An innovative new destination concept is taking shape on an island off the coast of Croatia. Untouched for ten years, but once known as 'the island of youth', Obonjan island is now being reimagined to introduce a summer-long fusion of art and culture, music and entertainment, food and wellbeing within a carefully curated creative programme that will grow and expand with each year of operation.

Eco-chic accommodation will sleep up to 800 guests at a time; world-class cuisine will be offered in beautiful surroundings across five different outlets; workshops by global thought leaders will take place in a custom-built Geodome; the vast stone Amphitheatre will play host to outstanding musicians and DJs; the Woodland Wellbeing Centre will offer an extensive programme for health and healing; and a concierge team will be on hand to arrange excursions around the island and beyond. Guests are invited to leave their day-to-day lives behind, indulge in island life and return invigorated, as co-creators of an inspired new lifestyle movement.

The 136-acre pine and olive tree-covered island, located 6km off the coastal town of Šibenik, has been secured with a 45-year lease in a joint venture between the British event producers, Sound Channel, and Croatian travel partners, Gratiosus and CMT, to form Otok Ltd. The team has enlisted members of the original creative team from the Eden Project in Cornwall and Croatian architect, Una Barac of Scott Brownrigg, to ensure the project is environmentally sensitive and low-impact in design whilst providing far-reaching benefits to the surrounding communities and ecology.

Co-founder of Sound Channel Dan Blackledge said "Obonjan is a beautiful island and the perfect canvas for us to put all our festival experience into creating something very different. We love our festivals but they come and go so quickly, this a chance for us to grow something with more longevity."

Set amongst the trees and looking over the Adriatic Sea, Obonjan will offer accommodation options to suit all pockets. From luxuriously appointed canvas tents with shared bathrooms, to safari-inspired wooden forest lodges with private bathrooms and air-conditioning, all bedrooms are decked out with beautiful furniture, quality linens, ambient lighting and custom-designed beds.

A multitude of island venues will host a broad range of cultural experiences that allows guests to explore their interests and curate their own rhythm of experiences, dipping in as much or as little as they please:

Music

Musicians from around the world will curate the soundtrack to the summer; live bands will host intimate gigs at the Rum Bar; and weekly headliners will host larger parties at the central Amphitheatre. DJs will set the scene for sundowners and piano, cabaret and classical music will add further variety. Acts confirmed so far include Roy Ayers, DJ Shadow, Poliça, Talaboman and Matthew Herbert, with many more to be announced. The 25-piece Obonjan Orchestra will be in residence throughout the summer playing everything from Bowie to Radiohead for big shows; breaking down to a string quartet to serenade new arrivals and a big brass band for karaoke.

Workshops

The Geodome will host a daily programme of inspirational workshops by leading experts and academics on subjects as varied as cosmology, living architecture, philosophy and marine conservation. Highlight workshops include: Learning From Nature, Emerging Futures, and Culture & Arts.

Art

Obonjan will exhibit work by artists from Croatia and beyond with permanent and temporary installations creating an evolving open gallery of the island with highlights including an ethereal underwater sculpture garden by British artist Celia Gregory and a extrasensory light and sound installation by Chris Levine.

Film

The island cinema will span the globe, with cult favourites featured alongside global arthouse films, documentaries and critically acclaimed classics.

Wellbeing

Health and happiness are at the heart of the Obonjan vision with a woodland wellbeing centre led by Lily Lawson O'Neil, founder of The Well Garden in London. Restorative outdoor yoga and fitness classes will be accompanied by an extensive treatment programme with expert practitioners offering massage therapies, meditation sessions and energy healing alongside sauna and steam rooms, outdoor hot tubs and a juice bar providing goodness on tap.

Food And Drink

Executive Chef Sam Letteri has created an extensive gastronomic offering across the island's five main restaurants following the principle of delivering locally sourced sustainable produce with menus that will change daily and feature an abundance of fresh seafood and organic vegetables, herbs and spices. Venues include a pool-side dining complex, delicatessen, burger bar, tequila bar, pizzeria, tapas bar, ice cream parlour and a shop selling fresh and nutritious meals to go.

Beyond The Island

Obonjan's dedicated concierge service offers a variety of trips and excursions around the island and beyond. Active guests can explore the azure waters by kayak or stand-up-paddleboard, whilst those looking for a more leisurely escape can organise private yacht hire to nearby islands and ancient ruins. The concierge can also arrange diving and fishing in Croatia's countless secluded bays, trips to the best local restaurants, or excursions to the spectacular islands of nearby Kornati National Park or Krka and Plitvice Lakes National Parks on the mainland.

Development Approach

The island is characterised by Aleppo pine, juniper and olive trees and is home to a diversity of marine and terrestrial life, from sea birds to butterflies and dragonflies. Managing the ecology and investing in the local economy is vital to sustaining these natural assets over time. Working with Bryan Spooner, a leading expert, the Obonjan team is installing sound ecological, social and business management practices to develop an efficient and low impact circular economy managed with the utmost of care and commitment. The project has been designed to maximize every opportunity the environment will provide, including composting all organic waste to cultivate nutrient-rich soil for future food production; rainwater storage and seawater desalination to minimise freshwater consumption; recycling of all greywater; and development of renewable energy opportunities. The programme is designed to maximise the benefit to the local economy and employment in ways that open up new business and skill opportunities.

Obonjan will welcome guests from 18 July through to 10 September with prices ranging from £58 to £93 per night.

Prices include accommodation, access to the entertainment programme on the island and return boat transfers from Šibenik to the island. Food, wellbeing, some watersports and excursions are priced separately.

Find out more at www.otokobonjan.com

Obonjan Island

Obonjan Island


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk