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Honeybees & Herb Garden

  • The Fairmont San Francisco Honeybees

In June 2010, Fairmont San Francisco, in partnership with Marshall’s Farm, installed honey beehives in the hotel’s culinary and rooftop gardens in order to help support the world-wide dwindling bee population, which has decreased in number by 90 percent since the 1980s. Beekeepers established nine nascent beehives, each containing approximately 20,000 bees, in the garden which is located outside on the hotel’s lobby level. 

The United States Department of Agriculture believes that a virus is responsible for the collapse of honey bee colonies, a situation which is often called “CCD” or Colony Collapse Disorder. Without honey bees, pollination is not possible meaning one out of every three mouthfuls in the human diet would be adversely affected.

The installation was the first step in cultivating the culinary garden, which now measures 1,000 square feet. The garden contains rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, chives, cilantro and lavender. Guests can view the culinary garden through floor to ceiling windows in the foyer leading to the hotel’s Pavilion Room.

The cultivation of honey beehives exemplifies Fairmont San Francisco’s history of environmental stewardship. The hotel has been part of the fabric of San Francisco for more than a century and has maintained an enduring commitment to the local community and environment.

Fairmont was the first hotel in San Francisco to raise honey bees and over the years, several hotels in the City have followed suit in an effort to support our bee friends. The hotel also features a pollinator bee “hotel” providing wild bees with a safe place to rest their wings. Bee hotels are wooden structures uniquely designed to attract bees or mason bees, which are three times more effective at pollinating food when compared to other pollinators. The biggest challenge faced by these wild bees is the degradation of their habitat. Building a bee hotel serves as a habitat for local, urban bees and also helps to raise awareness about not only the diversity of different bees but the many ways in which the public and businesses can help. Honey beehives and pollinator hotels can also be found at several Fairmont properties.  

Annually, the beehives produced several hundred pounds of honey, which is served to hotel guests as part of Fairmont’s commitment to offering local, organic, sustainable cuisine. This home-harvested honey is used in soups, salad dressings, pastries and as an accompaniment to the hotel’s time-honored afternoon tea service. It is also featured in Fairmont San Francisco’s own Honey Beer Series created in partnership with Local Brewing Co., which is offered on draught in Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar and Caffé Cento.

Throughout the year, Fairmont San Francisco is delighted to provide educational honeybee-related tours to local schools, culinary organizations and hotel guests in an effort to celebrate these incredible insects!  

Headquartered in American Canyon, California, Marshall’s Farm has been producing award-winning organic honey since 1993. They currently operate beehives throughout Northern California and their honey is served at The Culinary Institute of America.  For more information about Marshall’s Farm, please visit

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