What A Buzz! Brooklyn Bridge Marriott harvests honey from its own rooftop hive

September 7, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Marriott beekeeper Andrew Cote, dressed in protective gear, shows off the hotel’s bees. Eagle photos by John Alexander
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There is something happening high on the rooftop of the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn that has the neighborhood buzzing.

Sam Ibrahim, general manager of the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel, which is located at 333 Adams St., has announced that they have opened their doors to some very small guests.  The Marriott recently welcomed two new beehives and approximately 2,000 bees, which now reside on the fourth floor courtyard in the hotel’s North Tower.

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The hotel, which opened in 1998, has just completed a $45-million renovation. The Marriott hosted 219,000 guests last year, which helped contribute to Downtown Brooklyn’s economy with guests frequenting the local restaurants and shops in the neighborhood.

Ibrahim has been with the Marriott organization for more than 40 years. He helped revitalize the hotel’s menu with items including the hotel’s famous lobster roll. But now they are also being sought out for their new in-house honey-based treats and delicacies. 

The bee project started when Executive Chef David Umatum had the idea to add a bee garden to the Brooklyn Marriott.  After discussing it with Senior Sous Chef Dominick Dinapoli, Umatum was happy to learn that Dinapoli was friends with local beekeeper Andrew Cote and that a similar venture was tried during Dinapoli’s tenure at the Waldorf Astoria. Cote is also the President of the NYC Beekeepers Association.

The bees arrived in July, and since then they have harvested honey twice (approximately 5 gallons). The honey has been used in many of the restaurant and banquet dishes.  Some of those dishes include honey orange cake with a caramelized honey orange topping, crisp brie cheese with Swiss chard frisée, honey Sriracha sauce for house wings, white honey peach sangria and honey tomato vinaigrette. 

The hotel has produced 1.5-ounce jars for sale and customers have found that the honey has a beautiful depth of flavor from the herb garden where the bees pollinate. When the honey jar is opened you can smell a slight spearmint aroma. 

The hotel initially became interested because of the invaluable contribution bees are to the ecosystem around the world, making them guardians of the food chain. According to Ibrahim, the Brooklyn Marriott wanted to do their part in helping sustain the pollination process. 

It has been a learning curve for the hotel’s chefs, as they have taken to the responsibilities involved in raising bees. Mostly, they’ve found that the process requires a great deal of love, care and attention. 

The fortunate bees are provided with a nearby water source and a sweet garden of herbs and flowers. The hotel says it is looking forward to expanding their bee colony in the years to come. 

“We invite all our guests to an upfront viewing point protected by glass to watch our busy bees at work,” said Ibrahim.


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