There’s a beautiful buzz about Caneel Bay, a Rosewood resort on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, all thanks to bees. While replacing the roofs on many buildings last Fall, the resort’s workers uncovered several beehives. But instead of calling in an exterminator, Caneel Bay remained true to its roots as a leader in conservation efforts, a mission established by founder Laurance Rockefeller in 1955. Local beekeeping expert Elmo Rabsatt, Sr. was brought in to delicately move the hives far enough away from human populations, while remaining close enough so that the harvested honey could be easily mixed into the guest experience.
At the Beach Terrace bar, the Air Mail cocktail of champagne, white rum and vodka gets a sweet kick from the honey. It’s a terrific summer cocktail, so I secured the recipe for you!
1 oz White Rum (CRUZAN RUM)
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz honey
Shake and strain then top with Champagne
Glass: Champagne Flute
Garnish: Lime twist spiral
At the resort’s upscale dining venue (“closed toe shoes for men, please”) Turtle Bay Estate House, I got a chance to speak with Restaurant Chef Allison Thomas. Originally from Lake Placid, New York, it’s easy to see why she gave up mountains of snow for the sunshine and fresh bounty of the islands. Chef Thomas uses the honey in a variety of dishes including Tuna Tartar with Grilled Pineapple Relish, as well as sauces like Green Curry, Lemongrass and Coconut, a favorite accompaniment for local fish. She explained to me that her use of the honey changes by the season, because the honey takes on different flavors depending upon what fruit flowers are in bloom when the bees are pollinating.
While I love the gooey goodness in my tea, I was a little suspect of having it slathered on my face as part of the resort’s new Bee-utiful Facial. My in-house all natural advisor (and partner) Chef, informed me that honey is a natural antioxidant and has loads of moisturizing properties. All my sticky worries melted away in the open-air, seaside spa cottages. No piped in spa meditation music here. Instead, I relaxed to the sounds of gentle breezes and lapping waves. The treatment included a steam cleaning, exfoliation, and then a masque of fresh honey. Applied with a brush, the honey feels thick and nourishing, rather than gooey, with results that rejuvenated my sun kissed skin.
Overall, I was impressed with Caneel Bay’s ability to create clever solutions out of what could have been a biting problem. What’s that saying about when life gives you lemons? Caneel Bay has definitely made lemonade, sweetened with natural honey, of course.
For more on Caneel Bay, check out this 40, Love post.