The Buzz on the Fairmont

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Did you know that there is an exclusive hotel on the rooftop of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, with over half a million inhabitants? Welcome to Executive Chef Gavin Stephenson's apiary!

bee hive and garden on roof top of Olympic Hotel

Stephenson grew up in a family that made its own bread and jam, grew their own vegetables, and was in many ways very self-sustaining. So when he learned that colony collapse was threatening the world honeybee population, which is responsible for pollinating 80% of the food we eat, he sprang into action.

beekeeper, in full outfit, from Fairmont Olympic holding honey comb with bees all over.

He proposed building beehives on the rooftop of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, an idea that the Fairmont enthusiastically embraced (and went on to implement in other Fairmont hotels). Working with Corky Luster of the Ballard Bee Company, Stephenson set up 5 beehives in 2011.

2 beekeepers examining hive boxes.

Initially, the plan was only to save the bees and contribute to the environment. But after a steep learning curve, the beehives began to thrive and produce honey. The rooftop of the hotel now holds 10 hives, each one painted by a different department of the hotel. The bees travel many miles a day, and the taste of the honey in each hive is always a surprise.

beekeepers on the roof of the Fairmont

Visiting the rooftop of the hotel is by invitation of the chef only, but if you'd like to get a taste of this special treat, Olympic Honey Hard Cider is produced by Seattle Cider Co. using honey from the rooftop bees. You can find it at Shuckers and at the Terrace Bar, both in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.

bottle of Olympic Honey Hard Cider

There is also an exclusive ale called Honeymoon Suite, brewed by Pike Brewing Company using the rooftop honey. It is available on tap at Shuckers, and in bottles at the Terrace Bar.

Pike Place Olympic Light Honey Ale Beer Made from honey on the roof top

The Terrace Bar also has a lovely Rooftop Honey Lemon Drop. The next time you come to Fox's, why not treat yourself to some jewelry and then celebrate with one of these delicious drinks? The bees will thank you.

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