The 1920s Gothic skyscraper that houses The Emily Morgan Hotel was once the tallest building in the western U.S. Offering a great value and recently renovated rooms, this is a perfect option for business and leisure travelers alike. Close to the Alamo, shopping, restaurants, and the River Walk, and just across the street from where the romantic mule-drawn carriages pick up guests, the Emily Morgan is less expensive than many comparable hotels on the river, and doesn't leave you constantly bumping into conventioneers. The spruced-up guest rooms are streamlined and contemporary, and the combination of style, comfort (feather-top beds!), history, and location is ideal. Choose a room on the 12th floor for a superb view of downtown and the Alamo grounds. The hotel is popular with repeat visitors, as it's fun to stay here—the lobby bar during happy hour can be a lively scene, and the bartenders make a good margarita. I'm particularly fond of the King Executive suites, which were much nicer and far more affordable than I would have guessed. Room 2008, the Plaza Suite, has unbelievable views of the city—from the bathtub, no less. And did I mention the hotel is haunted? Guests and staff alike claim to have seen the dark shape of human figures on floors 3, 7, 9, 11, and 12. The building once housed a hospital, and one of the most frequent sightings was the apparition of an elderly woman in a hospital gown on the 11th floor. Don't be put off by the ghost stories, however. I've stayed here several times, and the only thing I've experienced was a good night's sleep. Rates are sometimes less than budget hotels with much lower standards, so be sure to call the Emily Morgan before checking in elsewhere. This is a great option for first-time San Antonio visitors. Next to the Alamo, the location can't be beat.