The New York Hilton Midtown
was buzzing on Tuesday morning as almost half a million new guests were welcomed to the property: 450,000 bees were transported to the hotel's rooftop, where they will produce honey for guests and offer opportunities for groups to add some buzz to their business gatherings.
The six hives -- each containing a queen bee with a name such as Suite B, Shelby, and Connie (in honor of Conrad Hilton) -- were transported to the hotel in a vintage checkered cab where members of the hotel staff escorted them up to the 16,000-square-foot green deck on the fifth floor roof setback. Now settled in their new urban home, the bees will be the latest sustainability initiative by the property, set adjacent to the rooftop cogeneration system that has been reducing the hotel's carbon footprint by more than 30 percent since 2012.
"Sustainability is really important to us as a hotel and that's why we partnered with Andrew," said Diarmuid Dwyer, general manager of New York Hilton Midtown, referring to fourth-generation beekeeper Andrew Coté (pictured), president of the New York City Beekeepers Association and Hilton's consultant in its urban beekeeping efforts. Speaking at the event, Dwyer said the bees were expected to produce 300 pounds of honey a year.
Under the direction of Richard Brown, executive chef and director of culinary for the property, the harvested honey will be incorporated into dishes such as honey-dipped fried chicken and rosemary-honey flatbreads, to help spotlight the hotel's seasonal cuisine.
The honey will also be part of a banquet menu available to groups, with items like whipped ricotta cheese crostini with honeycomb and tequila-honey cured salmon. Those looking for something a bit stiffer can try the honey in specialty cocktails such as bourbon-based honey peach cobbler milkshakes and honey-kissed grapefruit cosmopolitans, available to all guests at the downstairs Bridges Bar. Honey-themed turndown treats and take-home jars of honey can also be arranged for guests.
Groups looking to learn more about the bees can arrange for rooftop demonstrations by Coté, who can explain how the honey is produced, the seasonal shifts an apiary goes through, and the health benefits of local honey.
"Hilton is not only at the forefront of the hotel industry but they also afford top-rate accommodation to some of the most vulnerable and hardworking New Yorkers --the nearly half million honeybees that Hilton has taken in as part of their effort to protect the environment," said Coté. "These four-winged guests reside in Midtown and enjoy all the amenities and pleasures that Hilton and New York City have to offer."