Fairmont Hotels opens new lodgings for weary bees

Fairmont has constructed 16 new bee hotels throughout Canada, including this one at Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver.

Fairmont has constructed 16 new bee hotels throughout Canada, including this one at Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver.

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Fairmont hotels across Canada are now abuzz with new
activity.

In partnership with Burt’s Bees Canada, the hospitality
chain has constructed 16 new bee hotels across the country. The hotels provide
a place to stay for solitary bees who unlike honeybees, nest individually
without a queen or hive.

The bee hotel program launched last year at the Fairmont
Royal York as well as four other locations in the Greater Toronto Area.

“I think it’s something that resonates with people. It’s an
important issue, bees pollinate a significant amount of the food we eat,” said
Fairmont spokesperson Kaitlynn Dodge.

The new bee hotels will be constructed at Fairmont
properties in Vancouver, Whistler, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Quebec City.
As well, 10 bee hotels will be built in public spaces in Vancouver, Calgary,
Toronto and Halifax.

“We felt we could play a role to provide much needed habitat
in urban centres, where bees sometimes have a harder time, especially solitary
bees, finding a place to nest,” Dodge said.

The bee hotels are constructed using natural nesting
materials such as wood, twigs, fallen branches, soil and pith-filled holes.
With a design that replicates natural nesting areas, the hotels allow the
pollinators to breed and lay eggs.

Each of the bee hotels has a unique design that plays off of
the structure’s surroundings.

“In Whistler, the bee hotel is in the shape of the
mountains,” Dodge said. “We wanted to make sure that it is was something
unique. As guests, they will visit multiple hotels across the country.”

The bee hotels have also helped draw interest towards their
human counterpart.

“We’ve noticed as soon as it went up, there was a lot of
interest,” Dodge said. “Guests are interacting a lot with them.”

Solitary bees account for 90 per cent of the bee population
and pollinate one third of food consumed in Canada. A single pollinator bee is
capable of sparking the production of 40 to 70 apples. To celebrate the
insect’s contribution to the food we eat, chefs at six Canadian Fairmont hotels
created pollinator menus featuring pollinator-friendly dishes and signature
drinks.

“It was just to give people an opportunity to learn more
about the issue in a fun way,” Dodge said.

In the last decade, Fairmont has built more than 20 honeybee
apiaries at its hotels and resorts around the world. The honey produced in the
apiaries is often harvested an incorporated into menus. Conservation of bee
species, and improving the insect’s overall health, is part of the company’s
sustainability commitment.

“Bee hotels were a natural progression since we have a
longstanding history with bees,” Dodge said.

Canada is Fairmont’s first venture into bee hotels. With the
project deemed as a success, the company is looking to expand the program.

“Lots of our hotels worldwide have been asking how they can
get involved,” Dodge said.