Watch: Angry Marriott Lifetime Elite Sneaks Into Ritz-Carlton, Won’t Get Out Of Hot Tub

Last month a man that wasn’t a guest entered the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota and planted himself in the hot tub. He wouldn’t leave. When police responded to a trespassing complaint from management, the man ranted about what had become of his beloved Starwood Preferred Guest program and his lifetime elite status, as captured on body cam video.

Around 3 minutes 30 seconds, when asked how he got into the property, he yells “SPG! Lifetime status! Pre-merger.” He then went on to list various W hotel properties, like Seattle, and then recalled the original W New York.

He was offered a free coffee and a croissant to get out of the hot tub. Later, while being arrested he asks if he can get it as an almond croissant? I doubt he ever received it.

As he’s arrested, the 50-year old yells again about being a “platinum elite” and then that he’s a “silver platinum elite.. Bonvoy… I’m being human trafficked.” He says he’s a local, who grew up in the area with his “tax-evading parents” who used to bring him to the Ritz. He then starts talking about the history of the nearby Hyatt Regency.

While being walked out of the property he again starts talking about Marriott Bonvoy, asking the officers to contact the program (presumably they should explain that he’s just a loyal customer). And as he crosses paths with the valet, handcuffed and being led out by an officer, he asks “can I get a water?” Finally as he’s put into a police cruiser he yells that people should Google what happened to SPG.

After the trespassing self-proclaimed lifetime elite is taken away, the video closes with officers talking amongst themselves about whether and how to trump up charges beyond just trespassing. They reject disorderly conduct but settle on resisting arrest because the officer “had to” use force (“throw him into the $%@#ing wall”).

Radisson Hotels in Europe, Middle East, and Africa used to have an elite benefit called “Our World, Your Lounge.” Their elites were welcome on property, even when not staying as a guest. This was limited to the lobby, but they offered complimentary coffee and soft drinks. That’s hospitality.

GHA Discovery promotes offers to bring people on property when not staying as a guest. And many hotels offer resort passes for sale to non-guests. This man apparently didn’t buy one.

To be sure, the man in the hot tub at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota doesn’t seem to be acting, or speaking, rationally. But what Marriott did to the Starwood program after acquiring the chain and folding it into the Bonvoy program could drive anyone crazy.

(HT: tommy777)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Didn’t platinums in legacy Starwood get lounge access at Sheratons within airports?

  2. @Gary – the concluding sentence in the post is incomplete – “But what Marriott did to the Starwood program after acquiring the chain and folding it into the Bonvoy program ……….?”

  3. If this story isn’t a joke or a set-up, I would suspect that this kind of person would be someone who was at least a reader of FlyerTalk or some of the other miles and points sites.

    What’s that saying about being more loyal than the king. Sounds like that Florida Man may have been a bit too loyal to SPG for his own good and should become more loyal to himself by getting the help he seems to need.

  4. I think I said this a year or two ago… While I appreciate the social media / conflict type posts every now and then, I do get uncomfortable when the posts feature those that seem to be suffering from obvious mental illness

  5. Anthony,

    That is a good point.

    Unfortunately, too much of the response to mental disorders — and perhaps some would include being under the influence of drugs (including alcohol) — on display on public and commercial grounds involves a police response and the use of the law enforcement and criminal justice as the front line response to mental health crises on open display.

  6. Gotta love it ! Glad his episode was on the ground and not in the air. wonder if they dropped him off at the local Motel 6?

  7. This is what happens many years later after being Bonvoyed by Marriott
    So so sad

  8. James S,

    The incident happened in late June.

    I doubt that the person would still be under arrest and in a law enforcement-operated detention facility this many weeks later for the hot tub squatting incident, but Florida can be crazy in various ways so who knows.

  9. DCS is that you? I thought you were just Hilton Lifetime Diamond?

    @Andrew, even in travel blogosphere, no one can be as stupid as you seem to be in asking such a ridiculous question and mentioning me. It’s no secret that SPG and WoH elites can be rabidly fanatical and feel ‘entitled’ as a result of being fed a steady diet of all the great perks (suite upgrades, late checkout, breakfast) that they are “guaranteed”. No Hilton Honors elite would be caught doing anything remotely similar to what this guy did.

    You wanna make stupid comments? Be my guest. Just leave me out of them.

  10. They didn’t fully hide his identity in the clip. Looking up he was arrested 3x in Wisconsin in 2019, and then jailed in Sarasota in the last year.

  11. In Feb he was booked on similar trespassing and resisting arrest charges near Sarasota

  12. Ritz wasnt even a part of original SPG and secondly does not give full benefits to Marriott elites either that you’ll get for instance at St Regis!

  13. @GUWonder: It depends. If a judge assigns bail and he’s not able to cover bail he could sit in jail for months.

  14. There are far more effective ways of dealing with disappointment and frustration than this man did. I hope the hotel won’t press charges and that the man will have a good talk with himself and perhaps his religious advisor, assuming he has some religion; otherwise perhaps his PCP might help.

    Marriott’s senior management could improve its treatment of those holding membership or rewards cards. But I doubt they’ll do so unless compelled to. People that implement stupid strategies are not very empathetic; only pathetic. A friend remarks, “When someone is stupid, it’s for a long time.”

  15. I understand he initially came for the free breakfast, and just decided to stay.

  16. Excellent police work. They were very patient with him. In California he would be detained on a 5150.

  17. @James S LOL! best comment.. This could be perfectly any of us after too many/too close flights in many time zones and after a flyertalk reading marathon, without getting full sleep for a week.

  18. Greg,

    What were his three 2019 arrests for in WI?

    Chris R,

    I suspect the ability for him to land bail money wouldn’t be the problem.

Comments are closed.