Thinking about having out of town visitors and wondering where they might stay, I quite literally stumbled upon the Inn at Moonlight Beach. Formerly a bed and breakfast, this cozy “conscious destination” has been transformed into a five-room haven that quite literally transports the soul of the weary traveler into a portal of heaven.
The Inn has had its fair share of press — it has the only global designation for the highest standards in a hotel with the prestigious Platinum Well Building Standard award for starters. What that means in layman’s terms is that every single detail of every single aspect of the space has been weighed and measured in terms of how it affects the human experience positively. Oh, OK. Check the box on over 100 features of air, water, lighting, nutrition, comfort, mind and more, that address issues that exceed the standards for impacting human health and wellness.
But I wanted to understand the woman who architected this vision. What was it that set her soul ablaze, and motivated her to put this kind of effort, money and time into a dilapidated old B&B on 1/3 of an acre lot off the beaten track on Vulcan in Encinitas? What led her to this point in her life?
Searching for enlightenment has never landed me in 5,000 thread count sheets on a bed so comfortable that I don’t remember ever having such a sound sleep in my life. I’m not mad about it. I didn’t even know I was so tired. I had to call the front desk and apologize if I might have snored too loudly. I was transported.
I greeted the sunrise and the pink glow over the ocean on my private and tranquil deck. Took a shower and was headed to the lobby where healthy locally sourced snacks, dehydrated fruits, locally crafted coffee, and Chinese herbal remedy teas are offered. I was stopped in my tracks at the door and handed a sweet basket filled with goodies and bundled in a palpable love vibration. Lavender stalks adorned the latch of the delivery, and I felt the warm embrace of Divine Mother move through me, as I knew I was being cared for by something godlike.
Is it grace? Let me try to describe it.
Maybe it was the hot tea soaking bath before I hit the sack. Yes. Bags of lavender, oregano, rue, and a variety of herbs grown onsite are bundled and offered complimentary to throw into your bubbling bathtub along with your Himalayan salt votive candle burning subtly in the modern, well-appointed bathroom. Feelings of being pampered with delicious organic EO bath products that are refilled to reduce plastic consumption to help save the planet. Yes, please. Thirsty cotton towels and cozy bathrobes are supplied. Anything you would ever need, require, or think of has already been considered and placed at your disposal.
This feeling of being cared for so completely is only enhanced with the sound of crashing waves in the distance on the private bamboo screened patio. Once inside, the relaxing sound machine is set to mimic the tide. Essential oils waft in the air mixed with the smell of fresh-cut herbs that adorn the teapot filled with Ayurvedic medicinal blends, warmed by a gentle glowing candle. Several altars are positioned around the property, at the fountain, and in the walkways that create a Zen-like reverence. The warmth of the candle glow throughout the property arouses your senses. Such conscious, soulful touches are in every corner of this profoundly thought out and expertly designed space. It’s also 90% solar-powered, all the water is filtered and provides an experience in itself. There are biodynamic gardens strategically installed throughout the property. A fermentation composting technique known as Bokashi is employed to utilize 90% of the waste produced by the Inn. Compost buckets are in each room at the sink, and with this process, waste is reduced to a bare minimum. It’s a hundred different little things.
So, what is this feeling coming over me? Rumi quotes on the wall read, “Quiet your Mind, Connect to your Soul.” Oh, Hello, Soul. What I’ve come to realize in my short stay, is that the deep feelings go beyond the Genius Loci hospitality of this extraordinary overnight experience. Actually, this feeling is vibratory and is coming from the earth below and around the grounds. Lovingly and painstakingly restored, regenerated and healed for months to its most productive capacity with the assistance and expertise of local growers — farmers not landscapers, brought in to share their knowledge of a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach with esoteric ideas. Biodynamic farming follows the moon phases with a soulful recognition of spirit in nature. It’s built into the place. The gifts of this effort are in a constant prolific harvest of herbs, flowers, and fruit that is offered to each guest. All this was accomplished before the building and remodel took place, so crucial to the vision was the surroundings that would impact the human interaction with the Inn. Check. It’s working.
Not surprising since the proprietor of the property, Shangwen Kennedy, was a global urban designer in large cities such as Shanghai, Boston, and other international hotspots. Her jet setting didn’t fill the dharma-sized hole in her soul, as something was missing in the fulfillment department. After a lot of searching in that soul, she took her three degrees from Harvard in urban design, landscape and architecture, left her high-profile position, and channeled her passion for building and design into human health and creating a profound experience that encourages community.
Her Ethos reads, “We have a world where people are empowered to create communities and living environments that support their well being and inspire them to flourish, savor their existence and contribute together in the world, such that they experience joy and belonging to a global family.”
She has a passion for people, and a more significant purpose has emerged by following her choice to align with spirit. Listening and heeding the calling of her soul is not only fulfilling, but it’s creating another eco-industry while changing the face of hospitality in the world starting here in Encinitas. And the world is watching, as commitment over profit is what today’s consumer is really looking for. Add another check-box.
What I realized after my stay is that we are all capable of having a profound impact on the world and the people around us if we just listen to the calling of our souls and do more of what makes our souls happy. Doing what sets us on fire. In a way, I almost don’t want to share this hidden treasure with the world; I want to keep it as my own private respite from the hustle and bustle of life as I feel my soul and body were restored in the time I spent at the Inn. But that wouldn’t be true to my higher calling to expose the best of everything I find and share it with the world … So run, don’t walk to the Inn at Moonlight Beach, tell all your friends and ask about their January promotions and Renew Your Soul packages. You will be glad you did. After all, as Rumi said, “Gratitude is the Wine of the Soul. Go on. Get drunk!” Happy New Year!
Susan “Sully” SullIvan is a spiritually conscious Realtor with Windermere Homes & Estates and is currently enrolled in several Science of Mind mysticism classes. She is a Practitioner in training at Seaside Center for Spiritual Living with an eye on Ministerial school. She has been on a quest for enlightenment since studying to be a Catholic nun as a child.