A Safe Haven

June 14, 2016

DSC00933It’s not uncommon for me to hear about how the teams at any one of our 4,400 hotels are going above and beyond to help a guest. It’s one of our core values… putting people first.

I recently came across a newspaper article about the Courtyard Newark – University of Delaware. Their concept of putting people first didn’t just stop at associates or guests… they put an entire community first.

For years, the hotel team has been quietly creating a safe haven for families with autistic children. It started with one local family dropping off a letter in “Santa’s Mailbox” at the hotel one Christmas. The director of operations, Tracy Holmes, later invited the family to swim in the hotel’s pool and to bring along some other families like hers.

Before long, dozens of families with autistic children were regularly gathering at the hotel pool to enjoy a comfortable, welcoming environment. They dubbed themselves the “MarriOtters” and found the water to be a calming, judgment-free place to bring their children. The hotel then offered their meeting rooms for the MarriOtters to have movie nights and holiday parties.


Tracy Holmes led the effort on behalf of the hotel and gathered support from her team to accommodate these families. Sadly, Ms. Holmes passed away last year but her legacy lives on through the MarriOtters and the hotel team that serves them.

I love what Bill Sullivan, the managing director of the hotel had to say, “I’m glad we’ve been able to help these families. But, honestly, it’s more about what these families have done for us. My team has learned so much about autism and how to help kids on the spectrum.”

That says it all right there, doesn’t it? Putting people first—putting an entire community of families first—is not just about good business. It’s about making the world a better place.

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

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Mr Marriott, sincere thanks for sharing this story about our hotel, we are so proud to be a Marriott property and to be able to educate the hospitality students at the University of Delaware. We appreciate all your support and look forward to welcoming you again at your hotel in Newark and to the University of Delaware!

Thanks Bill Sullivan, Hotel Managing Director and Teacher!

Another demonstration how family friendly Marriotts hotels are. In my recent vacation i had the oportunity to compare a stay at the Marriott with an Airbnb booking. The latter proved to be a true nightmare. Never again. Always Marriott. Thank you for providing a safe shelter Mr.Marriott.

Mr. Marriott,
I just wanted to send you the best wishes for a wonderful Father Day. You have an amazing family and I know you will be surrounded by them on your special day. You are a great Father to our wonderful company and I thankful to be able to come to such a beautiful place each and every day. Happy Father Day!

Love this story, I have a teenage niece and nephew that are both on the spectrum and this would have been a great option for them when they were younger. Finding activities for them has always been difficult, the environment you create sounds like it's really working.
Thanks for sharing!

Reading this article makes me even more proud to be a University of Delaware Blue Hen! As a student working in the hotel for our Lodging Module, I remember seeing these children and the impact they had on the team. Great story and great hotel!

What a wonderful story! It's inspirational, thanks for sharing it!

GO BLUE HENS !! TOM BRATTON (DELAWARE '55.....MARRIOTT
'62 - '75 "THE FIRST TEAM")