The Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C., is abuzz with 105,000 new guests: Italian honeybees that have settled into their new home in hives atop the hotel’s roof. The bees will enhance the hotel’s culinary program by providing honey and pollinating the fresh herbs and edible flowers in the Fairmont’s interior courtyard garden.
Executive Sous Chef Ian Bens and Executive Pastry Chef Aron Weber, who share the responsibility of chief beekeeper, expect to retrieve 300 pounds of honey within in the first year. The honey collected from the Fairmont hives will be used in soups, salad dressings, pastries, ice cream and other offerings at Juniper, the hotel’s restaurant.
Aside from beewitching guests with sweet treats, the Fairmont Hotel’s choice to put hives on the rooftop helps support bee populations, which have suffered in recent years from colony collapse disorder and other problems.
"Many pollinating bees have disappeared due to habitat loss and pollution. Creating these new hives helps keep the bee population healthy and helps to ensure that plants are pollinated, which is also essential for insects, birds and animals to survive. Eventually, The Fairmont hopes to use the honeycomb to create candles, soaps and even lip balm”, states Executive Sous Chef and Bee Keeper Ian Bens.
Here’s hoping the bees enjoy a relaxing yet productive stay at the Fairmont, and that this unbeelievably cool trend spreads to other hotels across the nation.