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Hotel Buzzz: Apiaries are the Bee’s Knees

Recently I went to a Toronto tourism event that featured a honey tasting. My favorite nectar—a luscious caramel-brown with herby mint notes—belonged to the Fairmont Royal York’s 14-story-high rooftop hives (called the Honey Moon Suite), and is served to guests at tea service and in specialty cocktails. The mint flavor (someone snootily insisted it was a hint of “eucalyptus”) comes from the rooftop garden’s herb plots, where the bar gleans much of their greenery for muddled mojitos and caipirinhas.

The apiary is a cross-brand initiative with hives already set up at the Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews and the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver with more on the way.

Honey—golden, sticky, amber goodness—turns bitter and looses nutrients during pasteurization. Hotels looking for an eco-luxe draw are turning to the home-grown raw stuff like, well, bees to honey.

The Four Seasons Hotel, Atlanta’s fifth-floor terrace apiary produces honey used in the “Honey Delight” spa treatment (a honey-oatmeal scrub followed by a honey oil massage). The property’s new bees-ness venture was originally set up by chef Robert Gerstenecker to provide honey for the hotel restaurant, Park 75.

Executive chef Myk Banas at the aptly named Harvest restaurant at the Marriott Hotel in Chicago is so locavore-conscious that the kitchen cures its own bacon, so bee-keeping wasn’t too far a leap. The 200,000 on-site bees pollinate his rooftop garden that supplies herbs and vegetables for the property's restaurant.

Hive-five for delicious eco-innovation!

Charlotte Savino is the online listings editor at TravelandLeisure.com

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