This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.
Can a hotel make you happy?
After staying at Inn at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California, I’ve decided the answer is yes.
Hearing that the tiny boutique hotel was the first hotel in the world to be awarded the prestigious WELL certification, I wondered what that truly meant. On paper, WELL Building Standards seek to enhance human health and well-being through features of the built environment measuring 100+ factors that improve human health in areas including air and water quality, lighting, and fitness. But in reality, what did that mean for hotel guests?
Well certified hotel – an Oasis from the World
I was invited to review Inn at Moonlight Beach, so I took a friend, Heather, along for the adventure. As soon as we turned off the highway, we felt like we were in another country, probably an Asian one, due to the artistic influences in the form of sculptures and simplistic design. The kitchen, open to the public, beckoned with ample snacks and adult beverages, but we forged on to check ourselves in and explore our room.
The first thing I noticed was how spacious the room was. Beyond the bed was a couch that folded out, as well as a kitchen bar with hot water kettle, sink, fridge, and microwave. And a tiny patio fringed with trees completed what would be our home for the next 24 hours.
The hotel room was filled with subtle extras like an air purification system, hot tea, and ambient sounds (all part of the WELL certification, I imagine.) There was a large sphere (I forget what type of rock it was) and instructions on how to clear your chakras with it. In the bathroom were sachets of herbs picked on the premises to add to your bath. I could get used to this!
A Green Paradise
After dropping our bags, we wandered around the property. Everywhere we turned there were plants and flowers! The Inn has 10 distinct gardens, including a vegetable and herb garden that guests are encouraged to harvest for their own enjoyment. I found herbs like verbena and curry that I’d never seen anywhere else.
Later, we’d create succulent planters from the Inn’s Maker’s Space. I’m a Southern California girl, so I’m no stranger to succulents, but I can imagine how a visitor from elsewhere would delight in their strange shapes. Heather and I had fun choosing our succulents. My planter now sits on my porch as a reminder of my girlfriend getaway.
Being in the Inn’s gardens really made me slow down. We typically arrive at a hotel and immediately head out to do things. I think the point of Inn at Moonlight Beach is to slow down and enjoy the space. I could have stayed there and never ventured beyond its walls happily.
Steps Away from Encinitas
Our quick getaway to Encinitas gave us the opportunity to dine in the tiny beach town that evening and then return the next morning for shopping and lunch. We ate dinner at Chiko at the innkeeper, Rhys’, recommendation. The Chinese Korean restaurant was delicious, but fair warning: eat outside during the summer. The kitchen is out in the open, making the place sweltering.
Heather and I cooled off with a walk on Moonlight Beach at sunset. Gorgeous!
We wandered through downtown Encinitas that evening and stopped for beers at Culture Brewing. The next day, we returned when shops like Bliss 101, Soulscape, and Earth’s Elements were open, and enjoyed tasty burgers at The Bier Garten of Encinitas.
Does WELL Certification Equal Happiness? Could Be
While I really had no clue what WELL certification entailed before my visit, I now have a better idea, and I’m hooked. From our first impressions of the room and garden to one of the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had in a hotel to the delightful basket of curated healthy and tasty treats for breakfast, WELL certification, at least at Inn at Moonlight Beach, does equal happiness. And you can bet I’ll be back for another dose.
Need to Know
There are just five suites at the Inn, as well as a yoga deck and the many gardens. You can rent the entire Inn for events.
Prices range from $249 to $549 a night. There is a $30 Destination Fee, which includes:
- Breakfast basket with organic, vegetarian and vegan selections delivered to your door
- One parking space per room
- Wireless Internet access
- Daily afternoon selection of local produce, including fruit and cheese plate
- Daily selection of organic coffee, tea, and healthy snacks in the Guest Lounge
- Yoga mat, block, and beach amenities
No pets are permitted.
Check-in: 3 pm
Check-out: 11 am
It is worth paying a little extra to stay in the Garden Suite to experience the partial and full ocean view. Upstairs rooms are quieter, according to the staff, but I heard no noise in our downstairs suite…other than my own snoring!
Encinitas, as well as Moonlight Beach, are less than 10 minutes by foot, so park at the Inn and walk to enjoy the area.
If You Go:
Inn at Moonlight Beach
105 N Vulcan Ave
Encinitas, CA 92024
Inn at Moonlight Beach review and all photography by travel writer Susan Guillory. I received a comped stay at this hotel and a succulent arrangement, though all opinions are my own.