FROM THE WIRES...
Seventy-five percent of world world’s leading crops depend on pollination, which primarily comes from bees. There are few organisms on Earth more essential to global ecosystems than bees, which is why it is imperative we preserve them as they rapidly face extinction due to human activities.
Ahead of World Bee Day on May 20th, here is a highlight six resorts that celebrate these essential pollinators.
Each of the below destinations offers opportunities for guests to learn about bees and their environmental impact, as well as fosters bee communities in apiaries and their natural environments.
Keswick Hall | Charlottesville, VA | Imagery here (cc: Julie Livingston) and here (cc: Keswick Hall)
A historic property that has been an icon of the Virginia countryside for over one hundred years, Keswick Hall recently reopened its doors following a full renovation, bringing luxurious modern touches to Keswick Hall whilst paying homage to its storied past. Modern luxury meets Southern sophistication at the 500-acre destination, which features 80 guestrooms and suites, a brand-new spa that opened in September 2021, an award-winning 18-hole golf course, and culinary program created by Jean-Georges. Deeply rooted in a sense of place throughout every property touchpoint, the culinary program utilizes ingredients harvested from the resort’s nearby farm, from produce and herbs to beef. Additionally, the Oakdale Farm hosts an urban bee colony, which produces honey by way of a hive that is a miniature version of Keswick Hall itself. The mini bee hotel, affectionally called “Bee Hall,” contains 30,000 gentle subspecies of the Western Honeybee. The bees collect their pollen and nectar from blossoms within a 3.5-mile radius of their hive, and the resulting honey is harvested for the resort’s use across its culinary and cocktail menus. Groups can also tour the farm to learn about the beekeeping process.
Ojai Valley Inn | Ojai CA | Imagery here (Credit: Ojai Valley Inn)
Explore a day in the life of an apiarist with our interactive beekeeping and honey tasting experience. The resort’s resident beekeeper will explain the honey making process, show the insides of a working hive, identify the queen bee, and lead a tasting of delicious cold-pressed honey from Southern California. Guests learn firsthand how it feels to be inside an apiary and learn about the extraordinary life of the honeybee. Once safely in protective beekeeping suits, guests will participate in the ritual of gently wisping smoke from local white sage over the beehives to calm the already docile bees. Following the white sage ritual, guests will examine the European honeybee colonies, witnessing the bees working harmoniously in the hive through the honey making process. The experience concludes with a local honey tasting.
Mauna Kea Resort | Kohala Coast, HI | Imagery here (Credit: Mauna Kea Resort)
The iconic Mauna Kea Resort boasts its own on-property apiaries at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, which produce fresh honey onsite and support the local environment by providing pollination for local farming, flowers and native plant production.
· Bee Mauna Kea: Engage into the world of bees on the Island of Hawai‘i and enjoy an interactive two-hour tour with the resort’s Resident Beekeeper! Tours are available at both Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Westin Hapuna Beach Resort every Saturday, upon reservation. For $50 per person, the resort provides a walking tour of the beehives and demonstration of how the Flow Hives work, participation in a beehive wellness check, conducting a “honey pull” dependent on harvest season, a honey tasting and your very own sample jar of Mauna Kea Resort Honey!
*Note: The participation fee directly supports and maintains the beehives at Mauna Kea Resort.
· “Bees Knees” at Copper Bar: With a “hive-to-bar” approach, Copper Bar at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel incorporates house-made honey syrup into handcrafted cocktails, including the aptly named “Bees Knees” cocktail made with Botanist gin, muddled basil, house made lemon sour and Mauna Kea Resort beehive honey.
· Sweet as Honey at Meridia: Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s signature restaurant Meridia infuses Mauna Kea Resort Honey into a variety of menu items, including the refreshing Meridia Spritz cocktail made with Aperol Aperitivo, dry sparkling wine, lemon juice, orange slice and Mauna Kea Resort Honey Syrup; and the indulgent Spanish Cheesecake topped with Mysore raspberry sauce and Meridia garden honey.
Wildflower Farms, Auberge Resorts Collection | Hudson Valley, NY | Images here (Credit: Auberge Resorts Collection
Honey & Hive: Every Wednesday and Sunday, guests are invited to join the farm team for an immersive and educational beekeeping class that highlights the vital role of honey bees in the Hudson Valley ecosystem. Led by expert beekeeper Bob Mooney, this hands-on experience will take guests on a journey to discover the fascinating world of bees, including their habitats, behavior and importance to the local environment. As a highlight, the experience concludes with a visit to Wildflower Farms’ own bee apiary to witness these incredible creatures in action, working tirelessly to pollinate the beautiful wildflowers that surrounds.
Perry Lane Hotel | Savannah, GA | Images here (Credit: Perry Lane Hotel)
Savannah Bee Company Experience: Guests of Perry Lane Hotel are invited to journey to Wilmington Island to see honeycombs up close, learn about the lives of bees, and experience North American’s only Bee Apitherapy Hut. Enjoy a private educational tour of working bee hives and learn about the lives and benefits of the bee community to the entire ecosystem. The tour includes a close look at a cross section of an active hive, where guests can see the entire workings of the hive. Get outfitted with a bee net and get close up and personal with the hives if you wish. Learn about the Bee Apitherapy Hut, the only one in North America. Hives are located under the seating and the fumes given off when honey is created get trapped in the hut. It is a meditative experience and excellent for the skin and lungs. Reservations required. $8 for adults and $5 for children. This experience is available on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10:30am to 1:30pm. If guests want to stay closer to home, they are also able to head to downtown Savannah for a mead – honey wine – tasting. Mead, or honey wine, is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks known to man. It is made from honey and water via fermentation with yeast. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling; it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. Unlike beers and cider, meads (being wines) are drunk in small quantities.
The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection | Park City, UT | Images here (Credit: Auberge Resorts Collection)
Located on a sprawling 3,500-acre private ranch, the Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection is a nature-immersive retreat that invites guests to slow down and forge meaningful connections with the land, animals, and people that have long called Blue Sky home. The hotel's onsite organic Gracie's farm has its own apiary, where guests can learn about beekeeping and the thriving bee colony that provides the farm with important pollinators and produces beautiful honey with a light, botanical flavor. The honey is used at the hotel's signature restaurant Yuta, in the bar for various craft cocktails, and certain restorative treatments at the Edge Spa.