Rooms vary in size and layout due to its historic construction
Some rooms lack mini-fridges
Only valet parking is available for a fee
Wi-Fi can be a bit slow
Located across from the famous Alamo and boasting a rich history (as well as, potentially, a few ghosts), the Emily Morgan Hotel is an excellent upscale property in downtown San Antonio. Its well-preserved 1920s building is a Gothic-Revival-meets-Texas style, with interiors that benefitted from a 2013 renovation when it was bought by Hilton. The 177 modern rooms have flat-screen TVs, tubs, robes, and iHome docking stations. An outdoor pool, free Wi-Fi, American restaurant and bar, and 24-hour gym complete the offerings, plus the property is close to many San Antonio attractions. For a location right on the River Walk, however, guests might look to the historic Omni La Mansion del Rio, which features hacienda flair, a lively pool area, and kid-friendly perks.
A truly Texan hotel with a (possibly haunted) historic past.
The hotel's name comes from an indentured African-American servant who was with Santa Ana during a siesta, the moment Texan forces chose to attack (and who was probably also the inspiration for "The Yellow Rose of Texas" song). In 1924, a medical arts building was built on the site (the lobby was once the morgue). It's from this chapter in its history that it's since become known as one of the most haunted hotels in the world: guests have reported odd noises and the feeling of being touched.
It then became an office building before finally transitioning into a hotel in 1984. In 2012, Hilton bought the property, renovated it the following year, and turned it into a DoubleTree. However, its history is still apparent in the building's beautiful architecture: Built by Ralph Cameron, the facade features a 13-story Gothic Revival-influenced tower that incorporates cast iron, copper, and wooden ribs. Keep an eye out for the gargoyles, too: each one depicts a different disease. Inside, interiors have an elegant Southwestern-inspired design with lots of warm earth tones, leather seating, and Texas stars. Guests are a mix of business travelers and vacationers.
Across from the Alamo and within walking distance of tourist sights
In addition to its history, the Emily Morgan's main allure is its excellent downtown location directly across the square housing the famed Alamo. This is an ideal spot for tourists, as there are numerous attractions, restaurants, bars, museums, and shopping areas nearby. Business travelers are also a quick seven-minute walk from the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
The popular River Walk is five minutes away on foot, which is lined with chain eateries like Rainforest Cafe, as well as many upscale local eateries. Other sights nearby include the Tower of the Americas and La Villita Park -- both 10 minutes away on foot -- and the King William Historic District, which is seven minutes by car. The San Antonio Zoo is an 11-minute drive, while SeaWorld is about 26 minutes. San Antonio International Airport is a 13-minute cab ride away.
Elegantly decorated with warm Texas-inspired furnishings
The hotel's 177 rooms are modern and decorated in the colors of the Southwest: think rust drapes, burnt-orange walls, and browns setting off white linens. Brown carpeting, studded leather seating, and photographs of the region continue the warm, Texas feel. Further outdoor inspiration is seen in the nightstands' stone lamps. For those wanting to splurge, booking one of the rooms with a garden tub is an excellent treat, as are those with Alamo views. And for believers feeling adventurous, apparently the seventh, ninth, 11th, and 12th floors see the most paranormal activity.
Standard amenities include iHome docking stations, coffeemakers, safes, air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, desks, and flat-screen TVs (though the views can be awkward from some of the beds), but some lack mini-fridges. Ironing facilities are also provided. Bathrooms are generally large and come with Aroma Actives toiletries, good-sized shower/tub combos, robes, and hairdryers. Suites add upgrades like sofa beds and two-person whirlpool tubs.
Regional recipes meet French techniques at ORO Restaurant
The elegant ORO Restaurant and Bar specializes in martinis and regional specialities cooked with French techniques. It also plays into its supposedly haunted past with a happy hour offering palm readings, plus a regular happy hour every day. ORO is also where the breakfast is served (not included in room price), with made-to-order eggs and other continental fare. Outdoor seating is available.
The highlight, however, is the heated outdoor pool and adjacent hot tub. Although the pool is small, the deck offers great views across the city. There's a small but up-to-date fitness center on-site with cardio and weight-training machines, medicine balls, and free weights.
Only valet parking is available, though there's in-and-out access. There's also a small business center with a printer, as well as ample meeting space. Wi-Fi is free and available throughout the property, though it can be a bit slow.
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