Spring is here which means the bees are back at six Fairmont hotels in the United States, Canada and Africa. Hotels in Vancouver, B.C.; Toronto; Washington, D.C.; Kenya; Quebec; and St. Andrews by-the-Sea have bee hives on rooftops or in on-site gardens. The bees help pollinate area gardens and parks while also supplying hotel chefs with honey.
At the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, more than 390,000 honey bees are expected to produce 500 pounds of honey. At the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, nearly 800 pounds of honey has been harvested since June 2008, much of it going into the hotel's cocktails and cuisine. At the Fairmont Washington, D.C. (see related article), three hives each have their own names: Casa Bella, Casa Blanca, and Casa Bianca. At the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, eight hives will be in place by June. Each hive will host about 4,000 honey-making bees. The first honey harvest is expected by September. The resort will offer lectures for guests so they can learn about bees and honey production.
At the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec, honey is harvested three times each year from four hives. Each hive contains about 70,000 bees. The hives produce more than enough honey for the hotel; the excess is sold to guests. At the Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews by-the-Sea, honey is showcased in Chef Ryan Dunne's cooking at the hotel's three restaurants.
Beekeeping requires expertise and is certainly not something one can start alone. In launching its hives, Fairmont partnered with area experts. To become aware of beekeeping basics, there is plenty of information online. Whatever you do, don't get stung in the process.