A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of visiting the Inn at Moonlight Beach to chat with Shangwen Chiu Kennedy, founder and owner. The space is airy and bright, loosely filled with design oriented furniture and books from Shangwen’s own collection plus ones left by guests over the years. As you walk into the Inn through its huge accordion folding doors, you feel as if you are walking into a living room of sorts. On the table are fresh bowls of flowers and herbs from the Inn’s garden. Two guests are sitting on the deck, reading.
The Inn at Moonlight Beach, after thorough renovations, soft opened May 2018 and Grand Opened in February of 2019. From the beginning, Shangwen articulated a simple and authentic goal - to have guests experience the joy of connection. Shangwen wanted her guests to feel like they were dwelling in nature in each of the Inn’s five rooms. As we walk through the Inn, Shangwen points out a table laden with objects. She describes it as a mindful place for guests to meditate, the objects intentionally chosen to bring guests to the present. Shangwen likens it to the process of picking a blueberry. The alignment one's body forms in order to pluck the berry from the bush, the connection with nature you form when you are picking food directly from its source, the intentionality that forces your mind to the present. These intentional objects are meant to bring about the same connection and focus; shifting your mind and mood towards the present. The whole point is the joy of connection which will bring you into alignment with yourself.
Recently, The Inn at Moonlight Beach became the first WELL Certified™ Platinum hotel in the world. Shangwen was first introduced to the WELL Building Standard when she visited AMAN in the Turks & Caicos as a potential investor in 2016. However, she shared with them, that she is most interested in creating environments that support community building & well-being instead of simply creating luxurious resorts. They then mentioned there is a new building standard that just came out was developed to support human health. Shangwen was so taken by this new standard that she studied and became one of the first accredited professionals who could facilitate such standard later that year. When she purchased the Inn at Moonlight Beach, she jumped at the opportunity to implement WELL on this property. It was to our surprise that the Inn at Moonlight beach became the first hospitality project in the world to achieve WELL Certification, and did so through the highest commitment to wellness — WELL Certification at the Platinum level.
The WELL building standard focuses on enhancing health through seven major concepts. Shangwen elucidated, below, how The Inn at Moonlight Beach has responded to and incorporated each of these concepts into their space:
- Air: We feature media filters MERV 13 (or higher). These are used in the ventilation system to filter and purify the air. Each room in the building boasts this feature in order to provide fresh air and minimize the effects of air pollution.
- Water: Every faucet in our sinks, showers, and baths serves water that is purified through our whole-house water filtration system. It removes organic, inorganic, and agricultural contaminants, as well as public water additives including chlorine and fluoride. Guests often notice that their bath water has a very slight blue tint. This is, in fact, what pure water looks like!
- Nourishment: We harness the power of nourishment by eliminating unhealthy foods and promoting a higher-quality product. You'll feel this in our Healthy Start Breakfast and selection of snacks!
- Circadian Lighting: Our circadian lighting systems are intricately designed to promote overall alertness. These lights enhance experiences during the day and promote sleep each evening. This system harmonizes with the human body's natural instincts to create a truly unique lodging experience!
- Fitness: We offer fitness areas to promote active habits while on vacation. You'll love our yoga and meditation common area!
- Comfort: Our inn provides comfort beyond the bounds of physical parameters. Our spaces are meant to maximize productivity and minimize distractions.
- Mind: The Inn at Moonlight Beach nourishes the mind, too. We promote emotional and cognitive health through inspired design, holistic treatment, and innovative technology.
- Innovation: Innovation happens here. The Inn at Moonlight Beach is a welcoming place where clever ideas and all walks of life are celebrated.
After learning the backstory of Shangwen and her Inn, we asked Shangwen a few questions about living and working in Encinitas. Read on below to hear why she thinks Encinitas is such a special community to be apart of.
What is your favorite part about living in Encinitas? What is different about owning a business in Encinitas?
By living in Encinitas, I am living true to all the things that are important to me. We have an authentic historical downtown, our history is not completely gentrified, we have lots of different types of people, and one can truly feel authentically connected with the people in this community. Many people here have a similar healthy eating lifestyle. Historically Encinitas is about farming, we are more connected with what we grow and eat and with the ocean. This community fulfills so many aspects of what is important in life. We live true here.
What is your favorite evening out in Encinitas & Leucadia?
We like to take the stroller out to walk down to Moonlight Beach. Then we come back into town and have a beer at Modern Times and stroll down and have dinner at Maurizio’s or EVE. Or during the day we walk down to OH! Juice and then walk to the beach, or get ice cream and then walk around town. We love being able to walk anywhere in town.
Shangwen refers to her Inn as a “structure to pass through, a portal gateway to Encinitas” for both visitors and locals alike. So, be sure to book your stay at The Inn at Moonlight Beach and experience this zen oasis right in the heart of Encinitas for yourself.
Make sure to follow them on Instagram @innatmoonlight & check out some photos of the beautiful Inn below!