The Hotel Santa Rita is a boutique luxury hotel located in Midland TX. With an opening date of 2018, the team is currently in the process of completing construction and development.
They came to us with a single event in history; the story of the Santa Rita No 1. Beyond the immediate branding needs of the hotel, we also had to work within the holding company’s plan for their family of hotels; all of which would build upon story telling to convey the spirit of an area vs something dictated by simply style or architecture. We wanted to define an authentic Midland experience. We felt, people stay in a boutique hotel to gain a unique insight into the area, but if you have been to Midland you know this isn’t immediately apparent what this may be.With a story driven brand, there is always the danger of trying to say too much. You don’t want to overwhelm or you lose all the power of the story. Keep it simple and keep it compelling.We didn’t want it to feel like a museum. While we are telling the story of a specific point in time, it can’t feel like a history class.Our research buried us in the archives; sifting through the dusty pages and newspapers from the 1920’s. We wanted to know everything we could about the Santa Rita No 1 to take the core story and pull it throughout the many sub brands that existed inside the hotel (from restaurants to barber shops). Then, we had to understand the people of Midland as the Santa Rita was simply a vehicle to communicate the city’s true nature. We made trips, struck up conversations and read anything available about the full history of Midland. In that research we found how to connect the story of the Santa Rita with the people of Midland today. This led us to the Brand Story for the hotel and the history of the Santa Rita:The Santa Rita No. 1 was the first proof oil existed in the Permian Basin and named after the patroness saint of impossible causes. She certainly lived up to her name out in the desert landscape of what was then a desolate, dusty area known as the oil man’s graveyard. For years, men of great wealth, knowledge and hope had come only to be disillusioned by the unforgiving terrain of West Texas. It would be the inexperienced but astonishingly resourceful pair of Frank T. Pickrell and Haymond Krupp that turned foolish hopes into an enterprise that would change the course of history, but not without first enlisting the help of an unlikely partner. Before the construction of the well began, a group of Catholic women were approached to invest. They were of course quite dubious of the endeavor and hoped to improve the probability of success where so many had tried and failed. As a condition of their investment, they handed Pickrell an envelope with a blessed single rose and requested the dried crimson petals be scattered from the crown block saying simply, “I hereby christen thee Santa Rita.” Invoking the saint of the impossible by no measure made the journey to success easy. For 646 long and certainly fearful days, the team chipped away at sand, salt and rock. Until on the morning of May 28, 1923 as a spray of glittering oil painted the land black, she made good on her promise. The Santa Rita No. 1 stills shows the power of optimism, the tenacity of the human spirit and the belief the impossible is within reach.