Boldly sitting on the Batu Bolong strip just a few barefooted steps away from the sand, The Slow is Canggu's artsy new island stay with gourmet bites, artisanal interiors and a superstar couple at the wheel.
Imagine this: a director-cum-designer meets a gorgeous model on set in Australia. They fall in love and travel around the world together, before tying the knot in Bali and building their ultimate dream project together in paradise. It sounds like a [rockstar] fairytale, right?.
Well this is the story of The Slow - Canggu's tropical island stay designed and conceptualised by George Garrow - one of the creative minds behind Insight [everyone's fave surf brand] and the magical interiors of BASK Gili Meno resort. With the help of his gorgeous wife, Cisco, they have created an immersive and multifaceted island destination with boutique accommodation, all-day dining, cocktails, art and local culture, and interactive retail right on the coast of Bali's coolest neighbourhood. And it's as awesome as you'd expect from two international superstars.
Words by By Louise Newsham
The Slow as a place to rest your bones, stir your senses, and expand your mind.
But somehow, it's so much more than that. It's a place to while away the warm island hours beneath green vines and slick wooded panels, with a house-branded, handcrafted cocktail in one hand and a New York artists' book in the other. It's a place where everyone you know in the neighbourhood casually drifts in and out of the cosy living areas; post surf, pre yoga or in between a boutique shopping spree to recharge and drool over the insanely beautiful homewares and ceramics that look effortlessly on-vogue in the breezy surrounds.
The designers and founders of Ksubi have opened The Slow hotel in Bali. It's Gareth Moody and George Gorrow's first creative partnership in a decade. Gorrow's wife Cisco (model and health coach) is also behind the project; it's an open book of the trio's passions.
With the rice paddies and leafy hills of Ubud rising behind, the Brutalist-inspired building is otherworldly. One might wonder what such an experimental piece of architecture is doing in Canggu. The austere facade is dressed in native Bangkirai hardwood, strong enough to withstand the tropics. Dirt tracks, banana groves and tin-roofed houses with laundry hanging on the patios surround the hotel. It's only 200 metres from surf beach Batu Bolong.
Tropical Brutalism - that's how Gorrow describes the look. He collaborated with ultra-minimalist architect Rieky J.Sanur (GFAB Architects), who also worked on the Four Seasons Sayan. A local feel was essential - native timber, handmade materials and an open design combine with more than 80 different species of local plants. The walls are even made of local sands, hemmed by vertical, corrugated screens. "While we're presenting something fresh, we're very mindful to remain relevant to the island and its culture," says Gorrow.
by AMANDA VALMORBIDA via Broadsheet
At its core is The Slow's restaurant, Eat & Drink. Shannon Moran is the head chef - he's worked at Damien Hirst's Pharmacy in London, as well as Nobu, and Nahm Bangkok (with David Thompson). "I am lucky enough to have delved into Indonesian, Bhutanese, Indian (southern and northern) and Maldivian flavours," Moran says.
The seasonal menu turns its back on trends. "Food was one of the highest priorities for us to get right," says Gorrow. "It had to match the concept." There are pastries and burrata tartines with guava jam in the morning and drunkard noodles with tiger shrimps alongside charred market fish for lunch and dinner. Kebunya - a farm co-owned by Gorrow, which uses the principles of permaculture - provides some of the produce used.
A standard suite is between $200 and $300 a night. There are no desks or televisions, a strategic move to help people slip into island life. "It's somewhere you can go, disconnect and reconnect. 'Get here fast and take it slow' sums it up," says Gorrow.
The crowning feature of the pool suite (about $197 per night) is the private garden and plunge pool, flanked by palm trees and a walk-in shower. Inside, sustainable wooden furniture and cane chairs are scattered throughout, with hand-woven baskets and contemporary art. Room 13 features Fountain Bite, an art installation by Fraser Anderson of pigmented polyurethane resin on canvas.
One single soundtrack by Reverberation Radio runs throughout the entire venue (rooms included), encouraging guests to discover new artists. Formed by Los Angeles band Allah-las and friends, weekly music podcasts play lost gems as well as new music.
The hotel's gallery showcases George and Cisco's private art collection. There are more than 90 pieces, each representing poignant moments in their lives. "Walking through the space feels like walking through a photo album for us," says Gorrow. One sculpture dominates the room, Garuda of Death Metal by Madsaki. Chris Searl's raw photographs tower alongside it.
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