In room tunes curated by the Allah-Las, Japanese minimalism meets surfer chic design, a restaurant with an ex-Rockpool chef at the helm, and smack bang in the heart of Canggu – there is loads to love about The Slow: Island Stay.
I was lucky enough to interview co-owner (of Ksubi label fame) George Gorrow for my Bondi Beach Radio show while I was staying here. He’s a stylish, laid back guy originally from the Northern Beaches of Sydney, who now calls Bali home and lives there with his young family.
“It was actually going to be our dream island home,” explains Gorrow, who bought the place for such a purpose, but after returning back here after a lengthy stint in New York, realised that Canggu had become suddenly hugely popular. It instead became the ‘Island Stay’, and we’re not complaining. This place is ace.
The Slow is unique, it’s stylish as hell, comfortable, has well-curated snacks and toiletries, the rooms were large and the materials are mindful of the tropical location – polished concrete floors, stone walls.
“The design is a collaboration between me and a young architect called Rieky Sunur,” says Gorrow, “who is an ultra-minimalist kinda cat and it’s a collision of both of our styles. But I just wanted mainly to create an overall space that had such diversity so you could experience multiple experiences within the one space. So from the look of the rooms through to the halls to this room we’re sitting in now which is our gallery space, to the main dining to retail store to everything.”
One of the first things you notice when you enter The Slow (well, for us it was the huge storm cracking through Canggu, but then…) is the kick-arse photography that lines the walls of each space you move between. It’s rare that I’ve had as much envy of someone’s collection of art as this. There are nudes underwater, someone breaking through glass, a bedroom strung with off-kilter punk posters. And these are all pieces from George’s personal stash.
“I have a certain style when I curate something and each piece has to be bold, it has to say something…it has a bit of the punk attitude of life that I used to live – the search for endless fun – that’s what I look for in each piece,” he says.
This hotel is minimalist, yes, but I love the use of textures – the bedspreads, rugs, rattan chairs. It keeps it from being anything but flat. In room, I can’t resist trying on one of the tribal necklaces hanging in the washroom. It’s spikey and almost a boob weapon. It threatens to dig in. Looks cool as hell though.
Breakfast is the goods (I talk about it in detail in the post 9 Best Spots to Eat and Drink in Canggu, Bali), but I’m equally infatuated with the earthy, modern ceramics its served on.
The indoor/outdoor nature of the space means you hear the buzz of the street outside, motorbikes zipping by mainly. The Slow is right on one of the main streets of Canggu after all (Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong) which is a main artery to the beach. It’s common to see surfboards strapped to the sides of motorbikes and pushies, heading directly towards the swell.
One thing I’ve never really experienced anywhere else is the curated music across the whole hotel – including in the rooms. You can turn it up or turn it down, but you can’t switch it to another channel or style of music. And YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO! As this is the coolest hotel playlist of all time. HOW? It’s curated by none other than LA band Allah-Las.
“The music is from our friends the band Allah-Lahs,” says Gorrow. “They formed a radio station called Reverberation Radio – they do a weekly podcast, it’s incredible…they created the whole sound for the place.”
Don’t stay in this hotel without the Shazam app on your phone, and become a Reverberation regular listener, whether you stay here or not. The music curation is that good. And it really sets the vibe for the place. Laid back, coastal, a bit exotic.
Bali was a combination of steamy and stormy while we were in Canggu, which seemed like as good an excuse as any to hang in the room a lot. The air con works a treat and we could watch the storms through the wooden slats that ran along the windows. The location is so close to many of the best restaurants and shops in town, so we tended to duck in and duck out.
“The restaurant is one of the reasons this place existed,” said Gorrow, “because growing up some of my great friends were Shannon and Dan Moran and they were some of the best chefs around – at Rockpool, and then as heads of the Como group. And I always said if I was ever going to do something in hospitality it had to be this – there’s no point opening a restaurant if you can’t serve the best food.”
“The stars aligned and it just so happened that Shannon was moving to Bali and he wanted to start something new and he wanted to do something fresh. The restaurant was formed basically off the back of that.”
And I’m so glad that they did. The food is not only outrageously delicious, George tells me it’s also good for you.
“Our food is what we call ‘sane food’ which is the opposite to ‘insane food’, it’s high in nutrition, it’s healthy, it’s non-fad, it’s based on seasonal produce, it’s all local.”
The restaurant is also open to the public, so even if you aren’t lucky enough to bed down at The Slow, you should definitely dine here.
If you’ve heard of better digs than The Slow: Island Stay in Canggu, I’d like to hear about it, but I’ll still probably stay at The Slow 😉
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