The focused alignment of the mind, body and soul is wellness. In this fast-paced world where digital objects get more attention than healthy eating and exercise, achieving optimal wellness can seem like a lofty goal.
The Inn at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, CA, is a place where people can tap into what it means to live well and feel well. Shangwen Chiu Kennedy, chief visionary officer and owner of the Inn, strives to cultivate an experience on-property where people are empowered to create communities and living environments that support their well-being. She wishes to inspire them to flourish, savor their existence and contribute together in the world, such that they experience joy and belonging to a global family.
“Wellness is not only at the heart of the experience we want to provide our guests, but it also happens to be my own personal life’s mission as a designer: to create spaces the allow people to flourish and be nurtured,” said Kennedy. “To me, the meaning of wellness goes beyond diet, exercise and absence of disease. It is a condition of alignment among many elements—the physical body; a clear, well-rested and peaceful mind; and the connection with one’s spirit, with nature and with humanity. We strive for all of these at the Inn at Moonlight Beach.”
With a passion for health and wellness, the Inn at Moonlight Beach took its mission to new heights by achieving the Well Certification at the Platinum level by the International Well Building Institute’s (IWBI) collaboration with Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). Going a step further than LEED certification, the distinction was awarded through IWBI’s WELL Building Standard, which is the premier building standard to focus on enhancing people’s health and wellness through the buildings where we live, work and play.
The 4,000-sq.-ft. boutique hotel on a one-third acre lot is nestled in a residential neighborhood in historical downtown Encinitas, a short walk from Moonlight Beach. This “conscious destination in the heart of Encinitas” offers five modern, tranquil suites, 10 distinct gardens, and an owner’s quarters. The entire property is a biodynamic urban farm that yields expansive vistas and productive landscapes of medicinal herbs, cut flowers, succulents, and vegetables, fruits, and teas that the Inn shares with its guests.
“We are completely thrilled to be awarded Well Certified Platinum. I first learned of the Well Building Standard from a builder who develops top-tier luxury hotels such as Aman and Six Senses resorts in 2016. With a background in architecture, landscape and urban design, I was very touched and moved by the intention of the Well Building Standard since I could see myself devoting my life to creating such a standard, if it didn’t already exist,” she said.
Kennedy immediately began the work to become a Well Accredited Professional. The timing was right as the property was in need of a major renovation, and she jumped at the opportunity to implement the Well Building Standard within this property.
“It was then a surprise to learn that no other hotels had yet pursued the standard in earnest. Apparently, someone needed to lead the way,” she said. “This Well Certified building improves the health and well-being of its occupants. Our staff benefits from working in this environment; they experience a sense of reward and satisfaction with their work that comes across to our guests. Part of the Well standard is policies that support our employees.”
The Well Building Standard goes beyond what people can see. “Beauty is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Kennedy.
It is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellness, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and the mind.
“The renovation incorporates design elements of feng shui and introduces biodynamic, organic farming. We transformed the aging property into a conscious destination that passively improves human health,” she said. “From the fresh ingredients harvested from the Inn’s biodynamic garden, to the air and water filtration systems, to the green building materials and cleaning products, every detail is carefully considered with the guests’ wellness in mind.”
As an urban designer, property developer and entrepreneur, Kennedy is committed to creating sustainable environments that enhance the quality of life and well-being of their occupants. She believes the Well Building Certification supports just that.
“This place is about the joy of connecting: with people, nature and alignment with yourself,” she said. “I would like the experience of staying at the Inn to open up what guests didn’t expect like friendship, love or contribution. Our intention is that you walk in one way, but leave completely nurtured and uplifted.”