The ultimate in relaxation and indulgence, Slow Villas made their mark on the Gilis as soon as they opened 3 years ago. Nestled in the most tranquil corner of Gili Air, the resort is also home to Slow Spa – a space of calm for those who worship at the church of gratitude and self-love.
The spa was added to the collection of Villas just 2 years ago, but has already proven to be incredibly popular. ‘It quickly evolved into a retreat space; it just felt like somewhere people could slow down and rethink their speed of life’, says Julie, owner and manager of the resort. With a whole host of luxuries to enjoy, Slow Spa radiates feelings of peace and the desire to just enjoy the present moment.
The spa initially started offering massages and has now branched out to a menu packed with indulgent treatments. From sugar scrubs to oriental waxing (more relaxing than it sounds!) and from facials to cream baths, everything is kept as authentic and natural as possible. ‘All the treatments are carried with organic ingredients that come from the garden’, she gestures towards the luscious surroundings, ‘The coconut oil is made on the island and we mix it with fresh aloe vera from the huge plantation here’.
For those who are craving a true paradise experience, there are Pilates classes readily available, along with regular yoga retreats. Slow Spa runs around 6 retreats a year, with durations lasting between 5 days and 3 weeks for those who really need to turn up and tune out.
Feeling good isn’t just about treatments and getting limber, which is why Julie has always been so keen to get involved in community work across the Gilis. Once a month, she hosts charity events for the business owners on the island, giving everyone the chance to exchange ideas and have fun at the same time. The theme behind these events? Salsa, of course! Money raised from these monthly sessions goes to a local children’s charity.
Another initiative that Julie was eager to set up was Slow’s artist exchange, where creative guests stay at the resort for free and offer up something wonderful in return. ‘I’m trying to do something good for artists – I call it an ‘exchange of magic’. Slow is magical, so they share it with the world (often through social media) and then they share whatever magic they want to with me’, she explains, ‘it turns out really naturally great’. These artists get involved with local community workshops, often teaching Poi or hula hooping to local children and guests. This is their form of magic and offers great entertainment to tourists on the island as well as in local schools.
Despite the clear level of organisation behind the running of Slow Spa, Julie is incredibly laid back. Unsurprising, really, given the chilled lifestyle she promotes. We ask what the upcoming schedule is for these classes and events. In true keeping with the Slow approach to life, she smiles, “Oh, it just depends who flows in”.