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St Ermin’s Hotel opens London’s first bee & bee.

by Laura on June 4, 2014

bee_hotel st ermins

While new hotels are popping up all over London this year, St Ermin’s Hotel have introduced a different kind of establishment altogether – notable because its guests aren’t human. This month saw the opening of their ‘bee hotel’, the first of its kind in the capital.

Declining numbers in bees is a key environmental issue, as the problem poses a threat to our food supply. Driven to contribute in some way to helping bee population growth and inspired by this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, St Ermin’s have committed to doing their bit for London’s bees.

St Ermin’s, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, was already home to 300,000 Buckfast bees, cared for by beekeeper Camilla Goddard. They say that not only is their location the perfect environment for bees, with access to London’s parks and the relative warmth of the city, but beekeeping can also improve staff morale. And of course they use their own honey in their kitchens. Now though, they’ve created a space for non-resident bees and any other insects and creepy-crawlies that might be drawn to it.

As well as replanting their existing bee terrace, St Ermin’s has unveiled a separate bee hotel in their gardens, designed and created by Ms. Goddard.

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bee_terrace st ermins

Just as our human hotels are designed to cater to certain sets of people, so too does the bee hotel have boxes in different styles for the needs and desires of different bee species. Each hexagonal module, inspired by honeycomb, is suited to a special bee personality, whether they’re solitary leaf cutter bees or social tree bumble bees.

In May the hotel ran ‘Bees in the Burbs’ beekeeping taster workshops. These allowed interested people to get a closer look at their resident bees and learn more about the animals and how best to attract them to and support them in their own gardens.

St Ermin’s isn’t the first hotel to strive to support London’s smaller creatures. Rubens at the Palace have their Living Wall – many of its 10,000 herbaceous plants were chosen to attract pollinators, including butterflies and bees. The Athenaeum also has a living wall (or vertical garden), the Chesterfield Mayfair keeps bees, as does the Lancaster, and of course many other London hotels have gardens that no doubt attract wildlife.

The bee hotel at St Ermin’s Hotel may be the first in London, but it doesn’t have to be the last, and perhaps there are more on the horizon.

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Photo credits: St Ermin’s Hotel.

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