Fancy escaping the heat of Dubai’s summer over the Eid weekend, only to relax at one of the world’s most beautiful islands? Look no further than Bali, the destination loved by art connoisseurs, foodies, yogis, surfers, and beach bums alike. In fact, look no further than The Slow, a designer boutique hotel in the buzzing surfing village of Canguu for the perfect blend of tropical bliss and urban cool.
Founded by George Gorrow (an award-winning designer and creative director) and his wife Cisco Gorrow (a model, an avid surfer, a raw food chef, and a yoga teacher), the hotel is more of a concept space above all else. The level of ‘coolness’ there is, well, above average – and yet there is absolutely no pretentiousness or pressure to be anything but yourself.
“Get here fast, take it slow” – this slogan is precisely the reason I love this little gem so much. I’ve stayed over at The Slow three times in the past two years. And here are the five reasons you should too.
Set on one of the busiest streets in Canguu, the hotel is in the midst of all the trendy restaurants, boutiques, and yoga studios. And it’s just a short walk away from the famous Batu Bolong beach with its surfing waves, bars, and upscale beach clubs. Although Canguu is very much up and coming, it remains cool and fresh, without traffic and crowds like its neighboring Seminyak. Holidaying in Canguu feels effortless, almost like coming home.
Set against the greenery of the Balinese jungle, The Slow’s aesthetic feel is defined as “tropical brutalism” by its founders. The strong use of industrial materials is softened by native wood, perforated partitions, and floor-to-ceiling windows, all making the hotel stand out yet blend in. The architecture is modern, cool, and current – very much like the vibe inside the hotel.
Housing 12 suites, a restaurant, a gallery, and a boutique housing the founder’s new fashion label, the modern tropical luxury is echoed throughout the property with greens plants hanging from the ceilings, softwood, cement, and large glass windows. Everything feels airy and fresh, designed for the guests to best enjoy their downtime.
With a personal collection of the owners on display, The Slow features some of the coolest contemporary art you might ever see. The photography-heavy collection features more than 90 pieces of new and existing works by up-and-coming as well as established artists from around the globe. Art is displayed throughout the entire property and clustered heavily in the gallery space of Room 13, which has been curated by acclaimed Sydney-based art gallery China Heights since January 2018.
The art collections change seasonally, giving the property a fresh look, yet the favorites – like the pieces above the bar that I love staring at while sipping coffee early in the morning before the island wakes up – remain.
The two kinds of suites – the Grand Suites on the upper floor overlooking the rice paddies of Bali, and the Pool Suites on the lower floor featuring the long pool framed with a tropical garden – aim to redefine the parameters of island luxe. With locally made artisan furniture, art on the walls, green plants, soft adjustable lighting, and walk-in rainfall showers, you will be tempted to spend a lot more time in your room than you had initially intended.
All suites lack TVs to emphasize human interaction, while a curated playlist of cool surfer tunes plays around the hotel to set the mood. Try the house-made snacks with a tropical concoction before heading down for dinner or order in and snack by the jungle pool under the stars.
The Slow’s restaurant Eat & Drink by Shannon Moran focuses on quality, ingredient-focused cooking with an island twist. The dishes are fresh yet somewhat familiar, all bursting with flavor and meant to be shared. Start with ‘KFC’ (Korean Fried Cauliflower) and ‘Burrata and Market Fish’ – and then try as many things on the menu as you can because they are all great.
Have dinner at the counter and watch the bartenders work their magic while telling stories about working in the best bars of NYC and London before coming back to their beloved island. Botanical chandeliers, beautifully plated dishes, and even more art – no wonder the space is full nightly with a mix of hotel guests, locals, and walk-ins.
For more information or to book a stay at The Slow, click here.