Hi, friends! The blog’s been a little quiet lately as we’ve been over here getting ready for BABY #2!!!! In roughly eight weeks, we are expecting another bundle of love to add to our little family. Just to make things fun, we decided to embark on a small (not) construction project before baby arrives so we’ll still have guest space once we transform our spare bedroom into the nursery. Which is still not complete and I am trying to tamp down my panic. (Inner monologue-“We still have eight weeks- breathe, Amanda, breathe. (WE ONLY HAVE EIGHT WEEKS-HOLY #$%@!!!!!”) Breathe. Oh, boy. In an effort to decompress and savor some of these last few days of uninterrupted sleep and normalcy before our lives dissolve into the beautiful, hazy chaos that comes with a newborn, Alan and I enlisted our mothers to tag team our four year old and escaped for FIVE WHOLE DAYS. You guys, it was amazing. I truly yearned to go lounge on a Caribbean beach, but hey, Zika is still a thing, so we decided on the Pearl District in San Antonio. Gorgeous area, AMAZING hotel, charming farmers market, gourmet restaurants, cute coffee shops and boutiques. And bonus for us-no airports.
Funny how parenthood changes your lifestyle. For our first babymoon, Alan and I spent an entire week traipsing around Northern Spain. This go-round, I was super happy to hop in the car and go an hour and half away where I could finish a cup of coffee in peace, have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband, not step on legos, and sleep past 6:47am.
First things first-we NEED talk about this hotel. My darling friend Candice turned me onto Hotel Emma. Sorry Disney- as it turns out- Hotel Emma and the Pearl District of San Antonio is actually the happiest place on Earth. It really might be the most gorgeous hotel we’ve ever had the pleasure of patronizing. You step onto the grounds and you feel as if you’ve been transported to Europe. Just look at this place-
For starters, the uber-attentive staff welcomes you with their signature margarita (or a homemade limeade for me – wuhwuh) in their amazing library. ATTENTION, fellow bibliophiles-an hour with a book and a coffee (or a margarita, no judging) in this library needs to go on your bucket list, pronto.
The rooms are gorgeous- the hotel was a definitely a splurge- but we know this is our last vacation for awhile, so we went for it. And boy was that the right decision. I have never felt so utterly spoiled by a hotel.
So madly in love with the clawfoot tub. Somehow, Alan is not on board with me remodeling our brand new master bath to mimic this one. I don’t get it….
We’re just settling into this gorgeous space and I’m wondering if I will ever be willing to go home, and there is a knock on the door. On the other side is a cheerful butler bearing a plate of welcome truffles and a handwritten note from the concierge. As if I wasn’t already in love.
We arrive on one of those rare, glorious, Texas Spring, sparkling golden sunshine days, so we make a beeline for the pool. On the table beside me immediately appears a glass of ice water and a food and beverage menu. Poolside Carrot Ginger Lemonade? Yes, please! These are very happy pregnant lady feet right here.
We eventually need more sustenance then pool snacks, so we pry ourselves away from the hotel and head out to explore the Pearl District.
First stop- snacks at Southerleigh. I snack a LOT when I’m growing a human. I sort of eat like a newborn- like every two hours. It’s kind of ridiculous and my co-workers make fun of me. But for happy pregnant lady snacks- this place is heaven. So many yummy things, all right within walking distance in the Pearl District. I’ll get back to the gym after baby.
Again, my fellow bibliophiles- put this charming little bookshop on your list. Then take your selection, find an outdoor table and while away an hour or two. Or maybe take your book and relax in the library or the pool at Hotel Emma. All good options. Totally your call.
Might want to grab a pastry from Bakery Lorraine to snack on while you read. The chocolate almond croissants….I swoon.
I present my table of choice- right outside the little cafe attached to the hotel- excellent iced coffees! I never knew half caff coffee was a thing until this second pregnancy. With my first pregnancy, I just took naps. Guess what? Afternoon naps are not a thing when you have a four year old running around. Afternoon half caff coffee is a thing. A very beautiful thing. You are welcome, mamas everywhere.
Other awesome thing about the Pearl District -the famed San Antonio Riverwalk runs by it- so you can enjoy a gorgeous stroll along the less touristy portion between the hotel and downtown. If you are, like us, less interested in “touristy” you can meander briefly through the bars and shops and then head back up the peaceful part of the river and stop at Luxury for the best burger of your life.
The hotel shuttle will take you downtown to tour the Alamo – such cool history in San Antonio. And also the gorgeous San Fernando Cathedral.
We walked to dinner every night and turned in early. Poor Alan, he probably really wishes I could stay awake past 9pm to hang out in the awesome bar at Hotel Emma.
I have high hopes of returning and enjoying cocktails in this gorgeous space. But for this go-round, my sweet doting husband happily took his cocktail to go and headed up to the room to play cards with me . The good guys never win, by the way.
But wait- the good guys do win- because every night when we turned in, THESE were waiting for us. At Hotel Emma, turn down service comes with macarons. Every. Night. Winning.
And in the morning, you just ring downstairs and hot, freshly brewed coffee magically appears in your room. Seriously, I’m not going home.
In Room Coffee Services
I’m still not over how PRETTY Hotel Emma is. Or the amazing service. Or the fantastic restaurants and cute shops all within walking distance. Here is our list of favorites.
Cured– Amazing Charcuterie
Boiler House- I fell in love with Burrata cheese here. Amazing everything.
Supper- Restaurant in Hotel Emma- great for breakfast and lunch ( and obviously…. Supper)
Bakery Lorraine – Coffee and pastry perfection
Silo in the Hotel Fairmont– This one is downtown. We had an early dinner here before a show at the Majestic Theatre downtown. Maybe one of our favorite meals. I’m going back for more of their steak tartare.
The hotel is built into an old, iconic brewery. When you go- I highly recommend taking the tour they offer on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for a fascinating history lesson on the brewery and the building-and bonus- they serve margaritas at the end. Tours are open to the public for small fee (free to guests). If you want to check out the hotel and have a margarita in the aforementioned magical library, this is probably the only way to do it without booking a room.
Don’t miss the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons.
The Culinary Institute of America has a campus right in the Pearl District and offers a la carte classes- looking forward to coming back for one of these!
Check out the schedule for the Majestic Theatre. An intimate, historic live music venue with great acoustics.
For a comprehensive list of restaurants in the Pearl- check out their website.
And for more info on Hotel Emma- go here.
I’ll be back over here soon with with a couple recipes inspired by this little babymoon of ours, so stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to get new posts and recipes right in your in-box.
And so, this pretty much concludes my love letter to Hotel Emma and the Pearl District. After five days of being wooed by Hotel Emma and her gorgeous architecture, attentive staff, macaroons and coffee, I was ready to go home. Because, isn’t that one of the best things about vacation? At the end, no matter how much I’ve been spoiled, I’m ready to go home. And I’m reminded of how beautiful home is and how much I love being there with my little (soon to expand) family. Lucky, lucky me.