“You deserve medals”: Marriott guest praises the chain’s generosity during Hurricane Irma


As the Caribbean recovers from Hurricane Irma and prepares for Hurricane Jose, travel companies are pulling out all the stops to support affected communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Marriott group, which has 12 hotels in the Caribbean, allegedly helped guests evacuate Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort in St. Thomas after Hurricane Irma hit last week. On Sunday, Instagram user @yinzergirl posted this heartfelt thank you to the Marriott team for taking care of her and other hurricane victims in St. Thomas. The photo shows a letter from Tim Sheldon, president of Caribbean and Latin America for Marriott International.

This morning when I was taking a shower, a wave of appreciation overcame me and I shed a couple tears of happiness and was completely humbled. The staff at @marriotthotels has taken care of us from onset of this hurricane, through keeping us safe and informed, providing meals and water for us and also those who weren't as prepared as we were, keeping us updated after the hurricane when all of our shelter and power was damaged, flooded, and we didn't know when or how we were going to leave the island and get home (many to their children, many *with* their children). They acted as a shelter for those on the island who lost their homes (*many* lost their homes, 80% of 50k people were without adequate shelter after the hurricane). Most of the staff live on the island and selflessly gave their service with a smile and I couldn't and still can't say "thank you" enough times. They volunteered their own cars when we convoyed through treacherous conditions to get to a port to ferry us here to San Juan at night. Marriott paid privately half a million dollars just to get us on that ferry, and as if that wasn't enough, to keep everyone's spirits high, they fed us delicious food, provided a magician, a band, hot tea and coffee all throughout. When we got to our port in San Juan, we were greeted by Marriott workers who clapped and cheered and I was embarrassed by the level of kindness and felt undeserving. I'm crying typing this because of how kind these people are. We were shuttled to our hotels at 3 AM and were greeted by dozens of workers and the US Army personally shaking our hands telling us there was a welcome party here just for us. They gave us free drinks and TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS PER PERSON because we all have to find new ways to get home (see letter). These folks and this company have gone above and beyond in ways that a few words in a social media post cannot capture, but I'm trying my best. We met some wonderful people on our trip that we will miss and some we will keep in touch with forever. We all stuck together and helped each other and that is what it's all about. Marriott, I can't thank you enough. None of us can. [read on below]

A post shared by Anna (@yinzergirl) on

“This morning when I was taking a shower, a wave of appreciation overcame me and I shed a couple tears of happiness and was completely humbled,” she wrote in the Instagram caption, explaining that the staff kept her “safe and informed, providing meals and water for us and also those who weren’t as prepared as we were.” She noted that the hotel served as a shelter for many on St. Thomas who had lost homes.

Plus, she was floored by the staffers’ commitment to hospitality:

Most of the staff live on the island and selflessly gave their service with a smile and I couldn’t and still can’t say “thank you” enough times. They volunteered their own cars when we convoyed through treacherous conditions to get to a port to ferry us here to San Juan at night. Marriott paid privately half a million dollars just to get us on that ferry, and as if that wasn’t enough, to keep everyone’s spirits high, they fed us delicious food, provided a magician, a band, hot tea and coffee all throughout. When we got to our port in San Juan, we were greeted by Marriott workers who clapped and cheered and I was embarrassed by the level of kindness and felt undeserving.

According to the Instagram post, hotel staffers greeted the boat and whisked people back to the resort at 3 a.m.

“They gave us free drinks and $200 per person because we all have to find new ways to get home,” she wrote. “I’ll tell you what, I will never, ever stay at another hotel [brand] again in my life... You deserve medals.”

After a viral video showed that the ferry evacuating hotel guests from St. Thomas had turned away non-Marriott passengers, Fox News 19, a Cincinnati news outlet, reported that Marriott employees did not have the authorization to board additional travelers who were gathered at the dock.

However, several cruise companies have been working to move people off islands affected by recent storms. Royal Caribbean sent two ships to the Caribbean that have a combined passenger capacity of 6,600, Fortune reported. The cruise line also sent ships to evacuate people in Key West, Florida, and Tampa, Florida. Norwegian Cruise Line is also evacuating stranded cruisers who are in Miami, USA Today reported. The new ship that will evacuate thousands is aptly named Norwegian Escape.

Read Full Story

Can't get enough business news?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from retailer news to the latest IPOs delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.