Did you know that Zurich’s Baur Au Lac hotel is home to a colony of more than 80,000 honeybees? And truth be told, they have some of the best accommodations of the entire species, residing inside their own tiny replica of the grand dame hotel on the grounds of the property’s private garden.
Introduced in April 2016, to help counteract the dwindling global population, the hive began with 20,000 bees and increases daily. Starting with four queens and 1,000 drones, the colony has grown into four buzzing hives, all housed inside little boxes where wax honeycombs foster the growth of a young generation, and provide storage for excess pollen and freshly-made, distinctly Swiss honey.
The apis mellifera carnica, a tamer relative of the western honeybee, were introduced to hotel in 2016 as an effort counteract the dwindling global population.
Guests are invited to view the five-star habitat located in the middle of the hotel garden at any time to see the colony in action. But for something more in-depth, embark on an exploration of the flight of the winged insects. Amble along a graciously laid cobblestone path to examine the flowers within a 1.8-mile radius of the hive where the bees can be found collecting nectar, and pollinating plants. And talk about busy: a single one takes up to 40 trips each day, and flies to approximately 100 flowers per trip. To put things in perspective, it takes an astonishing 2 million blossom visits to produce just two cups of honey.
Walk amongst the linden, locust, and chestnut trees that provide shade and beauty to the manicured streets of Zurich, and contribute to the locally-made honey’s unique flavor, as do the jewel-like bacopa flowers hidden under the bridges along the Schanzengraben canals. Don’t miss the radiant tulips in Baur Au Lac’s own backyard, for something a bit closer to home.
Enjoy the fruits of the Baur au Lac bees' labor after witnessing their journey to create some of the most distinctive honey in the world. Samples are plentiful at the honey bar featured at the hotel's breakfast buffet. And for a sweet memento to take home from your Swiss getaway, glass jars of the local recipe are for sale in the lobby. Sweet.
To learn more about Baur Au Lac, or any of their beekeeping activities, please contact the concierge upon making a reservation.