About 450,000 adopted bees have taken up residence on the fifth floor of the 1,929-room New York Hilton Midtown—and groups are starting to reap the bee-nefits.
These “VIB” guests will harvest about 300 pounds of honey annually in the six buzzing hives that now make up an integral part of the hotel’s 16,000-sf green rooftop. The creation of Director of Culinary and Executive Chef Richard Brown, the bee project will help enhance the property’s efforts to bring locally sourced ingredients to meetings. That, of course, means honey-infused dishes such as tequila honey-cured salmon available on the banquet menu, in addition to house-made granola with honey, honey-kissed fresh-cut melons, date and honey pumpkin seed muffins, and a honeycomb station.
Meeting planners can even incorporate a private beekeeping experience into their event through a one-on-one session with the hotel’s resident apiarist, Andrew Cote, a fourth-generation beekeeper. Because honeybees are less aggressive than their wasp counterparts, attendees will get the opportunity to learn first-hand about the bee’s symbiotic relationship with their environment in an intimate, professional setting.
While several hotels across the country have started beekeeping programs at their properties, the uniqueness of New York Hilton Midtown’s beekeeping is the urban environment in which the hotel (and bees) are located. Keeping bees in urban environments helps to counteract Colony Collapse Disorder, which since 2013 has led to the loss of more than 10 million beehives worldwide, according to Kellie Cahill, the property’s director of sales and marketing. The hotel’s close proximity to Central Park, an easy commute for the bees, allows them access to the widest variety of plant life in the city.
The beehives are yet another testament to the property’s sustainability efforts. Adjacent to the beehives is a cogeneration system that was introduced in 2012 and has reduced the hotel’s carbon footprint by more than 30 percent.