CORONAVIRUS: Is Marriott’s COVID-19 Plan Effective? Here’s What We Found At An Area Resort

marriott crystal shores

Hotel Employees Bragged About Near 100 Percent Occupancy.

Beach Control? Not so much. A Marriott Crystal Shores employee is supposed to be here monitoring beach access.

BY: ANDREW COLTON | EDITOR AND PUBLISHER

MARCO ISLAND, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — BocaNewsNow.com just spent a few days at Marriott’s Crystal Shores in Marco Island. A short two hour drive from South Florida, it’s an easy way to get away without really going away. Crystal Shores is a “vacation club” property with “villas” (small apartments) available for non-vacation club members.

We had no problem booking a two bedroom “villa” for a few nights.


(Disclosure: I often spend more than 100 nights a year in Marriott properties and benefit from the company’s top elite status. This trip was not part of a promotion).


Marriott is impressively doing what it can to keep the property clean. Employees, wearing masks, are constantly wiping down public areas, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces, and seemingly increasing the chlorine content of every swimming pool on property.

You know the chlorine level is high when your eyes are still burning hours after getting out of the pool.

But for everything Marriott is officially doing, it apparently is not — as a company — taking a stand against guests who are in need of COVID-19 education.

To put it another way: For all of the cleaning, Marriott is hands off when it comes to guest behavior.

[Not so much with the social distancing. Marriott set chairs apart. Guests moved them. Marriott did nothing].

Marriott has posted hundreds of signs property-wide reminding guests to socially distance. But at no time was a Marriott employee actually seen enforcing those rules. We’re not talking about face masks which are arguably unreasonable at a resort. But little things that have the potential to become big things.

Elevators are marked with huge “one person or one family only” signs, but that didn’t stop groups of people from forcing their way inside.

Marriott employees often watched but did nothing.

Following Florida guidelines, deck chairs at the resort’s pools were appropriately distanced from each other. But that didn’t stop “uneducated” guests from moving those chairs closer together. Again, Marriott employees seemingly did nothing.

At a bar/restaurant, most guests were socially distanced by using tables. But a few who insisted on crowding entrances while standing and drinking. Marriott did do something — bartenders affixed portable plexiglass to protect themselves from those customers. But the employees did nothing to separate the standing drinkers from others trying to enter or exit the facility.

Villas are deigned for six people or less. But Marriott apparently did nothing to stop groups of 10 — or more — from squeezing into rooms, then partying on balconies.

[Villas are designed for 6 people. Many were observed with far more partying on balconies].

And Marriott took no active measures to ensure that only resort guests were using the resort beach. By design, a Marriott employee is supposed to be monitoring beach access to ensure that only hotel guests are accessing the beach from the property by displaying a wristband or room key (see photo above of empty chair). But that didn’t happen. The result: overpacked beaches with exceedingly large groups refusing to socially distance.

[Marco Island Beaches are seemingly not enforcing social distancing guidelines].
[Large groups, little social distancing on Marco Island’s beaches].

To be fair, it wasn’t just Marriott, however. Marco Island Police only occasionally drove across the beach in an SUV. Officers never emerged on foot. It seemed like no one cared in a town that makes its money through tourism.

There is only so much Marriott can do — and the company is clearly trying to do the right thing when it comes to cleanliness. But when your clientele needs to be reminded that COVID-19 doesn’t care if you’re on vacation or not, Marriott has a responsibility to do just that. Employees constantly said the property was approaching 100 percent occupancy.

That’s nothing to brag about.

Like Delta Airlines, Marriott should cap its occupancy at a reasonable number to ensure distancing is possible.

It is absolutely your choice if you choose to go to a resort during COVID-19 times or not. But it is also reasonable to expect that a resort run by one of the major hotel companies in the world is going to do everything possible to keep everyone safe. Cleaning is great. But looking the other way when guests refuse to obey guidelines and rules is, quite simply, just looking the other way.

Travelers expect more from Marriott.


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