Beekeepers take care of the hives at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa. The bees make about 80 pounds of honey a year.
Courtesy photo

SANTA ANA PUEBLO — Bees living at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa are producing honey guests can taste in special dishes or enjoy in spa treatments.

Tamaya is home to two beehives that house more than 80,000 bees and produce around 80 pounds of honey each year. The resort has hosted the hives since 2014.

“We began keeping beehives at Tamaya with the simple goal of helping honeybees, which as most people know are under immense stress and populations are declining dramatically,” said Claudia Wattenberg, the resort’s general manager. “It’s a wonderful bonus that the bees provide us with a small amount of honey we can offer to our guests in very select ways.”

The resort does not sell the honey, due to the fluctuating nature of production. It’s primarily used in signature spa treatments like sugar scrubs and in carefully curated dishes.

The Corn Maiden, a fine-dining restaurant on the resort, offers honey ice cream and other dishes using the local honey. Guests also receive a welcome Margarita called the Margarita de Miel, which uses a house-made lavender-infused version of the honey.

A professional beekeeper visits the Tamaya hives once a month to attend to the bees’ needs. A thriving herb garden, orchard and a variety of native flowers on the grounds also benefit them.

“We try to keep within the pueblo’s belief in being good stewards of the land,” said Jolene Mauer, Tamaya’s public relations manager.

As for the possibility of bee stings, guests aren’t stung at a rate higher than any property without beehives, said Tamaya Assistant Director of Engineering Alex Kuhn, a member of the Sustainability Team, which works with the bees.