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.
George and Cisco describe 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.
You see, The Slow isn’t just another hotel, resort or retreat in Canggu. It’s a multi-functional and totally customised space for the engaged community, with designer nooks and crannies to hang out in, mingle amongst, and enjoy the island vibes in – and that’s just what you see on the surface.
So in between our carafe of Californian red and oh-so creamy burrata, we sat down with George and Cisco to dig a little deeper into their tropical dream, and to find out more about our fave features at The Slow. So here’s 11 reasons why we love to stay, eat and play at The Slow, with some insider insight from George and Cisco themselves.
Reason 1: The rockstar love story
This superstar couple are more than just international and glamorous faces who have set up shop in Canggu. Both George and Cisco are big names in the fashion and design world, and their love story alone is radder than a Rolling Stones underground tour.
George: “I met Cisco when I cast her on a shoot, and we immediately started dating. We then got whisked around the world for different jobs – whether it was directing, modelling or designing – and somehow we both ended up on two separate projects in Bali at the same time. Next thing we know, we’re driving down the road looking for wedding rings. We then found land on Batu Bolong [where The Slow now sits], and Cisco’s Dad – an eccentric architect – was ready to build his baby girl her dream home on the island. But after just a few years, Canggu had gone bananas, so it wasn’t a private home we built, instead it was The Slow.
Reason 2: That epic locale in the hustle and bustle of Batu Bolong’s hipster heart
Though this rockstar couple have spent their days in the artsy and eclectic hoods of Venice Beach and Bondi, Batu Bolong was the place of choice for their tropical baby. There are trendy bars and breezy cafes to the left, and yoga studios and world-famous waves just footsteps to the right. It doesn’t get much better than that, right?!
George: “Bali was always a destination we were destined to end up in, and Canggu is simply amazing. It’s home to a local community that has this unique and incredibly encouraging energy. We’ve all come here to live, we’ve all decided that the rat race isn’t for us, and we’re all searching for something else in life – it really fits in with what we’re trying to do here and it’s something we thrive off of.
Reason 3: The brutalist spaces!
Just one barefooted step inside The Slow and you’re met with tropical plants draping from above and one-of-a-kind art pieces hanging all around. Like a bohemian goddess’ luxe apartment, the designer rooms come with homely sofas dressed in gorgeous textiles, set against raw concrete flooring and rustic rugs. It’s tropical yet trendy, crude yet sophisticated. A juxtaposing yet totally harmonious combination of wood, concrete, greenery and textiles – pure heaven!
Cisco: When George was designing The Slow, we really wanted a place to hang out that just felt like home, so the spaces are a mix of everything that we love: music, art, fashion and design. It’s a collaboration with many of our friends to create the ultimate island home.
George: I was initially inspired by brutalist architecture from the 1950s, but instead of huge concrete blocks, we’ve mixed in plenty of wood and brought Bali’s tropical vibe inside. It’s a sub world within paradise, with different spaces to explore within the greater space. I worked with a local minimalist architect and his style essentially collided with mine to create something we would never have produced if we’d worked alone. It’s brutalist, warm, tropical minimalism!
Reason 4: The one-of-a-kind art pieces and classic collectables
Say goodbye to mass-produced tidbits and cliche hotel paintings. At The Slow, every art piece and every collectable is from George and Cisco’s own collection, acquired through personal relationships with different artists from around the world. Some pieces have been pulled from their own snazzy home in New York, others have been hand-carried or shipped to their new island setting, whilst others have been created exclusively for The Slow right here on Bali. Each room is like a modern art gallery, and everything you touch has a story.
George: “All of the art pieces in The Slow are things we’ve been collecting for quite a while and they all represent different stages in our lives. It’s like a big photo album for us featuring different people, moments and forks in the road. Each piece has a pretty important space in our hearts and homes – especially the Rostarr and the camo couch – but this is our new home so we don’t mind sharing our treasures with our guests and friends.
A lot of the artists actually came to The Slow two weeks before opening to celebrate their creations’ new locales – it was like a frat party with all the doors open, everyone running between the rooms and moving the art around to see what looked best. By the end of it, the walls looked like we’d taken a machine gun to them with all the holes!”
Reason 5: Surf wax, condoms and coffee scrub
You won’t find any pointless plastic combs or shower caps in The Slow. They’ve shunned typical hotel amenities to only provide the things you’ll actually need. Surf, wax, condoms, homemade coffee scrub – it’s all there and it’s all been handmade, handpicked or house branded.
George: After working in the fashion industry for almost 20 years, we’ve travelled extensively and stayed in so many hotels. We know what we use, we know what we don’t use, and we know what’s only put in hotel rooms just because it’s an accepted standard from way back in the day. So we only provide the things that our generation actually wants, and we’ve packaged them up to give The Slow its own identity.
Cisco: We sat back and asked ourselves, what do we want to see in a room? No one ever carries surf wax with them on holiday so it just makes sense since we’re right next to the beach to provide some. Or after a long tanning session, everyone needs a good scrub – so that made sense to stock a coffee scrub, too! And anyway, who even uses shower caps these days?!
Reason 6: The burrata & Californian grape combo
There’s nothing worse that sitting down to a great meal only to see just one bad bottle of local wine available [Bali peeps, you know who we’re looking at!] So you can imagine how happy these Honeys were when The Slow’s creamy burrata could be paired with a slightly chilled Californian red – yum!
George: The burrata is actually sourced from a cheesemaker in Java, and as for the wine, we did numerous tastings before we finally decided to stock what we love to drink ourselves. Other than the international wines, beef and lamb, everything else is locally sourced and organically grown. The entire menu is based on seasonal produce and we have a co-owned farm for our fruits and veggies. None of our dishes are fatty or on-trend – they’re simply what we want to eat right now, what we can source right here, and they’re high in nutrition and very well balanced.
Cisco: I hate having to choose just one large dish on a menu – I always get food envy because George seems to always order the right thing! So the menu features smaller dishes that you can pick and choose from. There’s healthy but hearty sandwiches for the surfers, and lighter, superfood dishes for the yogis to enjoy after a session at The Practice.
Reason 7: Canggu’s “cool kid” crowds
Like a Saturday afternoon on LA’s most fashionable boulevard, The Slow seems to always attract Canggu’s cool and beautiful crowds. But what’s the secret to capturing the creme de la creme?
George: Without sounding arrogant, the main thing we supply is a good product in a nice environment and a different experience to everything else around. On top of that it’s not pretentiously priced nor a pretentious vibe. Everyone usually comes through to try it, but it’s whether they return that’s the proof in the pudding. We’re really lucky to have a strong local following and lots of regulars, and that can only be put down do a product that works.
Reason 8: NON- TYPE man threads
The Slow wouldn’t be a true-to-George creation without some designer threads, so NON-TYPE is the adjoining retail space created by the man himself and his ex-partner Gareth Moody. It’s the duo’s first release as a creative partnership since their world renowned and iconic label, Ksubi, and it takes Canggu’s fashion-cred to the next level.
George: NON-TYPE is a harmonious collision of everything myself and Gareth have created throughout our careers, from music, art, interiors and architecture, to design and of course fashion. It’s also based on the fact that he and I both haven’t changed our styles in about 15 years, so it’s an understanding of men and those who aren’t bogged down by consumer society – classic men’s fashion that you can come back to year after year for your favourite piece. And just like The Slow’s ethos, it’s minimalist in its design but earthy and warm in its textures and fabrications.
Reason 9: The smell-good factor
Honeys, you’ll want to get your hands on The Slow’s sweet nectar! The bath products here are some of the most delicious we’ve ever smelt [think mango cheesecake and exotic coconuts] and, as you can probably guess, they’re all home made, too!
Cisco: I created the scent for the bath products myself and named it Ocean. I wanted something that’s like salt on your skin but coconutty, not too feminine, still fresh and not overly rich or sweet. It’s like a tropical holiday in a bottle! Soon I want to extend the scent to oil burners so our guests can take The Slow scent home with them, bring back their Bali memories and transport them to paradise with one sniff!
Reason 10: Cisco’s ceramics
Because homemade cocktails, house-branded products and hand-collected art pieces just aren’t enough for this unstoppable creative duo, The Slow features a passion project of Cisco’s – her own ceramics line.
Cisco: It made sense to us to make as much of the products ourselves in Bali because it’s totally sustainable and allows us to be zero plastic. And ceramics have always been a passion of mine, so I went out and sourced different pieces and explored different avenues until I met this amazing little artist in the suburbs of Ubud. He only makes very small batches so it’s very artisanal, and as I watched George design and create The Slow, I could colour match everything to the woods, the concrete and the earthiness. Ceramics can be quite rustic, so I use lots of modern shades, pigments and glazes. Eventually they’ll be up for sale.
George:It wouldn’t be possible anywhere else in the world to do what we’ve done at The Slow here in Canggu. Thanks to the island’s artists, everything is custom designed and artisan made. Nothing is bought off a shelf and everything has been made with passionate hands.
Reason 11: To die for rooftop views
There’s a Canggu sunset, and then there’s a rooftop Canggu sunset at The Slow, with a housemade Batur Negroni in hand and the buzzing Batu Bolong strip below. Right now, the rooftop is a tranquil spot to enjoy the evening sky’s colours, but it’ll soon be blessed with it’s own bar to up the sunset ante.
Cisco: The rooftop is one of my favourite spaces in The Slow – you really can’t beat a sunset up there surrounded by friends, with the beach in one direction and the mountains in the other – it’s perfect!
George: We’ll soon be introducing a new bar, grill and food concept to the rooftop. In fact, there’s plenty more things to come in the near future, we just want to let everything evolve naturally first.
You heard the man! Keep your eyes on The Slow’s speedy movements because there’ll be more exciting things to look forward to very, very soon – and we can’t wait!
www.theslow.id Jalan Batu Bolong 97, Canggu, Bali. IG: @the.slow