ENCINITAS, CALIF.—A year after receiving Platinum WELL Certification for her Inn at Moonlight Beach—the first lodging establishment in the world to do so—owner Shangwen Chiu Kennedy has no regrets about the investment. Well Certification is a result of the International WELL Building Institute’s collaboration with Green Business Certification Inc. According to the Institute, there are currently 4,421 projects encompassing over 623 million square feet that are applying WELL across 63 countries. There is at least one additional Well hotel project.
The boutique Inn at Moonlight Beach consists of five modern suites, 10 distinct gardens, and an owner’s quarters. The Inn has become a magnet for those in search of a healthy stay during a tumultuous time.
“We are doing pretty well actually,” Kennedy says. “We are at about 95 percent occupancy in July and August. During this time, people feel safer with a smaller property, especially one with Well certification.” The Inn has done well for those in search of a local stay or “safecation.” Fifty to 60 percent of business is from just a couple of hours drive away.
Whole Room UV Light for Sanitizing
Because of COVID-19, the Inn has stepped up its cleaning of an already very-clean space.
“When we clean every room we sanitize all the high-touch areas,” Kennedy says. The final sanitization step in each room is the running of a whole room UV light for 30 minutes. The machine does not use ozone.
Already making the air clean in the Inn is a mini-split system in each room. Air is not exchanged from guestroom to guestroom. The entry to each room is from the outside. The Well standard requires high-quality air filtration and the execution of a maintenance protocol over the life of a filter to improve and maintain indoor air quality over time.
In addition to advanced air purification, the Inn has a whole-house water filtration system that also uses UV light to kill germs.
Attention to air quality and water are just two of the concepts within the Well system. The others include nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, community, and innovation.
Biodynamic Urban Farm
Kennedy says the Inn’s biodynamic urban farm, which encompasses the entire property, has been highly successful. “A farm should be a self-sustaining organization,” she says. “We plan six months before planting anything. It is a very-healthy ground and site.” One example of a product made from farm yield: gourmet fruit jams.
At the Moonlight Farmshop, guests can infuse local raw honey with herbs from the Inn’s garden to take home. There are also Moonlight Makers Workshops where guests can make and take 100 percent natural and pure beeswax candles, soap, Moonlight Salve (lotion bar), lip balm and coffee scrub. The inn is also offering a Moonlight Veranda where guests can experience a massage outdoors—currently the only way massages are permitted due to a California Governor mandate.
Formerly an old bed and breakfast, the Inn was renovated into its current space and soft opened in 2018. The formal grand opening was last year.
“It fulfills my purpose and promise,” Kennedy says. “I was an architect and urban designer for 20 years. When I first heard about WELL, I was overjoyed. It includes all the elements that support wellbeing.” Kennedy is now a Well Accredited Professional. “I am looking to prove a concept,” she says.
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Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.