Travel Trends :: The Bees Knees

the bees knees, how hotels are making honey, travel trends[Don't miss the sweet recipes below provided by Fairmont]

Making honey is so hot right now, and not just because it's summer.

In a concerted effort to organi-fy, greeni-fy and sustaina-fy themselves, hotels are going back to basics and harvesting some of the ingredients they serve. The current obsession other than herb gardens? On-site honeybee hives. But don't worry, these sweet initiatives are happening far enough away from the hotels' play areas that you needn't worry about being stung by the queen.

Next time you're at these hotels and happen to sweeten your tea with a dollop of honey, it may be freshly made by the queen herself.

Marriott The Chicago Marriott's roof-top garden is home to 200,000 bees that pollinate the on-site garden supplying herbs and vegetables for the property's restaurant.

Four Seasons The Four Seasons Atlanta’s fifth-floor terrace produces honey used in the hotel spa's scrub and massage treatments as well as the restaurant, but not in that order...

Ritz-Carlton The Charlotte Ritz recently added two fully-contained bee hives to the 18th story of its vegetated roof. Lucky guests will be able to satisfy their sweet tooth with the hotel's very own organic honey.

Fairmont The Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver This local property shares its 2,100-square-foot herb garden with six honeybee hives on the hotel’s third-floor terrace. Summer 2010 adds two additional hives, bringing the apiary to just over 390,000 honeybees producing an anticipated 500 lbs of honey. Guests of the hotel can even take part in weekly garden and hive tours conducted by Director of Housekeeping and resident Beekeeper, Graeme Evans.

The Fairmont Royal York, Toronto The Toronto Fairmont is home to 300,000 bees in peak season. Since June 2008, the hotel's award-winning honey has been harvested from the 14th story apiary, with much of it going into the hotel’s cocktails and cuisine.

The Fairmont Washington, D.C. The Italians are good at everything, and now the Fairmont DC is importing their stylish honeybees to occupy 3 hives on the property's roof.

Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, Kenya Partnering with local beekeeper Stephen Macharia, the Fairmont Mount Kenya hosts 8 hives, each with approximately 4000 bees.  Producing 66 lbs of high quality honey, guests of the resort can sample the honey as well as learn about bees and honey production.

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, Quebec Each of the Chateau Frontenac's 4 hives contains about 70,000 bees expected to produce enough honey for the entire hotel, with the extra being sold in the Fairmont Store. The honey is harvested three times a year (spring, summer and fall) and used in special honey-based menus (for banquets) and select dishes in the fine dining restaurant, Le Champlain.

The Fairmont Algonquin, New Brunswick Apparently I missed the memo when I was recently at the Algonquin, because if I'd known about this program at the hotel, I would have talked about it earlier!  Either way, the hotel is said to have a resident queen bee pollinating the hotel's garden as well as nearby Kingsbrae gardens.  The honey is on sale for guests, as well as used for afternoon tea and in dishes at the hotel's restaurants.

The Fairmont Yangcheng Lake, Kunshan China In spring, the hotel's resident bees produce up to 88 lbs of honey used to sweeten the deal for guests.

Fairmont San Francisco, California Earlier this summer, The Fairmont San Fran installed four beehives in its 1,000-square-foot onsite culinary garden. The bees come from a nearby farm and dine on the hotel’s lavender and herbs to create delicious honey, with each hive boasting 50,000 bees when fully mature. Executive Chef jW Foster will use the harvested honey at afternoon tea service and in cocktails, entrees and desserts at the hotel’s three restaurants.

Honey Recipes The Fairmont was kind enough to send these bevvie recipes.  I think the Royal York's festival buzz is my fave.  Enjoy!

The Fairmont Washington, DC Honey Rum Swizzle Bacardi Rum 8 Years, Angostura Bitters, Clover Honey and Fresh Lime Juice

Flight of the Bumble Bee Cutty Sark Whisky, Clover Honey and Half and Half served on the rocks

Bee-tini Belvedere Pomrancza Vodka and Clover Honey, mixed with Fresh Grapefruit Juice, Mint and Grenadine

The Fairmont Royal York Festival Buzz 1oz White Peach Puree, 1/4oz Royal York Honey, 4oz Moet Chandon, served in a flute, serve with sugar-powdered mint.

The Fairmont Algonquin Grapefruit Mojitos Fresh mint leaves, Grapefruit Juice, Honey Muddle mint leaves in the bottom of a tumbler glass and then fill two thirds of it with crushed ice. Stir 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice with the honey until the honey is entirely dissolved. Transfer dissolved honey/grapefruit juice to a cocktail shaker with the remaining juice and shake with ice. Strain into a tumbler glass and serve

Honey Rum Swizzle 1oz Rum, 3 drops Bitters, 1.5 teaspoons Honey, 1 teaspoon Sugar, 1/2oz Lime Juice Half fill glass with crushed ice. Shake ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into the glass. Mix in the glass with a muddling spoon until the glass frosts. Garnish with a lime wheel.

[photo by david.nikonvscanon]