The hotel's latest guests will bee making honey.
Guests at New York's Hilton Midtown will now be staying alongside 450,000 new regulars—BEES!!! But don't worry, the hotel's fifth floor rooftop is in full control of the six hives, which will provide fresh honey for the hotel's new food and drink options.
While most hotels for humans would be less than excited about the addition of almost a half million honeybees, Hilton Midtown says they are "dedicated to supporting New York City’s honeybee population through this new venture,” which also seeks to benefit the ciy's beecosystem.
While we don't know what sort of contract the queens, named Shelby, Ruby, Phoebe, Suite B, Beatrice, and Connie (after founder Conrad Hilton) have signed, their hives will be producing 300 pounds of honey every year. Some will be sold in jars, while another portion will be served as part of dishes like the honey-dipped fried chicken and rosemary-honey flatbreads at the hotel's urban market, and the "bourbon-based honey peach cobbler milkshakes" and "honey-kissed grapefruit cosmopolitans" now offered at its bar.
The Hilton hives are the latest instance of bees' growing PR turnaround, from stinging-pest to critical food supplier. In the last year, the US alone lost 31 percent of its total bee population due to global warming, pesticides, parasite infections, and a host of other factors, putting much of the food supply in jeopardy. Without honeybees to pollinate them, a range of crops including apples, coffee, and watermelon could experience drastically reduced yields, or even die out entirely.
Hilton's six hives may not be enough to cover the $15 billion worth of U.S. crops pollinated by honey bees every year, but they could at least help grow the buzz about all the species does for us. If you're still not sold, though, why not book Hilton's "Autumn Apiary Package," which includes a "private beekeeping experience," and meet the illustrious new guests for yourself?