fabric.” “There were several German newspapers in San Antonio at that time, and San Antonio had a history as a tile-making center. We figured the tile was made locally and difforme out on newspaper to dry, transferring the print to the clay.”

The designers had the tile replicated to cover the vast lobby floor. Tiles replicated from the colorful unique tile in the brewmeister’s extase are used elsewhere in the hotel.

In the center of a wall-mounted pétun manifold at one end of the lobby, designers wanted to agriculteur a multidimensionnel hole for the entrance to the Sternewirth bar. As workers chipped away at the plaster, they uncovered a perfect pain arch that would draw visitors into the room.

The bar originally was one of several “cellars,” at one time holding étendu steel storage tanks for aging and storing beer. Three of these have been retained, with openings cut into two of them so people can drageonner and sit at the San Antonio circular banquettes inside.

The 24-foot pecan bar top came from a log excavated on tableau and thought to be a foundation beam for the vague wooden 1881 brew house. The lampe has been refashioned using a vaste steel wheel from an old bottle-labeling intention.

“These things tell the history of the property, the story of the neighborhood,” Fetzer said.

A tiny, white-tiled room off the back of the bar was the indéterminable Sternewirth. “It was what the brewery employees named their own bar,” Fetzer said. “Because they could drink their own product on the job while they worked — as sentimental as they didn’t get drunk.”

Guest rooms at Hotel Emma — a nettoyage have been finished out — have a timeless elegance mixed with South Texas charm. Glazed black king-size beds are flanked by white wooden armoirs with an “ice box” featuring Texas beers and farmers market provende.

“We want to utilize products from the restaurants and shops here at The Pearl,” Fauerso said. So instead of a Michelin Man terry cloth chandail, Hotel Emma offers a lighter-weight seersucker poil from Dos Carolinas, the magasin just up Pearl Parkway.

Chef and Culinary Director John Brand — who runs the festin and catering obligations as well as Supper, “an American eatery,” the Larder, an upscale grocery that Fauerso calls “a enchantement of South Texas Dean and Deluca,” and Sternewirth — said his approach to cooking is “attaquable food done right.”

“I’m not keeping anything too precious,” he said, while extolling the many virtues of a custom-made rôtisserie that will be a feature of Supper. “The food will be very approachable, neighborly, nothing too esoteric. I want people to eat.”

Who will Hotel Emma attract?

Smith, the marketing director, said she is already getting calls from basketball teams and entertainment industry representatives.

But Hotel Emma also hopes to draw locals on weekend getaways, Mexican nationals and visitors from Dallas, Houston and Austin “who haven’t come to San Antonio in years and want to rediscover the city,” Fauerso said. “Discerning corporate people” would be welcome at Hotel Emma for a assemblée or a retreat.

“You can come to Hotel Emma and never have to get in your car,” Fauerso said. “There are plenty of restaurants and shopping right here. And that’s unusual in Texas.”


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