The Calile Hotel’s Busy Bees

The grass is officially greener on The Calile side, with their rooftop now home to an organic, edible garden and a hive of very happy busy bees.

Making the most of the sunshine, eight tidy wooden planter boxes now line the Doggett Street side of the hotel’s roof. Installed earlier this year – French millet, buckwheat, mung bean and other legumes were the first crops to be planted, cultivated and composted in order to produce organic ‘green manure’ – soil for growing healthy, strong and nutrient rich produce.

Last month, the autumn crop was planted, featuring more than 42 varieties of lettuce, sorrel, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, garlic and grapevines to name just a few.

The seedlings have been selected to not only supply and compliment the menus of Lobby Bar and other in-house restaurants, but to pay homage to the hotel owners’ Lebanese heritage.

Lobby Bar Head Chef, Andy Gunn said, “The goal is to achieve zero waste, the menu is flexible enabling us to replace ingredients where required”.

It’s Andy, who alongside the Future Wild team, will continue to farm The Calile garden.

“It sets Lobby Bar apart from other venues and ,as a Chef, it’s an amazing tool and privilege to have this on the roof,” he said.

The produce has been planted with organic, biodynamic and permaculture principles in mind – by growing nasturtium, borage, marigolds and alyssum, pests will be organically controlled and the neighbouring honeybees fed.

To overcome Brisbane’s volatile weather, The Calile’s architect, Ingrid Richards of Richards And Spence, designed a custom-arched trellis to sit over the planters to encourage green canopy growth – made up of plants like grapevines, peas and cucumbers that will in turn, protect the crops.​​​​​​​

The Bees and The Bees, No Birds
No garden is complete without some welcome pollinators – bee tête-à-tête starts now.  Four Langstroth hives take up residence next to the edible garden and play home to thousands of bees. There is one queen per hive and approximately 85% of the ‘worker bees’ are female (girl power!).

Each hive has ten frames (where the bees do their business) and each frame produces roughly 2.3 kilograms of honey.

This means that sweet, sweet Calile honey will soon be stocked in the hotel’s lobby shop, Museum of Small Things (M.O.S.T.) and be featured in Lobby Bar dishes.

Busy Bee Facts:
According to The Calile’s resident Apiarist, Amy Murray:

  • Bees do a ‘waggle dance’ to tell each other where to find the sweetest nectar in the area.
  • Like us, bees prefer resort living, well, sunny warm days – they stay in-doors when it’s cloudy or raining.
  • The Calile honey is harvested in spring and summer… so roll on summer!
  • Rooftop hives will not increase the risk of being stung unless the bees feel threatened – hotel guests do not have access to the hives – so, there is no need to beeware!

Kristie Mancell
Sales & Marketing Manager, The Calile
+61 432 707 722 / [email protected]

Jodi Clark
Director of Communications, TFE Hotels
+61 499 900 658 / [email protected]

Collection by TFE Hotels represent beautiful hotels hallmarked by authenticity and provenance, each designed with individual character and charm. With a collection of properties that encompass striking design and attention to the individual such as The Calile Hotel Brisbane, The Hotel Britomart in Auckland, Melbourne’s The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins and Hotel Kurrajong Canberra.