Honey bees are checking in as permanent guests of one of Manhattan’s snazziest hotels!
Later this month, the Waldorf Astoria will join a growing number of its peers—including its neighbor The InterContinental New York Barclay—and begin raising honey bees. It will start with 45,000 and aims to have 300,000 bees by the end of the summer.
The historic property, known as the inn of choice for heads of state, is installing six beehives in a rooftop space on the 20th floor that will also serve as a chef’s garden.
A few guest rooms will have a view of the hives, and the property will offer to show folks around their on-site honey production.
“We look forward to eventually housing enough bees to not only aid the environment but also supply fresh honey in the hotel’s food and beverage outlets,” General Manager Eric Long said, in a statement.
Not to be one-upped, his counterpart at the InterContinental, Herve Houdre, said he was aware of the plan and that his hotel will have more bees, or seven hives to be exact, and one that will be used for observation. The InterContinental’s beehives are on the roof of the 15th floor, where the hotel also maintains an herb garden.
The Waldorf Astoria’s director of culinary operations, David Garcelon, is spearheading the initiative and said he wants to incorporate the honey produced by his bees into dishes served at the hotel’s restaurants.
The Waldorf is the latest in a long string of hotels taking in bees. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, for instance, has more than a dozen properties with beehives on-site.
Hotels are increasingly adding locally sourced food to their menus, and beekeeping allows them to produce organic honey for food and cocktails. The hotels also say they are helping to save the species.
The Waldorf will ask the public to help name the beehives through a social media contest this month. For more information, visit www.waldorfnewyork.com.