Finding myself with a few days free in the summer, I was faced with the age-old question: should I go for an invigorating city break, squeeze in some relaxation at the beach, or party hard at a festival? But for once, I didn’t have to choose.
The Hoxton Hotel has put together the ultimate package holiday for millennials, allowing you to have three trips in one. The fashionable hotel chain is curating Hoxton Holidays: 24 hours of organised urban fun in London, with a night at the Hoxton, followed by three nights at Obonjan in Croatia, a super hip music and wellness event on the company’s private island. All you have to do is book your flights and everything else is looked after, from transfers to meals.
But will three holidays in four days be too much? Pulling my mini suitcase up to The Hoxton, Holborn, I intend to find out.
Checking into my small but chic room, complete with huge round mirror and black subway tiled bathroom, I find a surprise goodie box. It’s hard to make holiday scheduling glamorous, but popping a beautifully designed itinerary alongside kitsch gifts, including a cute disposable camera, rosé wine gummies and Willy Wonka style gold drink tokens is a winning way to go.
I follow the directions and head down to the lobby to be greeted by my Hoxton Hotel host (who is with us for the entire trip) and meet the other travellers – a maximum of 10 per trip – who have opted for the city break plus island experience. We’re whisked off in a black cab for lunch at KERB in Camden, a street food market in London’s Amy Winehouse tribute zone. This is followed by a Pimm’s picnic on Primrose Hill, with knock-out views of the capital to accompany the getting-to-know-you portion of the day, when my fellow holidaymakers and I have a chance to suss each other out. We’ll be having all our evening meals together, so it’s worth breaking the ice now.
After some downtime followed by drinks in the hotel bar, it’s over to east London and up to the 40th floor of Heron Tower for a five-course meal at 24-hour restaurant Duck and Waffle. A slightly tipsy game of late night mini golf at Swingers rounds off the night nicely – and, thanks to copious cocktails and a sprinkling of team sports, we’ve done some speedy group bonding and are now the best of friends.
Next morning, slightly jaded after the whistle stop London day, I bask in the joy of having someone else plan every detail of the trip. My taxi to the airport is booked and breakfast is at my door; all I need to do is pack my passport and palm tree-covered designer pyjamas (another gift). After a short flight to Split and a transfer to the port of Sibenik, it’s a picture perfect 25-minute speedboat ride to the private island, home for the next three nights.
Obonjan, a 10-week long music and wellness event, launched last year, drawing an eclectic mix of yoga bunnies, chilled out ravers, musos, artists, earth mothers (and fathers) and sun-seekers to the stunning Croatian island for a wide range of weird and wonderful activities.
Although I’m technically camping, the experience is about as far from a sleeping bag and sweaty synthetic tent as it’s possible to get. After checking in at the glass-walled cliff-top reception, my luggage is taken to “Camp Hox” where I step into an enormous bell tent, complete with Hoxton Hotel flourishes. The suite-like space has a double bed with immaculate linen, towels, a seating area with rattan ottomans, plugs, USB ports, a surprisingly effective air conditioning unit and yet another goodie box. This time it’s beach-themed, with Ace and Tate sunglasses, balm and branded canvas tote. There is free, flawless wi-fi everywhere on the island and the bathrooms are a stone’s throw away.
Hoxton Holidays has a host on hand but guests are free to organise their own activities or to simply chill out at the beach, harbour or pool. The daily schedule of free events includes yoga, meditation and talks, alongside activities such as wild swimming and slightly more leftfield options like sound baths and past life exploration sessions. I meet up with my Hoxton gang each evening for a team meal at one of the island’s restaurants, which range from tapas made using regional ingredients to Indian street food, pizza and gourmet burgers.
Organisers have kept capacity down to a maximum of 500 on the bijou 1.5km island, which means although there is always a lot going on, the vibe remains tranquil. Those looking for an intense party high may be slightly disappointed – but there is after-hours fun on offer with acts and DJs playing every night, albeit with a more mellow flavour than, say, Benicassim.
After a packed first day of outdoor yoga, sea swimming, rainbow-guided meditation and a mini forest party, I attempt to up my good juju by booking some one-on-one treatments at the Zen Den, the island spa. An outdoor massage and reiki session with the perfectly named Jade Jasmine (jadejasmin.com) takes place under the trees with a view of the ocean. Feeling relaxed but keen to continue with the theme of squeezing in as much as possible, I schedule a hypnotherapy session with Shauna Cummins (shaunacummins.com), who works with clients to help them manifest the life they desire. Lighting candles to symbolise my past, present and future under the pine trees at the end of the session, I feel myself approaching Paltrow-like levels of zen.
Although it’s been a packed trip, the chilled-out calm of the island, alongside the fact that everything has been taken care of, has left me refreshed rather than rushed. I even squeeze in a final morning yoga session before I leave for the airport. So it is possible to have it all – just as long as you’re not the one organising it.
The Hoxton Holidays (0207 661 3000; thehoxton.com/holiday) London-Obonjan package costs £599 per person. Includes one night at The Hoxton, Holborn, three nights in a Camp Hox tent at Obonjan, breakfast, dinner, all transfers, activities in London and gifts. Excludes flights. The next trip runs from 7 to 11 August.
The closest airport is Spilt, a 45-minute drive from the port at Sibenik. EasyJet (0330 365 5000; easyjet.com) offers flights from London Gatwick and London Luton to Spilt from £160 return.
Treatments at the Zen Den cost around 450 kuna (£55).
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