Unexpected Feathered Guests Are a “Hoot”!

October 11, 2012

Delivering VIP Service to Baby Barn Owls

Recently, we had some VIP's stay at one of our hotels for six weeks.  Or should I say VIO's – Very Important Owls.

Owls 3The San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront hotel became the nest for a family of baby barn owls – a protected native bird of prey.  Imagine opening your curtain, looking out the window and there, staring back at you, are four sets of big eyes nestled in a section of the balcony – a birdwatcher’s delight.

The hotel immediately put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign, called in wildlife experts and treated these feathered guests as Very Important People.  When the baby owls’ parents brought food, it was a most unusual form of room service.

The hotel knew that one day the owls would fly the coop.  But before they did, their story went viral on Facebook.  The posting asked for suggestions on how to upgrade their stay.  We had hundreds of comments.  I want to share a few:  “Hey, how about in-nest breakfast!!”  “Flyaway packages!”  “TV for them with Animal Planet and the Weather Channel?”  How about, “Mice under glass by room service!”  Or,  “Whooooo would deliver them?”

And my favorite, “I never knew staying at the Marriott could be such a hoot!”  That is pretty good.

Marriott takes its responsibility to preserve the environment and its wildlife seriously.  I guess the owls are proof that we are succeeding.  At dusk, they can be seen flying in nearby trees.  I’m told that they return each year to nest in the same spot.  So, we’ve reserved their room.  Until then, they are watching over the hotel.

Leave a comment and let me know how you’d upgrade their stay.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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This is such a lovely story! How noble of the hotel to actually treat and service the family of owls. Goes to show it does not matter "HOO" you are everyone and thing should be treated fairly and like VIP's :)

I am happy to hear that they were able to obtain a free stay. That is truly good news! Thank you for taking such wonderful care of them.

Such a great story! That would have been a headache for many other people and businesses, but you had fun with it and got great press out of it too. Wish there were more stories and companies like this.

I think we should be careful about making any changes/ugrades to the area of the owls. It seems that they are very content with its current status because they keep coming back each year. I would hate to disrupt it in any way, even if it was with good intentions, for fear of them moving to a new location. I think the best thing we can do is simply let them be and just enjoy their beauty.

JW Marriott makes it almost impossible for anyone or animal :) to not return. Keep doing an excellent job on customer service.

You never know: they might just be mail-owls that are taking a break from their Hogwarts deliveries

Well if 'wide eyed' Mrs Owl is happy to have her four little 'wide eyed' babies staying comfortably in marriott I am happy to always stay at any marriott in the world with full confidence with both my eyes closed.
I second Mrs Owl's vote of confidence in marriott.

Several years' ago when I was working for Vacation Club in Breckenridge, CO, I received a message early one morning from our wonderful Auditor, Barb, saying that we had guests in our shipping room. And there, to our eyes, were two of the cutest baby racoons I have ever seen. They visited us several evenings and graduated to the lobby one night when the doors were propped-open because of the warm weather. After that, we were told to keep the doors closed and they moved-on to greener pastures, leaving us with wonderful memories of their sweetness and playfulness. We called them, Bill and Alice, due to their grace and charm. Happy Fall everyone. I have pictures but no way to post them for you. Sorry. :-)

Nice story to read and start my Saturday morning! Thanks!

Nice story to read and start my Saturday morning! Thanks!

I would offer them a complimentary Harry Potter movie staring famous Hedwig the white owl!

I'm not sure how to improve their stay - but I just wanted to say how cute they are! I would love to open my window and have a view like that!