Inn at Moonlight Beach: tranquilty, wellness and beauty in Encinitas

We have always been charmed by the little beach towns that dot the coastline north of San Diego. And now we have found the ideal reason to visit Encinitas: the Inn at Moonlight Beach.

Encinitas’ eclectic downtown has long drawn surfers and hippies with its unique and dynamic blend of top surf shops, coffeehouses and record stores, not to mention beaches that are coveted by locals as hidden gems. Encinitas is alternately known as the “Flower Capital of the World,” because of its extensive collection of unique nurseries and gardens, most extensive of which is the San Diego Botanic Garden, and the world’s leading grower of the Christmas flower, the poinsettia. In short, Encinitas is an unspoiled reminder of the historic Highway 101 beach culture that thrived in the mid-1900s.

But we recommend you go there first and foremost to experience the treasure that is the Inn at Moonlight Beach. Here is an intimate retreat that will instantly take you away from the hustle of everyday life and transport you into a luxurious hideaway. Set on a leafy hillside overlooking Moonlight Beach, this warm bed-and-breakfast is just a mile from the San Diego Botanic Garden and two miles from San Elijo State Beach.

The beautiful and gracious Shangwen Chiu Kennedy opened the Inn in May of 2018 after a year of extensive redesign and renovation. Her goal was to combine elements of minimalism, modernism and Asian fusion in harmony with nature to promote wellness and inspire and nourish her guests. She has succeeded admirably: we must confess, we’ve never seen an Inn quite like this one—just five rooms in an environmentally sustainable Zen-like cocoon flooded with natural light and set in a series of gardens.

Shangwen was uniquely qualified to take on this project. While she self-deprecatingly calls herself an “accidental innkeeper,” she holds degrees from Harvard and Cornell and had a distinguished career in large-scale urban design.

Her drive and passion to create intimate spaces to nourish people’s well-being and their connection with nature—and each other–is at the heart of her Inn. She has really redefined the hotel space to gracefully meet human needs and enhance health.

On arrival we were greeted with a freshly brewed cup of tea and fresh fruit. We found reclaimed woods, Asian art work and flowers everywhere that soothed and inspired us. Natural light poured into each room and delicious scents from biodynamic gardens with fruits, vegetables, blossoms and herbs were everywhere.

The Inn is powered with 90 percent solar energy. All rooms have soaking tubs, purified water and air systems, pure cotton towels and robes, aromatherapy diffusers and secluded outdoor decks, most with ocean views. Shangwen places small artistic bouquets of herbs here and there in each room and at night tea candles are lit. All rooms feature free Wi-Fi, cable TV, coffeemakers and minifridges. It is impossible not to feel a spiritual connection with nature here.

Completing the picture of life at the Inn at Moonlight Beach is a meditation garden, yoga deck, outdoor fire pit, complimentary tea and healthy snacks (wine, too), and a table for blending teas, making potpourri sachets and creating other crafts. You can also borrow complimentary yoga and exercise mats, beach chairs, picnic blankets, umbrellas, tents, kids’ toys, cribs and sunscreen. They are also encouraged to visit nearby businesses and spas to get a fuller Encinitas experience. Guests want for nothing; a cheerful young staff is keen to meet all needs.

The Inn at Moonlight Beach is a unique calming, healthy getaway devoted to the joy of connecting, an oasis built on quality, water, lighting, fitness, nutrition and the mind. You will check out completely nurtured and uplifted, filled with tranquility.

Nightly rates start at $229; a destination fee of $30 covers parking (1 car per room), a yummy delivered-to-your-room picnic basket breakfast, daily selection of local produce and healthy snacks, and unlimited organic coffees and teas. For more information about the Inn at Moonlight Beach, visit The establishment is located at 105 N. Vulcan Avenue.

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