Can Mineral Wells Once Again Become a Wellness Hotspot in Texas?

The town revived a 111-year-old hotel and was recently named the state's "wellness capital"

October 24, 2023 6:43 am
Lobby with brown and green decor accents in the Crazy Water Hotel
The Crazy Water Hotel, first established in 1912, has a new lease on life.
Photographer: Julia Cooper

On June 18, the Texas legislature officially designated Mineral Wells “the wellness capital of Texas.” It’s a helpful marketing tool for the North Texas town, which is located about an hour’s drive from Fort Worth, but the wellness reputation is nothing new. Since Mineral Wells first drew settlers in the late 1800s, it’s been known for the healing waters that sprang from — as its moniker suggests — its mineral-rich wells. Early inhabitants spoke of the water’s power to cure everything from arthritis to mental disorders, so more wells were dug and bathhouses were built. Soon, visitors from across the country and both coasts flocked to the small town to partake in its liquid riches.

The Crazy Water Hotel was established in 1912. Boasting a spa, luxurious ballroom and drinking water pavilion in the lobby, it thrived — for a time. But as progress marched on, modern medicines were produced and government officials laid out new regulations concerning the advertisement of medical claims. The hotel eventually closed and stayed empty for decades. Thankfully, that’s not the end of the story.

The hotel relaunched in 2021 after 88 Mineral Wells residents and local business leaders came together to raise funds, reopen the hotel and revitalize the town. The result is the new and improved, seven-story Crazy Water Hotel. On Friday, October 27, the property will welcome a popular Austin restaurant, Second Bar + Kitchen. Down the line, the Baker Hotel and Spa, another historic landmark that was a hit in the 1900s, is preparing to reopen in 2026.

There’s a lot going on in this town of about 15,000 people. Can it become a new wellness destination?

As the Hotel Goes, So Goes the Town

“The Crazy Water Hotel is often referred to as ‘the heartbeat of Mineral Wells,’” says Cynthia Nelson, GM of the new hotel. She tells InsideHook that, as the only large building on Main Street, it’s the center of the community. “Saving it was and still is considered essential to saving the town.”

Nelson moved to Mineral Wells after working at another hotel in Austin. She was drawn to the town, its story and its people.

“I was blown away by the gritty, friendly, cooperative, hardworking, positive spirit of a town that was claiming its place on the map,” she says. “For the first time in my life, I understood what people meant when they said they had a calling to do something. I had a calling to come to Mineral Wells and to play whatever part I could in its success.” She notes the old saying that a rising tide lifts all boats. “I wanted to be part of that tide.”

The Crazy, as it’s affectionately called, has 62 rooms and suites and also features a ballroom, private bar and rooftop patio. The lobby is home to Rickhouse Brewing, the only brewery in town, so beer is never hard to find. And the Crazy Coffee & Water Bar has all the coffee shop classics, made with locally produced mineral water called Crazy Water, of course. 

Coffee bar with seating area and plants
Crazy Coffee & Water Bar
Photographer: Julia Cooper

Nelson explains that the renovation of the original spa and bathhouses is still in the works, but they should open next year. The spa will lean into the mineral water theme and have a back-to-basics approach to wellness. She says the hotel is preserving the original architecture where possible, while updating what needs updating.

“Once the Crazy Water Hotel Spa is open, it will feel truly full circle, as the town returns to the success it originally built on our water,” she says.

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Feeding the Town and Hotel Guests

Second Bar + Kitchen is part of La Corsha Hospitality Group, which also runs the Crazy Water Hotel and is behind the forthcoming Baker Hotel. The Mineral Wells location, the first in North Texas, will be a driving force in championing the town’s and the hotel’s reputation for wellness. 

Chef David Bull leads the kitchen and will also oversee the Baker once it’s ready. After traveling to Mineral Wells for years to assist with these projects, he left Austin and made the move to full-time resident.

“As the years went by, I began to notice a significant change in the overall atmosphere of the community,” he says. “It became evident there was something very special happening here, and I wanted to be a part of something more than just opening a restaurant.” He explains that opening Second Bar + Kitchen at the hotel provides a rare opportunity to impact the community in a significant way.

Wellness has always been part of the Second Bar + Kitchen brand, and the restaurant has long been a haven for diners with dietary restrictions. Opening in Mineral Wells has given Bull a chance to double down on those values.

The restaurant will serve a seasonal American menu featuring ingredients sourced from local farms, including greens, mushrooms, cheese and cider, plus botanicals from their community garden in nearby Weatherford. The menu features a few Second Bar + Kitchen staples, like black truffle pomme frites, soba noodles and salmon over pork belly fried rice, and it highlights plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free alternatives — items that aren’t typically easy to find in small-town Texas. The bar program will have a thoughtful selection of beers and wines, plus cocktails and zero-proof drinks made with Crazy Water. 

“This was the plan all along, but with Mineral Wells’ recent designation as the wellness capital of Texas, it helps to amplify the message of how important wellness is and what role a restaurant can play in the overall community,” says Bull.

Eventually, Mineral Wells business leaders hope to transform the town into what is essentially DFW’s Fredericksburg — a resort destination that’s centered on a walkable downtown full of enticing restaurants and shops. With two revived hotels and spas, plus surrounding natural attractions like Possum Kingdom Lake, the Brazos River and Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, visitors can experience more than just the mineral water that made it famous.


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