Arizona's Miraval Resort near Tucson part of 'bee hotel' trend

TUCSON - Massage at the spa, cocktail by the pool -- and a beehive tour up close. 

Miraval Resort near Tucson was highlighted in a recent LA Times article about a growing number of hotels offering bee experience programs. 

The insects "are a wonderful vehicle for connecting to the world around you,” said Miraval's resident beekeeper Noel Patterson, who oversees the property's four different bee and honey programs.

“If you’re a human being on this planet and you eat food, your fate is intertwined with what is happening with the bees," he said, adding how pollination by bees affects more than half of our food supply. 

Patterson said guest response has been "far better" than he and the resort expected. He said the programs align with their mission of connecting visitors to the world around them. 

Depending on the time of year, up to four-million bees live in Miraval's hives. The honey they produce is used at the bar, restaurant and spa. 

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study showed bee populations are slowly rising after experts said parasites were among the factors leading to a decade of sharp declines. 

Other bee hotel programs were highlighted at hotels in Canada and throughout California. 

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