If you follow me or any sort of similar blogger/influencer on Instagram (pssst follow me here) you'll already know about Obonjan. In fact you probably got a bit sick of it last month as we all pranced around the island looking all relaxed and boho. Problem is, I don't think this is an issue that'll go away in years to come. Forget Ibiza, forget Mykonos, this place is going to be the next "it" destination.

Other reviews have had a mixed opinion, and in truth mine will be no different. This year was Obonjan's opening launch after five years redevelopment and planning. There were some issues, mainly around service and food supplies - but if that was year 1, the years to come really are going to be quite special...

We arrived in Obonjan after a flight to Split, a taxi transfer over to Sibernik (which I've just learned has a super cool new boutique hotel called The Admiral Zaton in which I'm so annoyed I didn't know about as I'd love to have spent more time there) where we waited for about an hour for our boat to the island.  We had read Monica's post here and got the sense it might be an idea to take a few supplies over, so the time in town was perfect to stock up on snacks, water and a few beers. 

Our boat transfer was only about 30 minutes and very exciting, perhaps a little too much as it was so windy and therefore pretty bumpy. I first visited Croatia last year and fell in love with it, Gus had been before too on Yacht Week carnage a sailing holiday and we both itching to get out to sea. 

Outfit credits at the base of this post

Upon arrival, we were shown to our accommodation. We stayed in a 2 person Forest Lodge and were hugely impressed. More than anything their positioning is ideal; you essentially look straight out to sea. We had a proper (very comfortable) bed, the finishing was great and our own little deck spot for infinite selfie taking sunbathing.

I'd read up a bit on the options on the island and there seemed to be much debate about the difference between Forest Lodges and Bell Tents so let me explain; Bell Tents are still just as nice and exactly the same quality. The core difference is that they are based inland so you don't have the views, and they don't have their own bathrooms, which the lodges do and are very good. As someone who doesn't camp well at all, I can honestly say I'd be more than happy in a Bell Tent. The communal bathrooms are clean, spacious and much more "hotel" than "camping." 

Having settled in we went for a little explore. Obonjan is the name for the entire island, but only a third so far has been developed (which is very exciting). Croatian beaches are never sandy, so the team have turned the old port into one, large sunbathing spot. Cool house music plays out in the afternoons, and what I liked most about the whole holiday were the other guests - we met some brilliant people who were all very much up for a beer together, a diving competition, or a late night hunt for more booze...

The main "beach" is located next to the Zen Den (more on that later) and has great bean bags and umbrellas up ready for you - although a few more would have been handy. The water is almost laughable, it's just so clear and fun to swim it. Also very, very salty so you can just float around all day if you really wanted to...

For those that don't, there is plenty to do. I firmly recommend the morning yoga sessions (when we'd managed to get to bed in time to get up for it) and I wish I'd done one of the island runs as they sound fantastic. Similarly day trips and excursions run from the harbour which we didn't do, had we been staying for longer we'd most definitely have taken the one to the waterfalls as everyone we met who had been raved about it...

In the evenings Obonjan comes alive. It's still finding it's feet in terms of where to put things, mainly because it has so many options between the various amphitheatres, old buildings and stages - but you can't say there wasn't something to keep you busy every night. We watched some excellent comedy (look up Ivo Graham and Chris Martin as they're very much "on the circuit" in the UK, and ace) and bopped our brains out to people like Mr Scruff and the DJs behind the Chef soundtrack (if you don't know it, download it) by the pool.

Outfit credits at the base of this post

A good thing about the island is it's somehow managed to attract hipsters and the like, without the d*ck head connotations. At no point did I care about what I was wearing and quite frankly was annoyed I'd worked myself up so much about it. I'm not a natural boho dresser so stocked up on Pampelone dresses here, Topshop boho tops (this one, lush) and bought-yesterday-but-look-old denim shorts from vintage shops, and these... 

Purchasing linen towels has been one of the most sensible buys of 2016. They dry quicker and double up as throws, picnic surfaces, table clothes... Ours are from Frescobol Carioca, here. Ooh and somewhere here will be a snap of my Andy Pandy (my nickname due to love of stripes) trousers that I bought in Berlin and lived in. They're from Leon and Harper who I really recommend you take a look at... Find them here.

Outfit credits at the base of this post

Other excellent buys were my Topshop mini dress here, discovering and obsessing over Storets purchases like my off shoulder pom pom top here and black and white dress here - none of which I can't stop wearing (but will soon have to as Winter Is Coming) and surprise summer steals from the Bimba y Lola sale like my neon sandals here and Havaianas (new for this year) flipflop/espadrilles here.

It was also the perfect place to wear my ridiculous wonderful sunglasses. Man repeller they may be but I love, love, love my leopard print, Fendi ones, the Jimmy Choo's have been everywhere with me this summer, and finally the blue mirrored, Fendi are brilliant - if nothing else Gus' reaction when I put them on is epic...

To give you an idea of a day there, we'd wake up and make our way over to one of the two breakfast places; either a buffet style - not my favourite - place by the pool, or a slightly more avo-and-eggs spot by the port. Food was really good, when they had it. Delivery of supplies was clearly an issue and I'm sure will be fine next year... We'd then sit by the pool and have a swim for a few hours, most likely with an Aperol.

Afternoons were for napping, more sunbathing by the beach and once the temperature came down, a little yoga. We'd then pop over to one of the bars and have some drinks with new found friends, or swim whilst the sun goes down. After dinner (really good grub, same supply issue, but very good all the same) we'd head over to either the amphitheatre or the forest bar to set into some music, or go back to our tents and muck around playing Cards Against Humanity or watch back to back Narcos episodes... You really can choose how much you want to do, we had lazy day and crazy days...

Outfit credits at the base of this post

Weather wise, ours was mixed which makes us a good advert/benchmark. The first few days were incredibly windy - to the point one of the restaurants couldn't open. It just meant we got creative, as did Obonjan. They moved the locations of their events/acts and we just got on with it. It actually felt like a really cool team effort, and bar the odd grumble everyone was really happy. Once the winds went away, Obonjan came alive. We were surprised how much we felt it, because we were pretty happy already. 

Outfit credits at the base of this post

Obonjan is a brand new concept so I'd go with your brain clear, ready to experience something different. If you go with preconceptions or mind-made comparisons to other resorts you'll only be a bit confused when you arrive - there isn't really anywhere else like it. Here are a few things you might find useful to bear in mind:
  1. Obonjan isn't really a "wellness experience" or at least not as it currently stands. Think of it more as "yoga in the day, tequila in the night." There just aren't enough food options to validate it being in any way a fitness or dieting holiday, and I very much doubt you can avoid the music (and therefore drinking) events going on in the evening as they're so much fun
  2. If you aren't happy with something, ask someone. The Obonjan team were brilliant with the minor problems we had (bugs in rooms, no crockery, etc) and sorted it out for us in no time.
  3. Expect to spend money. Obonjan promotes itself as a cashless island but in reality what that means is you top up an arm band and then spend freely without thinking. We were surprised at some of the costs for drinks and food, which if we were in charge we'd probably take down a notch. That said if you go knowing that, no problem.
  4. Bother to book into a massage as it was possibly the best one I've ever, ever had. I wish I'd kept the lady's card because I'd like her in my life more - she brought my shoulders back to reality in minutes.
  5. Talk to people - they're interesting. Don't be all British and shy, the person next to you is going to be cool, interesting and an excellent dinner/dancing partner later on that evening...
  6. Take bug spray. Oh my god. So many people have complained about this but lets be real for a moment; the island was uninhabited a few months ago so wildlife has had free reign. Expect the odd spider, caterpillar and mozzy. Take spray, close your tent when you're not in it - sorted.
  7. Visit the gift shop, because it's really well done. Whoever curated the clothing and beauty ranges needs a high five fat ten. I loved seeing brands I knew (Pampelone and Skin and Tonic) mixed in with new things to discover.
  8. Try and make the girl in the Pizza stand smile. I swear to God she never has, and it's kind of funny. I deliberately turned up five minutes before closing time (3am) with a massive order just to see her death stare reaction. 

We stayed for four nights, which I reckon is perfect. As great time as we were having, by day 4 we were ready for some silence. The music does go on late and people can choose to go on much later if they wish to, so the ear plugs in the room were an unsung god send. I'd recommend then heading off to take a couple of days in Split, or even sailing down to Dubrovnik or doing a bit of an island hop. 

Outfit credits at the base of this post

Overall what an incredible experience. I'll be back next year for sure. We loved going as a couple as we're pretty sociable and as much as we love each other's company by about day 3 we kind of want some time to ourselves, so this was perfect. For that reason it would be great to go with a bunch of people too, or even stop off there whilst doing a sailing trip (you'd have to check you can moor up, but I can't see that being an issue). See you there.

My outfit list is below, and find out more about Obonjan for 2017 by clicking here

Outfit Credits

blue and white midi dress = as worn, Sea at Net A Porter
navy off shoulder top and denim shorts outfit = top, Topshop / jean shorts, Topshop
striped espadrilles = as worn, Havaianas / similar here for less
white off shoulder pom pom top and denim shorts outfit = off shoulder top, Storets / jean shorts, Topshop
floral mini dress = as worn, Topshop
black and white check print dress = as worn, Storets / similar here
green top and striped trousers = green top, Gap UK / striped trousers, Leon and Harper
white maxi dress and white/blue midi off shoulder dress, all Pampelone here

thank you to Bird PR and to Obonjan for a fantastic stay, Photos taken using an Olympus PEN EP-L7 from John Lewis here and the 45mm lens here.

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