London, June 2017: This summer, The Ritz London has installed three colonies of bees on top of the roof of the iconic Piccadilly hotel. The hives, named after the hotel’s signature suites (Green Park Suite, Piccadilly Suite, Prince of Wales Suite, Royal Suite and Arlington Suite) have been made from sustainable pine wood.
Each hive has approximately 60,000 Buckfast Bees, a strain of the honeybee with extremely gentle and highly productive qualities, from a local bee farm in neighbouring Surrey. The number of bees in the colony will naturally swell during the summer months and decline during the winter season.
Commenting on the new beehives, Paul Winfield-Brown, Head of Engineering, says; “At The Ritz, we understand that the hotel’s day-to-day operations have an impact on the environment and we recognise our social responsibility. The declining honeybee population in the UK has been widely documented and honeybees are essential to the ecosystem of our planet as pollinators. The new Beez@TheRitz initiative is particularly exciting for the hotel’s Green Committee, and has involved lots of different members of the team, as a key part of our commitment to contribute to the future well-being of the environment and to operate sustainably. We’re looking forward to tasting Ritz honey later in the year!”.
Located directly adjacent to The Royal Green Park, as well as to other nearby parks and gardens including Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James’ Park, Hyde Park and many Mayfair squares and private gardens, the bees can roam for up to a six-mile radius. The worker bees carry the pollen from one plant to the next in their search for food, pollinating the flowers, and collect the flower nectar on their legs, carrying it with them back to the hive where it is deposited in the honeycomb and wax. The design of the honeycomb and constant fanning of the bees’ wings causes evaporation, creating sweet liquid honey.
During the two annual harvests, at the end of Spring and in September, the frames will be placed in an extractor, a centrifuge that spins the frames, forcing honey out of the comb. Each hive is expected to produce 60kg of delicious, urban honey with subtle hints of the London fauna including Lime trees, Horse Chestnut, Sweet Chestnuts, Apple, Pear and Plum, Willow, Holly and Wild cherry. The Ritz honey will be used across the hotel within The Ritz Kitchen, The Rivoli Bar as well as The Ritz Salon.
Working in conjunction with the London Bee Keeper Association, The Ritz London has trained 12 internal beekeepers who, under the direction of Guillaume Brard, Executive Sous Chef, and Paul Winfield-Brown, Head of Engineering, will be responsible for nurturing and protecting the bees in a healthy environment. Each hive needs a significant amount of forage, and The Ritz has planted a roof garden with aromatic herbs and flowers including lavender, thyme, rosemary and an apple tree, and is in discussions with The Royal Parks to assist with planting bee-friendly plants and flowers to help aid the pollination process.