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Marriott Emotional Support Animal Policy: What To Know

If you’re planning to travel with an emotional support animal, it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the hotel policies of the specific Marriott property, as these fees can influence your travel budget and overall experience. Marriott provides a clear framework for guests traveling with animals, ensuring that all guests, including those with emotional support animals, experience a comfortable and hassle-free stay.

Marriott Emotional Support Animal Policy Overview

Your stay at Marriott with an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) will be defined by specific policies set by the hotel chain, influenced by federal guidelines.

Definition and Recognition of ESAs

Emotional support animals are recognized as animals that provide support purely through companionship and are different from service animals which are trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities. Marriott follows the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which clearly distinguishes ESAs from Service Animals. While Marriott hotels across the United States welcome Service Animals without any extra charges, they regard ESAs in a different category.

  • Service Animal: Defined by the ADA, needs no pet fee at Marriott.
  • ESA: Not defined by the ADA as a Service Animal, may incur pet fees.

Eligibility Criteria for ESAs

To accommodate an ESA at a Marriott hotel, you’ll need to adhere to the policies each hotel sets forth. The Federal ADA guidelines do not apply to ESAs in the same way they do to service animals. If your animal is solely for emotional support, comfort, or companionship, it’s considered a pet by the hotel, and you’ll likely have to pay the daily pet fee.

  • Service Animals: Allowed by ADA, no additional charge at Marriott.
  • ESAs: Treated as pets, pet fees apply according to hotel policy.

Documentation and Certification Requirements

When booking a stay at Marriott with your Emotional Support Animal (ESA), you’ll need to have certain documentation in order. This includes a valid ESA letter and professional endorsement, to ensure a hassle-free experience.

Valid ESA Letter

A valid ESA letter is a must-have. This letter should:

  • Be written on official letterhead from a licensed mental health professional.
  • Clearly state your need for the ESA as part of your treatment plan.
  • Include the date of issue, which should be within the last year to ensure its validity.
  • Contain the signature of the medical professional.

Professional Endorsement

The professional endorsement of your need for an ESA should come from someone who is:

  • A licensed mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker.
  • Directly involved in your mental health care.
  • Legally able to certify your need for an ESA in your state of residence.

Marriott International respects the significance of ESAs for guests with disabilities and strives to accommodate them following the ADA guidelines and state/local laws. However, be aware that this policy may vary by location, and it’s wise to check with the specific hotel before your arrival.

Hotel Accommodation and Accessibility

Marriott hotels are committed to ensuring that you and your Emotional Support Animal (ESA) have a comfortable stay, with necessary room features and accessible hotel amenities designed to accommodate your needs.

Hotel Room Accessibility for Guests with ESAs

When staying at a Marriott hotel with your ESA, you’ll find that rooms are equipped to ensure you both have a smooth and stress-free experience. Room accessibility features may include:

  • Ample space: to accommodate both you and your ESA comfortably.
  • Accessible facilities: such as restrooms equipped with grab bars.

Rooms are subject to a pet fee for ESAs, and additional charges may be applied if any damage or soiling occurs due to the animal.

Hotel Amenities and ESAs

Your ESA is allowed in common areas and public areas of the hotel, enabling you to enjoy the hotel’s amenities together. However, specifics can vary, so check with individual establishments. Here’s what you can typically expect:

  • Access to public spaces: Your ESA can accompany you to lobbies, lounges, and other public areas.
  • Restrictions: Some areas like restaurants and swimming pools may have restrictions, so it’s advised to verify with the hotel.

Always remember that hotel laws and policies may differ by location, and it’s essential to confirm with the specific Marriott hotel prior to your arrival to ensure a seamless experience for you and your ESA.

Fees, Deposits, and Additional Costs

When staying at Marriott hotels with your emotional support animal, it’s essential to understand the policies regarding fees and deposits to avoid unexpected expenses.

Pet Policy and Fees

If you’re traveling with a service animal, you won’t be charged a pet fee. However, for emotional support animals that do not qualify as service animals under the Federal ADA guidelines, the standard pet fees apply.

  • Service Animals: No charge
  • Emotional Support Animals: Daily pet fee applies

Cleaning Fees and Deposits

While there’s an upfront charge for ESAs, also keep in mind that if your ESA causes any damage or soils the hotel room, you might incur additional charges.

Responsibilities of ESA Owners

As an owner of an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), you’re entrusted with extra responsibilities, both for the well-being of your ESA and the consideration of others. It’s not just about having your ESA by your side; it’s adhering to proper conduct and ensuring your animal’s behavior aligns with regulations.

Behavior and Control

Your ESA’s behavior is a direct reflection of your responsibility as an owner. 

  • Control: Always keep your ESA on a leash or in a carrier, especially in public areas.
  • Behavior: Service animals are trained to be in public, but ESAs aren’t. Therefore, your ESA should be well-behaved, not showing aggression and not causing disturbances.

Owner Obligations and Conduct

Your conduct is as crucial as your ESA’s:

  • Documentation: Have all necessary ESA documentation ready, as some places may request it.
  • Respect: Acknowledge that businesses and individuals may not be familiar with ESA regulations. It’s your job to navigate these situations with respect for all involved, including staff and other patrons.

Your awareness and adherence to these nuances will ensure a harmonious environment for your family, your ESA, and the people around you.

Frequently Asked Questions

When staying at a Marriott property, policies may vary depending on the location and brand within the Marriott portfolio. Below are the answers to some common questions about this:

What are the fees associated with bringing a pet or an emotional support animal to a Marriott hotel?

While service animals don’t incur a fee, pets and emotional support animals are typically not exempt from such charges at Marriott properties.

Is Marriott’s approach to emotional support animals consistent across their various properties, including states like Texas?

Yes, Marriott International maintains consistency in their approach to emotional support animals across all properties, including those in Texas.

Under what circumstances, if any, would a pet fee be waived for guests with emotional support animals at Marriott hotels?

The pet fee is waived for guests with emotional support animals at Marriott hotels, if the ESA is also a trained service dog.

image credit: Karen Bryan/Flickr CC 2.0