photo of Baker Hotel in Texas
Photograher: Rene Gomez/ Wikipedia Commons/ Renelibrary

Historic Texas Hotel Becomes TikTok Star Sharing Behind the Scenes Renovations


The Baker Hotel, found in Mineral Wells, Texas, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. The hotel dates back to 1890 when the local citizens were concerned that non-citizens were profiting from the town's mineral water. So, as a result, $150,000 was raised to build a hotel. Just an hour outside Fort Worth, the Baker, formerly a celebrity hotspot, is now a beloved landmark with big plans to regain its former glory as a popular destination.

The Texas hotel's design was based on the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas, which was well known for its baths. After opening in 1929, Baker Hotel ended up becoming a popular spa destination. Famous visitors during its peak included the likes of Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Will Rogers, and future U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. There are even rumors that legendary outlaws Bonnie and Clyde may have visited. Unfortunately, during the 1950s, the hotel began to decline following the war, and ultimately it closed its doors in 1972. But all of that is going to change thanks to the new renovation project restoring the Baker to its former glory. But with some serious upgrades that honor its history. 

Lead developers Laird Fairchild and Chad Patton secured $65 million in investments for a three-year plan to renovate and reopen the historic Baker Hotel. The Cloud Room, a top-floor ballroom with views of the Texas landscape, will be fully restored, which sounds definitely worth seeing in person. The number of guest rooms will decrease from 450 to 165 to devote more space to meeting and event space as well as a massive luxury spa, coffee shop, and retail space. Nothing like a fancy spa to draw tourists in for a relaxing weekend getaway. 

Mark Rawlings, general partner and restoration project manager for the hotel, has cleverly given renovations the attention they deserve by turning the hotel into a TikTok star. He's been working on renovations since 2019 and has shared that the goal is for the hotel to reopen in 2024. With over 100,000 followers and over 1 million likes, the account has helped create a sense of excitement in restoring the historic hotel. In his videos, Rawlings takes you behind the scenes, showing you everything from Bonnie and Clyde's room to the various pipes used in the walls. Rawlings himself is as charming as the hotel he's working on, which probably contributes to the TikTok videos being so popular.

@thebakerhotelandspa A few guests who were rumored to have stayed at The Baker Hotel and Spa during its heyday #thebakerhotelandspa #historic #hotel #spa #mineralwells #texas #celebrity #guest ? gangstas paradise - favsoundds

It seems like the ideal time to get the Baker back on its feet as things have significantly changed in Mineral Wells since the hotel first opened. At the time, the small town was counting on the hotel to boost its economy. But Phil Garrett, the unofficial local historian, tells Texas Monthly that isn't necessarily the case anymore. 

"We're in the middle of a renaissance right now without the Baker," he said, describing new shop and restaurant openings in Palo Pinto County. "We've seen a burst of energy in the town that we haven't seen in decades."

Hopefully, the new renovations will transform the Baker Hotel and Spa into a destination that people all over North Texas (and beyond) want to visit. Who wouldn't want to unwind in a giant swimming pool in this relaxing small town to get away from the craziness of everyday life? Based on the hotel's TikTok, there's already a slew of anxious fans who would jump at the chance to come visit.


READ MORE: Texas' Oldest Standing Mansion is a Must-See Gem of the Hill Country

This article was originally published on July 29, 2019. It was updated on July 20, 2022.

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