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Publish Date: 13-May-2011

Fairmont Friday, May 13, 2011

Fairmont Olympic Hotel and Fairmont Empress Announce New Bee Programs

Vancouver, BC, May 13, 2011 – The Fairmont Olympic Hotel and The Fairmont Empress are pleased to announce the addition of on-site honeybee programs, new for the 2011 summer season. Both programs will launch prior to May 29, the second annual “Day of the Honey Bee” (a day intended to raise honeybee awareness).

In Seattle, The Fairmont Olympic Hotel plans to install five rooftop hives that will be home to a half million honeybees once they reach full capacity in 2012. Executive Chef Gavin Stephenson spearheaded the hotel’s bee program with Ballard Bee Company’s Corky Luster as a project consultant. With a hive typically yielding 30 to 40 pounds, it’s likely the hotel will have over 150 pounds of honey to use by next year, with the hotel’s signature honey featured on the menu in The Georgian restaurant by 2012.

In nearby Victoria, The Fairmont Empress plans to install 10 hives in the hotel’s Centennial Garden. The lucky bees will pollinate Victoria’s most lavish hotel garden and produce about 1,000 pounds of honey. The program is spearheaded by the hotel’s Executive Chef, Kamal Silva, who also launched the program at The Fairmont Vancouver Airport in 2010. The Fairmont Empress plans to serve the honey during their popular Afternoon Tea service, a grand tradition at the hotel for over a century, as well as on their restaurant menu and in signature honey cocktails. The Fairmont Empress is working with the Honeybee Centre (the same company employed by The Fairmont Waterfront and The Fairmont Vancouver Airport). 

“I recently joined The Fairmont Empress’ culinary team and am excited to ‘bring the bees’ with me from The Fairmont Vancouver Airport after starting the program there,” said Kamal Silva, executive chef for The Fairmont Empress. “It’s great to see Fairmont starting bee programs across North America and beyond as bees play such an important role in food production for the future. There is no other hotel group doing what we’re doing.”

In Seattle, Executive Chef Gavin Stephenson added: “Bee programs are relatively new to Seattle so we are thrilled to be one of the leaders in this charge, alongside Ballard Bee Company. Our culinary team is excited to taste the first batch. Apparently the honey’s flavour is quite unpredictable at first – bees travel up to six miles from their hive and bring back an array of different nectars which is why ‘urban honey’ is so interesting and complex.”

Beekeeping has definitely taken off amongst the Fairmont family with honeybee programs already in place at the following 11 properties (13 in total now): The Fairmont Waterfront (Vancouver), The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, The Fairmont Royal York (Toronto), Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac (Quebec City), The Fairmont Algonquin (St. Andrews by-the-Sea), The Fairmont San Francisco, The Fairmont Dallas, The Fairmont Washington, DC, Fairmont Mayakoba (Riviera Maya), Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club and The Fairmont Yangcheng Lake (Kunshan).

Fairmont’s Green Partnership Program
With a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible tourism, Fairmont is a sponsor of the National Geographic Mission Programs as well a member of the WWF global Climate Savers program. For more than 20 years, Fairmont’s Green Partnership has been the company’s award-winning environmental program focused on minimizing the impact of hotel operations on the environment. In addition to publishing “The Green Partnership Guide”, a “going green” handbook used by its hotels and others in the hospitality industry, initiatives include recycling and organic waste diversion in the hotel’s kitchens, purchasing sustainable seafood, a green conferencing solution dubbed Eco-Meet, retrofitting energy efficient lighting, creating rooftop herb gardens and honeybee apiaries at properties, and redistributing gently used goods and food to those in need.  For more information on Fairmont’s Green Partnership program, visit

About Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
With over 60 distinctive hotels, including the iconic Fairmont San Francisco and Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai, and more in development, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a global hospitality brand known for its warm and engaging service and culturally rich experiences.  Located in coveted worldwide destinations, its unrivalled collection of classic hotels imbue a sense of heritage, sophistication, and social importance, and are often considered destinations in and of themselves.  Fairmont is also committed to responsible tourism and is an industry leader in sustainable hotel management with its award-winning Green Partnership program. Fairmont is owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, a leading global hotel company with 95 hotels under the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel brands. The company also manages Fairmont and Raffles branded residences, estates and luxury private residence club properties. For more information or reservations, please call 1-800-441-1414 or visit
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