Right now I’m sitting in my PJs sipping on my H2o nursing some serious heat rash on both of my brown bear tanned arms.
Was the Island of Obonjan all a dream? Or did I really get whisked away to a secret retreat for 6 days by some of my nearest & dearest?
Turn off Love Island guys, I’m about to tell you about real island life. One that doesn’t involve ‘recoupling’ but ‘recuperating’, and the only ‘chirpse’ I’m referring to is from the birds in the trees.
If you follow me on Insta you’ve probably already had the full run down of the 6 day trip via Insta Stories. Soz about the smugness but OMFG I was on a private island in the middle of the Adriatic Sea with some of my fave gal pals. Surely I was allowed to be a teeny bit extra.
Last Thursday I was picked up at 2.30am in the morning & whizzed to the airport to go on an unknown holiday. The only clue I had was a very thorough ‘what-to-pack’ list & a few vaguely answered questions from everyone involved. Even when I was handed my boarding pass I was still none the wiser.
‘Omg yay we’re going to…Split…where the flip is Split?’
After a Google search over an airport brekky I discovered that Split Airport was in Croatia *ALL THE EXCITED EMOJIS*
What I didn’t know was there was still a plot twist to come. It was only when we arrived the other side and our pick-up guy for transfer said the golden words ‘speed boat transfer’ that I started realising the full ‘OMG’ of the trip.
Turns out we were off to the Island of Obonjan. Or the Island of Aubergine as we liked to call it. A private 136 acre island retreat, that offers ‘relaxation, rejuvenation & partying’. Um hello. Sounds a bit sexy, right?
Let me give you the lowdown on Obonjan (pronounced ‘oh-bon-yan’).
It’s a resort made up of a number of glamping tents & cabins, with a pool & cove area, a main restaurant & a few bars. The island is littered with natural surroundings and hammocks and rocky inlets. The main thing it had to offer was absolute beauty; crystal clear sea, forest areas, sunshine & fresh air.
We spent 6 days basking in the sunshine, eating watermelon and practising yoga every morning in the forest. Yes, in the forest, whilst listening to the wildlife around us and the sea splashing up against the rocks as we downward dogged & warrior posed.
We spent 6 days floating around on inflatable flamingos that we’d aptly named Fanny 1 & Fanny 2. Our ultimate Insta props & tools of relaxation. We sure got some looks – ‘Just going for a dip in Fanny’.
We spent 6 days sipping on ‘lady & man’ gins. Their phrase not ours – apparently ladies enjoy fruity gin and men enjoy more herby gin. And both were priced different, the ladies being cheaper – an ironic nod towards the price gap maybe?
We ate incredibly good (but limited) food. In the main restaurant we feasted on to-die-for ceaser salads, noodle bowls, linguine and too much bread. Omg the bloat is real guys.
Fresh pizza from a pizza bar was a fave for the group, opening late until 2am. And on the last night we were really lucky to be offered the first food from the Curry Bowl – authentic Sri Lankan food. Omg rice has never tasted so good.
We spent a day at their fresh sea water pool which is emptied every week to avoid using chemicals. We had a ‘pool party’ with a DJ set that lasted into the hazy evening, with the oldies outlasting us young folk. Standard.
We went from zero guests on the island to 300 guests on the island when one day at 12pm two ferries turned up to drop off a huge graduation party. The DJ sprung into action. Suddenly we were in Ibiza, surrounded by MBA Students grooving away in tiny bikinis with glasses of vino in hand, back flipping into the sea & taking 17829 Insta Snaps a minute. Super entertaining.
We hired out a giant SUP board for 6 people and drifted very far out to sea. We had to be rescued by jet ski. Standard.
We went to their obscure ‘forest party’ – a night where we dressed up as bejewelled & glittered unicorns before making our way into the forest for DJ sets & guess what, more gin.
We did one heck of a lot of jumping off the sea platform into the water.
We spent early evenings on our veranda getting ready together, drinking gin with very limited tonic whilst dancing around to 90s tunes.
We laughed and danced a lot. We also met an island dog called Jimmy whose owner has lived on the island for 24 years. True story.
And these are just the things that stuck out in memory for me (I can’t even tell you some of the funniest stories because my Bride Tribe would kill me). So I think that gives you a pretty good idea of how much of a banging time we had, right?
This is the closest I’ve been to the word ‘paradise’.
However, I cannot possibly write about something on the blog without being balanced & honest as I know some of you might be influenced by the words I write. So I must tell you about a few things that didn’t quite go to plan with this trip.
Here’s some of the things that were a little off about Obonjan, (but in all honesty actually made our trip even more memorable);
When we arrived, there was not one other guest on the island.
Yeah, I know, it sounds like the beginning of a ‘Goosebumps’ episode. We soon discovered that the reason why there was no one else on the island was because the island wasn’t open yet. Yes, you did read that correctly. We were on a 134 acre island with zero other guests.
This resulted in us getting VERY excited every day when we’d see a boat on the horizon – ‘NEW ISLANDERS. GUYS, PEOPLE ARE COMING. LETS WAVE THEM DOWN & GIVE THEM A ROYAL WELCOME’ (as we swayed with a gin in hand on the dock).
We probably stayed with a maximum of 50 guests during our stay. And one group of ladies were actually from down the road from where we live in Essex. WHAT THE FLIP ARE THE CHANCES?!
Now for some people who might be expecting ‘party party’, this could be a huge disappointment. But for us, it just meant peace and quiet. Pure relaxation. The pick of the best sunbeds. And because the guests were so limited, we got to know everyone really well (and everyone had a nickname, obvs: ‘Sushi Boy, Harry Potter, Hockley Gals, Aperol Boys, Sea Urchin Man, Eyal’.) If you know, you know. We met some cracking people.
Not only did we arrive to no guests but we also arrived to minimum facilities. There was only one restaurant half open to get food on the first day, and their one tiny island shop was shut. This sent us into a little bit of a frenzy ‘omg guys where we gonna get our snacks from? What about crispies and chocolate? SWEET JESUS WE DON’T HAVE ANY TONIC FOR OUR GIN’.
I am not ashamed to say that at one point we did contemplate nominating one person to go back to mainland to load up on supplies via boat. That first day we did feel a little like stranded shipwrecked folk on a paradise island (with great hair, outfits & dance moves, because we may not have had food or mixers but nothing was going to stop us looking & feeling fabulous).
Gradually, things began to open up throughout our stay. But there were still activities and facilitates that never even made an appearance whilst we were there despite being advertised on their website (like the Open Air Cinema & the Fresh Smoothie Bar, for example).
Despite the hiccups, I can’t stress enough how much of a once in a lifetime holiday we had. But I wouldn’t be being truthful & honest if I told you EVERYTHING was dandy. I don’t lie on the blog.
We laughed A LOT about the poor customer service (me: so when will the restaurants that are advertised on your website be open? Receptionist: *stares blankly at me* I don’t know. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Maybe not. I’m not sure.’) and there was a lot of chuckling about the fact that on the first day the menu was comprised of a baked sweet potato, some chicken and some baked carrots. Fo’ real, that’s the wedding diet sorted right there.
These faux pas from the team at Obonjan only highlighted the things that really shone out for us.
Like the amazing yoga sessions led by really knowledgeable teachers. The wellness manager that invited us in for fruit after we’d missed breakfast and had no other way to get food on the island until lunch (lolololol). The owner of The Curry Bowl who was determined to feed us on their opening day despite not really being ready. The food was A-MAZING by the way, top marks to this guy.
I want to do two round ups;
The first roundup is on Obonjan – an insanely beautiful place to go with a fantastic concept. But at times, some very poor execution from the management team running it. (My Mum & I felt like we could probs do a fab job of it if someone wanted to give us the reigns, hint hint). If you’re thinking of going, make sure you’re laid back about what to expect. They promise an awful lot on their website, but we got the feeling that depending on the time of year that you go, it offers very varying experiences.
The second roundup is of the trip itself and my incredible family & friends that planned the holiday. I said ‘thank you’ countless times over clinked G&Ts but it really didn’t seem like enough at all. Thank you, thank you, thank you one million times over for pulling off one spectacular celebration. Fellow islanders, you really are fantastic and I love you all.
Roll on the wedding, eh.