CHARLOTTE, NC -- (Marketwired) -- Jul 28, 2015 -- Agritourism is going urban in the Carolinas this year, thanks to several new experiences available to guests of The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte -- including an exclusive farmers market enlivening the luxury hotel's lobby foyer.
Located in the heart of uptown Charlotte, the LEED® Gold-certified Ritz-Carlton has long championed hyper-local growing, with a green vegetated roof that is home to 10,000 sedum plants and two highly productive beehives. The roof's flowering sedum plants provide insulation, reduce runoff and mitigate urban heat island effect, while its 100,000 resident bees generate more than 70 pounds of chemical-free natural honey each year. The honey's most popular application is in hand-made honey pecan gelato which is served to hotel check-ins during each weekend's regular ice cream socials.
This year, agrarian experiences at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte have further expanded, thanks to an extensive new roofscape supporting a sizable array of recently-installed rooftop gardens. Output from the gardens is made available not only to hotel chefs and mixologists, but also to hotel guests via the new Lobby Farmers Market which invites guests to clip their own produce for on-site or take-home enjoyment.
This garden enhancement project has also impacted all of the hotel's menus, with just-picked ingredients now hand-ferried from the roof to chefs, mixologists and spa therapists for use in newly-launched menu and spa treatment selections. Some of these include The Spa & Wellness Center's new Garden Glow Body Scrub, along with Bar Cocoa dessert boutique's Mint Chocolate Chip Gelato, Citrus Rosemary Cupcakes, Lavender Panna Cotta and Lemon Basil Macarons.
The luxury hotel's 15th-floor Punch Room is also taking advantage of the new harvests, presenting six added libations including the St. Charles Punch, made with Brandy, Port, fresh lemon, Curaçao and a garnish of fresh-cut bee balm flowers, and the Charlotte Swizzle, created with rum, yellow Chartreuse, muddled lime, rooftop organic jalapeño, Angostura bitters and rooftop organic mint. The Punch Room's new Sherry Cobbler cocktail is another addition and features the use of Sherry, fresh orange, hand-blended syrup made with fresh pineapple and rooftop wildflower honey, and a garnish of freshly-plucked rooftop organic sweet basil.
Urban Agritourism experiences at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte include the following:
1. Addition of further gardens across the entire roof of the hotel, including planting of several dozen flower, herb and vegetable species. Among these are many varieties of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, Swiss chard, cilantro, lemon grass, curry, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, cornflowers and lemon verbena.
2. Addition of new culinary gardens within the front entrance perimeter of the hotel, with planters that include tomatoes, lavender, mint, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lantana and more.
3. Installation of a Lobby Farmers Market allowing hotel guests to snip their own herbs and vegetables from pots, to have access to related recipes, and to sample or take home complimentary plants and produce as they desire.
4. Incorporation of freshly-harvested rooftop produce into menus seen throughout the hotel. Innovative usage can be discovered in sweets from Bar Cocoa, in inventive punches and mixology creations served in The Punch Room, in small bites served in both The Lobby Lounge and The Punch Room, and in treatments at The Ritz-Carlton Spa & Wellness Center.
5. Guided bike tours of the city's vibrant market and garden scene, with complimentary bike access provided by the hotel's Bike Valet (who provides bikes and related equipment to guests wishing to pedal their way about town). The Bike Valet can be found near the hotel's front-drive electric vehicle charging station -- a special draw for road-trippers.
6. Saturday morning rooftop tours for registered hotel guests.
7. Private attendance at summer honey harvests led by the hotel's informative beekeepers. Some of the hotel's most popular honey-based culinary offerings include Bar Cocoa's honey pecan gelato, Rooftop Honey Brandy Sours served in the Lobby Lounge, and the Spa & Wellness Center's own Honey Detox and Chocolate Truffle body treatment.
8. The opportunity for agritourists to "live like a local" and join area residents for cooking classes presented within the hotel's private Cocoa Lab kitchen. These insider classes make use of the Uptown Charlotte hotel's rooftop and entryway garden harvests, with upcoming sessions set to focus on late summer and fall delicacies.
9. Community-focused sharing and healthy food outreach, including Operation Sandwich, which allows group guests of the hotel to prepare sandwiches for local citizens in need. Additionally, the hotel provides rooftop eco-focused tours to local elementary school students, while on Earth Day, The Ritz-Carlton conducts Planting of the Sedums -- during which hotel guests and employees can work alongside each other to add live plants to the city's neighboring roofs and skyways.
10. Plant life and conservation experiences for younger guests, as a green wagon bearing arrival gifts visits children after check-in, delivering small potted plantables for them to take home and nurture.
11. Fall harvests from the new roofscape to be incorporated into the hotel's annual holiday extravaganza. Last year's one-of-a-kind seasonal display included a 17-foot outdoor holiday tree made of 789 recycled green plastic bottles, a larger-than-life indoor croquembouche tree crafted from sweetly organic cream puffs, a 12-foot edible tree made of 8,000 hand-made macarons, and a life-size gingerbread cottage built with edible natural and organic ingredients, and featuring its own growing garden. This year's holiday displays promise several more edible, highly visual experiences.
The AAA Five-Diamond Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte is located at 201 East Trade Street, at the corner of Trade and College Streets, in the heart of Charlotte, North Carolina. For further information, visit www.ritzcarlton.com/charlotte or call 704-547-2244. To engage with the hotel, visit https://www.facebook.com/ritzcarltoncharlotte. For room reservations, please visit the hotel website, call 1-800-241-3333, or contact a travel professional.
About The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., of Chevy Chase, Md., currently operates 89 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. More than 30 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe. For more information or reservations, visit the company web site at www.ritzcarlton.com, and for the latest company updates, visit news.ritzcarlton.com. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR).
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The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte 201 East Trade Street Charlotte, North Carolina 28202 1 (704) 547-2244 http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Charlotte/Default.htm
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