Bees in the Burbs

Urban Bee Keeping Workshops at St Ermin’s Hotel
Harvest time at the St Ermin’s Hotel and the hard work of their 300,000 rooftop Buckfast bees is rewarded with honey-themed menus and cocktails throughout September. And, for the first time, this celebrated Westminster hotel is offering a series of urban bee keeping workshops hosted by bee guru Camilla Goddard of Capital Bee.

The ‘Bees in the Burbs’ taster workshops run at 2.30pm every Tuesday afternoon through September and cover bee basics; keeping, handling, safety, feeding and beehaviour, with introductory notes and planting list, a pot of St Ermin’s Honey plus a honey cream tea or honey-themed cocktail.

Camilla Goddard believes it is vitally important that as many people as possible try to support honey bees, “choice of planting can have a positive impact and urban environments can be very attractive to colonies. By keeping just one hive you immediately introduce 50,000 pollinators into an urban area and that has a huge impact on the environment.”

St Ermin’s ‘Bees in the Burbs’ workshops cost from just £15 per head with no more than 12 people per two hour session. All bee handling equipment, protective suits – and bees – provided.

For further information and reservations go on line
or call 0207 222 7888.



Buckfast Bees at St Ermin’s Hotel
Two years after their arrival the St Ermin’s Hotel bees are going from strength to strength – indeed Camilla has seen them doing their ‘joy’ dance this Summer. Over 300,000 Buckfast bees are now happily established on the hotel’s rooftop and in a further three hives, safely viewable to guests on the wildflower third floor walkway. Flying a three-mile radius, the bees’ central London location gives them access to some of London’s most prestigious gardens and parks. Analysis of their late season honey shows that they gather their pollen from 53 astonishingly diverse types of plant flower; almost half Sweet Chestnut, with large proportions of Blackberry, Horse Chestnut, Elderflower, Mulberry and Water Lily pollens, plus Buddleia, White Clover and Myrtles.

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Autograph Collection welcomes majestic icon St. Ermin’s Hotel, London

Exclusive Portfolio of Passionately Independent Hotels Announces Third Hotel in United Kingdom.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – 30 APRIL 2013 – The Autograph Collection, Marriott International’s (NYSE: MAR) exclusive portfolio of upscale, independent hotels, announced today the debut of the St. Ermin’s Hotel in the Westminster area of London, representing the third Autograph Collection hotel in the United Kingdom. Earlier this month, Autograph Collection announced its entree into the U.K. with the inauguration of Threadneedles in the heart of London’s financial district and The Glasshouse in central Edinburgh, Scotland. The 331-room iconic St. Ermin’s Hotel will expand the collection of independent lifestyle hotels to include more than 40 exceptional travel experiences in the United States, Europe, Caribbean, and South America.

The vision behind the Autograph Collection is to offer an evolving group of passionately independent hotels that fall under distinct categories of travel experience including Culinary Delight, Artistic Getaway, Historic Exploration, or Sporting Adventure. Each hotel is thoughtfully chosen for its quality, originality, bold character and capacity to offer guests a range of unique and unexpected experiences suited to their individual sense of style and adventure. This unique global portfolio has proven to be a highly successful venture due to its discerning process to select only the most exceptional hotels and enriching travel experiences.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for the Autograph Collection, and a significant event for us in a prime, central London location,” said Amy McPherson, president and managing director for Marriott International in Europe. “Our three Autograph Collection hotels in the United Kingdom offer travelers an enviable range of artistic, culinary and cultural adventures and this historic hotel is a hugely powerful addition.”

St. Ermin’s Hotel, London
St. Ermin’s, converted from a Victorian apartment block to a hotel in 1899, is located within a short walk of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St. James’s Park and numerous other central London landmarks and attractions.  The hotel, which is Grade II listed and boasts numerous original Victorian characteristics, enjoys an illustrious history.  It  served as the headquarters of the British Secret Service during World War II, and given its proximity to the Houses of Parliament, has been a popular political meeting venue for many years. Retaining its classic architecture, evocative Art Nouveau styling and Rococco plasterwork, the St Ermin’s has been given a distinctive, modern and highly textural look and feel, offering guests a contemporary version of “The Grand Tour” that infused the English great house style.  Hand-picked antiques and collectables sit together with modern pieces to provide a warm, sophisticated London welcome.  The hotel was fully refurbished between 2010 and 2012.

You can learn more about these new Autograph Collection travel experiences and find out exactly what your own personal signature says about you by visiting the new “What Does Your Autograph Say About You?” app on the Autograph Collection Facebook page.

All Autograph Collection hotels participate in Marriott Rewards, Marriott International’s award-winning guest loyalty program, where guests can earn points at more than 3,200 hotels in 68 countries. In addition to their placement on, each property is showcased in its own unique way on the Collection’s award winning standalone site,

Autograph Collection hotels can be found in an increasing number of key travel destinations around the world including The Algonquin and The Carlton hotels in New York, The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, the Boscolo Budapest Hotel, the newly opened The Stones Hotel – Legian in Indonesia, The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Colorado, and the AC Baqueira Ski Resort in Spain.

Catherine Leitner, Autograph Collection

About Autograph Collection
The Autograph Collection is an evolving ensemble of strikingly independent hotels. Each destination has been selected for its quality, bold originality, rich character and uncommon details. From near to far, iconic to historic, the result is an array of properties that is nothing less than unique, nothing short of collectively exceptional. For more information please visit

About Marriott International
Visit Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) for company information. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at, and for the latest company news, visit

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From field to fork, from bean to brew – St. Ermin’s launches its own coffee

Chef Sylvan Chevereau’s commitment to serving the best in sustainable ingredients has now been brought to the (coffee) table.

The St. Ermin’s Westminster Blend, now being served throughout the hotel, has been specially blended for the hotel by The Borough Coffee Co. Working closely with Borough Coffee Co, Sylvan is delighted with the blend, which is a complex balance of arabica coffees from around the world; a well-rounded, malty sweetness and notes of toasted almonds and is completed by a fruity acidity. It is smooth throughout with a prolonged milk chocolate finish. As well as the distinctly individual flavour all the beans are ethically-sourced from farms where quality matters and are roasted and delivered to the hotel within 5 days, guaranteeing maximum freshness!
For those guests who get a taste for ‘The St. Ermin’s Westminster Blend’ – 125gm packets will be available to purchase from mid April at a price of £4.50

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Sylvan Chevereau and Adam Handling join the team

Sylvan Chevereau and Adam Handling head the kitchens at the St Ermin’s Hotel

“People say ‘wow’ when they walk in to the St Ermin’s – it delivers so much more than they are expecting –and that is exactly the reaction we want to all the food and drink we serve throughout the hotel, says Sylvan Chevereau, newly appointed Executive Chef at the deluxe St Ermin’s Hotel in St James’s Park, London.

“Be it breakfast, afternoon tea, drinks at the bar, a special event or a meal in our signature restaurant, we aim to deliver top quality, delicious seasonal food in an accessible, friendly manner”, he commented.

Heading two kitchens with a team of sixteen, Sylvan Chevereau is supported by Adam Handling, leading the team for the hotel’s two rosette signature restaurant, Caxton Grill.

Classically trained in France, Sylvan Chevereau worked extensively in renowned Michelin-starred restaurants and hotels across France, Jersey and Scotland before moving south and in 2011 taking the reins as Chef de Cuisine at the Lancaster Hotel, London.

Adam Handling trained at the prestigious Gleneagles Hotel at the age of 16. Then ventured south to work for Malmaison Hotel Du Vin group before taking over as Head Chef of Fairmont St Andrews’ fine dining operations, where he went on to win numerous awards such as ‘Scottish Young Chef Of The Year 2011’.

“Adam and I are committed to serving seasonal, low food miles British ingredients with creativity and flair, continued Chevereau. “We already produce our own honey courtesy of our rooftop bees and will dramatically increase our own, home kitchen produce this Summer with our own in-house jams, chutneys, breads and smoked fish. This month, for instance, we are introducing our own St Ermin’s blend of coffee using freshly roasted beans from Peterborough.”

New offerings this Summer include an extension to the specialist afternoon teas – including a special children’s super-hero themed tea – InfiniTEA and Beyond, Chelsea Flower Show and Hendricks’ gin themed teas and the opening of the Summer Caxton Terrace.

Signature dishes in the Caxton Grill are prepared on the Josper Grill – a very high temperature charcoal oven which delivers succulent meat and fish with characterful smokey flavours. Bringing his own fresh style and creative, flavour-filled flair to the kitchen, Adam Handling’s Spring menu offers the very best of British meats, line-caught fish together with seasonal accompaniments and sides, such as pea veloute with ham hock and cheese wafer; duck liver parfait, gingerbread and blackberries or hand dived scallops, cauliflower, dates and apple. As well as an extensive range of the Caxton Grill’s renowned steaks, main courses include Muntjac venison, potatoes, plum, marrow and spring leaves; potato-crusted cod, white beans, pressed potato, baby gem and celeriac or macaroni cheese, garlic, peas, mushrooms and truffle.

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St. Ermin’s Hotel – the place to see and ‘bee’ seen

The patron saint of bees is usually ascribed to either Saint Ambrose or Saint Valentine, but St. Ermin could claim that title, if the hotel’s colony of 200,000 Buckfast bees is anything to go by.

When Colin Farquharson, the property manager at St. Ermin’s first suggested the idea of keeping bees at the hotel, little did this keen apiarist realise that his passion for bees would be so contagious, inspiring guests, staff and journalists alike. Colin, who has always appreciated the benefits bees can bring to the environment, originally placed three hives on the roof in May 2011, these first hives were home to 90,000 plus Buckfast bees, a breed that is well known for its good temper. Now, the Saint Ermin’s colony has grown to approximately 200,000 bees, with the three new hives located on a carefully placed vantage point, that allows guests and staff a safe, close up view of the hard working bees, from within the hotel itself.

Colin comments, “London has long been known as an excellent location for honey bees, as there is such a wide and rich source of flora in close proximity, offering a great variety of pollen and nectar. However with all the green space on the hotel’s doorstep, our bees have richer pickings than many other of their London cousins – it seems it’s not just our guests who enjoy our proximity to St. James’s Park.” Colin is also working alongside the hotel’s gardeners to ensure that the courtyard is planted with specimens that actively attract bees such as lavenders, poppies, perennial verbenas to name but a few. Three of the hives sit within a “green” roof area completely given over to the planting of wild flowers

It is all this pollen and nectar within a three-mile radius that gives the St. Ermin’s honey such a distinct and delicious flavour – which has not gone unnoticed in the hotel’s kitchens. To celebrate the overwhelming success of the bees, St. Ermin’s Hotel is dedicating the month of September to them, and the hotel’s honey will be making a star appearance on many of the hotel’s menus. Guests will be invited to sip on honey-inspired cocktails, indulge in a honey afternoon tea, or treat themselves to a honey-infused dish from the Caxton Grill menu.

As part of the hotel’s honey month, they are also partnering with the charity Sustain to hold a screening and a live extraction of honey followed by delicious freshly baked scones to sample the flavour of the St. Ermin’s honey first hand. Alongside this, the Caxton Grill will be provided with seasonal ingredients by local allotment plots to create dishes of the day from a selection of vegetables and salad items to use alongside the honey.

It seems that Colin’s love of bees and how they can benefit the environment and the hotel’s guests through honey’s health giving properties, is only set to grow and grow.

So on second thoughts, maybe it should be Saint Colin, patron saint of bees.

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