The Buzz on Bees

Sweeeeet! More and more hotels are joining the bee brigade.

The survival of the food chain depends, directly or indirectly, on those busy little pollinators. Did you know the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates one mouthful in three in our diet depends on them? Yet the vitality of hives continues to be threatened by the phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, which causes bee populations to plummet.

Yet in the meetings universe, honeybees are thriving. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has been bee-friendly for 10 years, and has more than 40 apiaries on rooftop gardens and other locations. You might not think of New York City as bee country, but Javits Center, the nation’s busiest convention center, put hives on its vast living roof, and many hotels promote their own honey in culinary and mixology creations. (Because leading suspects of bee death are agricultural pesticides and chemicals, New York beekeepers even claim their urban hives are healthier.)

Here are other leading beekeeping hotels.

Residence Inn New York Manhattan/Central Park

On the 76th floor of a Broadway tower, 723 feet above ground, is the highest apiary in the world. At least that’s the contention of hotel management, which hasn’t been able to find a hive higher. The project began as a green initiative and houses 180,000 honeybees. The 261-room Residence Inn occupies 30 floors of the tower; the lower 35 floors are the 378-room Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park.

Omni Dallas Hotel

This 23-story downtown property harvests close to 100 pounds of pure, raw honey a year from its rooftop hives. It can be purchased by the jar in the hotel’s gift shop, or enjoyed in creations from the hotel’s chefs. These are rescue bees—collected from homes and businesses that wanted to be rid of them. The nonprofit American Honey Bee Protection Agency brought the buzzing lot to the Omni.

W San Francisco

The boxy hives on the 32nd floor of this urban hotel across from Yerba Buena Gardens are configured like miniature skyscrapers, and their honey is used in the W’s locally sourced restaurant, Trace. Beekeeper Roger Garrison started A Bee Well Production, which is dedicated to a growing list of San Francisco businesses—including more than 50 hives at seven hotels—trying to amp up the honeybee buzz.

Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Boston

More than 1 million busy bees swarm the seven hives on the roof of this meetings mecca (428 guest rooms and 180,000 sq. ft. of meeting space) along historic Boston Harbor. With 1,000 pounds of the sweet stuff harvested yearly, the hotel makes F&B fare such as Seaport Honey Cider, honey-sweetened salad dressings and honey bourbon-braised chicken wings.

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