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Black mold corrodes family's experience at Ponte Vedra Beach hotel

A family from the Mandarin area of Jacksonville had their vacation cut short at Sawgrass Marriott when they discovered black mold in the room.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — * Update, July 5, 10:30 a.m.: The guest told First Coast News she's still waiting for the credit, but says Marriott did reach out to say they are "comping the entire trip."

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A holiday getaway for a family from Mandarin wound up with them "getting away" a bit earlier than expected.

They discovered black mold in their room at Sawgrass Marriott.

"Like, oh my god, we're going to be really sick," that visitor described the moment they discovered the mold. "They didn't clean the hotel room and how long has this been here?"

A Sawgrass Marriott visitor wanted to protect her identity and not show her face, but wanted to make sure her family's experience wasn't swept under the rug.

She says she spent two nights at the Ponte Vedra Beach hotel celebrating her birthday and the fourth with her husband and daughter.

They spent most of the expensive vacation under the weather, and they think they figured out why as soon as they stepped out on the balcony.

"When you pay over $300 per night for a hotel room, you expect to see something a little nicer than black mold all over the walls."

She says when they notified management, they told her she could wait eight hours until another room was available and they'd move them, but they wouldn't issue any refunds.

The family chose not to spend another minute in that room and headed home to salvage what they could of the holiday weekend.

A Sawgrass Marriott manager told First Coast News he couldn't comment on the situation.

"Mold like that does not grow overnight," said TCB Enviro Corp. Environmental Specialist Mark Mongon when he saw the photo. "It's a dark mold that's been growing for some time. It's definitely water type damage."

Mongon said, based on what he saw, he's not surprised to hear this family experienced symptoms within just a few days of being in the room.

"I probably get five to ten calls a month like this," said Mongon. "This is a very common problem in vacation rentals and hotels. They do not want to lose revenue." 

This family already lost $1400 on the spoiled vacation.

She wants it comped, but that's not even her biggest concern.

"It's a health hazard, and it definitely needs to be taken care of before another family has to experience it."

* The Sawgrass Marriott responded to First Coast News at 12:30 p.m. July 4 with following statement:

Regarding First Coast News Story of Guest Discovery of Guestroom Mold-

“Guest safety, comfort and wellness continue to be a priority at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. The hotel has immediately addressed the issue and has compensated the guest for the situation which occurred.”

First Coast News spoke with the guest about Marriott's response, and the guest said she has not been refunded as of 2 p.m. July 4, and she has not been contacted by Marriott. 

When asked about this discrepancy, Marriott's corporate public relations team said, "Sometimes with hotel credits it takes a couple days for it to show on the account. But they have assured me that some compensation had been made."

First Coast News will update with developments.

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