Best Laid Plans

October 28, 2015

I’ve mentioned before that our company was founded on five core values. One of them –the most important – is to Put People First. That is easy enough to do when things are good, but even more important when things are out of our control.

Late last Wednesday night, a major storm formed off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The storm quickly grew in intensity and by Thursday morning the media and weather forecasters were calling Hurricane Patricia a storm of historic proportions.

Patricia - PV One of our resorts, the CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, was in Hurricane Patricia’s predicted path. Within hours of the first real sign this was going to be an immense hurricane, a team of leaders from the hotel, the region and Marriott International headquarters, quickly assembled and put our emergency plans into action.

The team wasted no time in responding. We made the decision to evacuate the hotel of all guests and associates even before the government imposed an evacuation. By Friday morning, we offered guests two options… fly out of Puerto Vallarta’s airport or be evacuated by bus to Guadalajara. Several associates volunteered to join guests on the buses to assist with translation and help ensure guest safety.  Meanwhile, back at the resort, all other associates were sent home to care for their families and homes.

I am amazed by this team. I want to thank General Manager David Gauna and his associates.  Every aspect of our emergency plan was carried through perfectly. We took care of our guests and employees first, and the rest of the plan fell into place.  By Saturday morning, the wind died down Patricia - Welcoming Guestsand the rain cleared. We were thankful to report that the hurricane did not damage the resort. Guests were even given a “red carpet” welcome back to CasaMagna.

Nearly 180 dedicated hotel associates stepped up quickly Saturday morning to get the hotel ready to welcome guests later that day. Even the smallest of guests were taken care of… Loss Prevention Officer Fernando Hernandez discovered 136 turtles were born in our sanctuary overnight. Without missing a beat, he made sure the turtles made it out to sea.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those that were impacted by Hurricane Patricia. As it turns out – this time we were lucky.  And while some of the precautions we took may not have been necessary, I look at it as a real-life opportunity to practice our best laid plans.

Thanks to our hardworking teams on the ground in Mexico and our crisis teams at Headquarters and around the world. It’s comforting to know we can act quickly and always put our people—guests and our employees—first.

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

Listen to audio

Don’t just take my word for it, guests at the hotel at the time of the evacuation had high praise for the hotel team.

Patricia - Guest Comment 1 Patricia - Guest Comment 2 Patricia - Guest Comment 3 Patricia - Guest Comment 4


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To celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary, My wife Trish and I chose Puerto Vallarta for it's beauty, and Marriott for it's first class service. The CasaMagna was the perfect choice. Exceptional amennities, suites, restuarants and above all, the staff. Never was that more evident then when Hurricane Patricia came calling. This is where the story really begins. We were scheduled to check out Friday morning, the day of the Hurricane. Marriott owed us nothing at this point. We were no longer to be registered guests. Trish and I were treated like the most important people at the CasaMagna. We received a comfortable bus "tour" through the mountains to Guadalajara, we received first rate accomidations at Presidente Intercontinental Hotel for the night, and lunch the following day for the ride back to the CasaMagna. All at no charge. When we got off the bus, there were dozens of staff members lining the pathway up to the hotel clapping and cheering for us. It was an emotional moment money cannot buy. They allowed us to check back into our suite for an additional three nights, when other hotels were turning guests away. The quality of service and ammentities didn't skip a beat. In fact, it was even better. To be treated like family, not just another face on vacation, was extraordinary considering the situation. Highest praise to the CasaMagna team and to Marriott Hotels for putting their priorites where it most impacts the guest. Yours sincerely, Christopher and Trish Coyne.

I am very happy to see that everyone made it out safely and the storm was eventually downgraded. Regardless of what happened Marriott always seems to have things under control even when they are not in their control. Congrats to the team on keeping everyone safe.

I have worked in the US for this hotel for 15 years and their service is fantastic. They truley care about our guests. Thankful that ALL guest and employees were safe. Thanks PV for ALL you do. You are the BEST. I heart PV...


My wife and I, and 2 friends that were traveling with us, were part of the evacuation and the TRULY red carpet welcome back. I even took a video as they clapped for several minutes as we offloaded from the bus. They even had margaritas and other drinks waiting at the top of the line for those who wanted them. It was so amazing. The fact that the Marriott took the best care of it's guests, didn't surprise me. We have been going to the CasaMagna Marriott for 7 years now, and they have always taken wonderful care of their guests. My special thanks to the Chief Concierge, Simon Coulson, was aware that we were out to dinner, and sent me a direct message letting me know of the situation and advising me to get back to the hotel quickly.

Mr Guana has done a wonderful job and has one of the best group of people I have ever had the pleasure to stay with. As a platinum member and a user of the Marriott Rewards Insider page, I have always been fond of the Marriott, but this just solidified my loyalty in Marriott, especially in Puerto Vallarta. Anybody who would stay anywhere else in PVR is just not researching their hotels well enough.

Best Team Ever!!!