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Buzz worthy: 5 top luxury hotels that have taken up beekeeping

What do London's Buckingham Palace, New York's Whitney Museum of American Art and the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris all have in common?

They're all keepers of honeybees, part of a growing collection of bee-friendly landmarks around the world.

In recent years, global hotels have joined the urban bee-keeping trend too, bringing their own honey direct to their tables.

That's good news, considering the well documented decline in the bee population in certain geographical areas, notably North America and Europe. A number of factors, including disease, pesticides and habitat degradation are attributed to diminishing bee numbers, and the losses are significant.

Here's a look at five top luxury hotels creating a buzz in their local communities.

Waldorf Astoria New York

The Waldorf Astoria in New York, America

On a rooftop 20 stories above Park Avenue, some 360,000 bees produce more than 136 kilograms of honey annually, which not only finds its way into the hotel's menus, but also into treatments at the hotel's Spa.

Mandarin Oriental, Paris

A room at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris

50,000 bees reside at the MO rooftop beehive, with last year's sweet haul totaling 25 kilograms. Guests can opt into the hotel's eco-initiatives -- such as reusing towels -- to receive a jar of honey to keep.

W Taipei

Bee hotel on a London hotel rooftop

W Taipei became the first urban beekeeping establishment in Taiwan when it opened up its 32nd floor rooftop to host some 150,000 busy bees, with their honey going into cocktails and the hotel’s kitchens.

Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver

Lobby of Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver

In June this year, the Fairmont Waterfront built a solitary pollinator bee hotel (aptly named Bee & Bee) designed to give busy bees a break between pollination missions. The hotel also hosts 500,000 resident honeybees in the herb garden on the third floor terrace.

St. Ermin’s Hotel

Lobby of St Ermins

St. Ermin's has been keeping bees for some four years now, first on the main rooftop and later expanding the installation to include a specially planted wildflower terrace where a new bee hotel -- the first hotel in the UK to have one -- now resides.

Click here to read about urban rooftop farming.

(All images - credit: Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licence)

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