What’s the Buzz at Fairmont DC?

There is something you might not know about the Fairmont in Washington DC. It is also a bee hotel! More specifically it houses honey beehives and and a hotel for pollinator bees. There is also a bee keeper that I like to refer to as the bee concierge. The bee’s are housed on the rooftop—no worries, if you are staying at the Fairmont you are not likely to see them at all.

Pollinator Bee Hotel
One of several pollinator bee hotels at Fairmont DC. This one was my favorite.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a tour of the rooftop and to learn more about this great initiative by the Fairmont. It was the first hotel in the US to have such a program, and they have encouraged many other hotels to join in. Fairmont has built a total of 21 bee hotels at their hotel properties so far. Bee numbers have declined due to environmental factors, and the bee initiative helps to grow these numbers. The initiative specially provides a welcoming habitat for wild pollinator bees. The added bonus is that the hotel uses some of the surplus honey to create unique dishes for the hotel’s menu.

The evening started with welcome drinks and hors de oeuvres at the hotel’s beautiful Loggia Lounge, which overlooks the garden courtyard. Hors de oeuvres included beet salad and phyllo dough cigars filled with feta cheese and honey.  I was introduced to a fantastic Sauvignon Blanc that is also bee friendly: Honig Sauvignon Blanc.

We were then invited up to the rooftop for the main attraction: the bees! We learned some interesting bee facts:

  • honey bees live for about two months and wild pollinator bees live for only one month
  • pollinator bees are the size of a fly and they sometimes live in little holes in the ground
  • an easy way to help the wild bee population is to set up bee hotels in your garden or balcony
Honey Bees Fairmont
Honeybee Hives

After visiting the rooftop bees, we were enjoyed a pollinator themed dinner in the courtyard at Juniper Restaurant. The courtyard is a lush oasis with fountains and twinkling lights. I can see myself coming back for a romantic dinner, or a fun al fresco lunch. It is also a beautiful place to host events.

We started with a delicious and refreshing Bee-tini with tequila, vodka, lemon, and honey. You can find the recipe for this cocktail here. While we enjoyed our drinks, we nibbled on the divine, house-made honey wheat walnut bread.  I probably had more than my fair share.

Our meal started with a sweet and savory  goat cheese and cauliflower panna cotta with cranberry gelée, and wild flower honey. The main dish was wild caught salmon with pollen dust, lemon marmalade, and a citrus-fennel salad. Dessert was a delicate creme brûlée, with peach sorbet, and a honey tea shortbread cookie.  As the dishes came out, we talked about the bees, the honey, and we enjoyed a cool and breezy evening. These honey centered dishes are available until the end of June. Scroll down for photos of all the dishes.

Don’t miss out on the buzz, stop by the Fairmont DC to enjoy the gorgeous atmosphere, delicious food, and great hospitality.

Honey Wheat Walnut Bread
House-Made Honey Wheat Walnut Bread with Raisins
Goat Cheese and Cauliflower Panna Cotta
Sweet and Savory Goat Cheese and Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Cranberry Gelée, and Wild Flower Honey
Wild Caught Salmon with Pollen Dust Lemon Marmalade and Citrus Fennel Salad
Wild-Caught Salmon with Pollen Dust, Lemon Marmalade, and Citrus-Fennel Salad
Creme Brulee
Creme Brûlée with Peach Sorbet, and Honey Tea Shortbread Cookie

We parted with fun delicious and practical gifts: some of the classic honey wheat walnut bread, and a cute wild pollinator bee hotel. You can easily make your own pollinator bee hotel by drilling holes into a wooden block. You can also buy a pollinator bee hotel online.

And here are a few tips from the Pollinator Partnership:

  • Place the hotel at least four feet off the ground but no higher than 10 stories
  • Position the bee hotel facing south east so it can enjoy the morning sun
  • Check back often, you may have occupants before you know it!
Pollinator Bee Hotel and Honey Wheat Walnut Bread
Pollinator Bee Hotel and  Honey Wheat Walnut Bread

Disclosure: I was invited to a tasting at the hotel. I was not compensated for writing this post. All views are my own.

Author: onevanillabean

I have loved cooking and baking since I was 5 years old. It was the one activity that I would share with all my extended family. Like most people, I love traveling. I love visiting the markets, exploring unknown ingredients, and bringing them back home with me for inspiration. I find that recipes with simple and pure ingredients yield the best results.

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