The Novotel in Kuta Lombok certainly had a nice beach, but not much else.
For our final day (and two nights) in Lombok we decided to stay in Kuta at the Novotel. As soon as we entered the grounds I had a feeling that the hotel was the wrong choice. The drive from the hotel's entrance to the hotel itself took about 10 minutes, which put the town out of easy reach. (The hotel offers no shuttles to or from town.) This meant we were to a large extent stuck at the hotel. Don't get me wrong, the beach and sea here are gorgeous, and Kuta isn't exactly a thriving place (though it has some of the best surfing in SE Asia, and is also famous for the Bau Nyale Festival, held every February and attracting more than 100,000 people who come to celebrate the appearance of masses of sea worms), but the Novotel left a lot to be desired.
Like I said, the beach and sea here are incredible.
And sunsets are pretty nice, too. Of course, both restaurants open after dark, and most guests who come beforehand are herded into the beach bar for $10 drinks.
No complaints about the pool!
Again, the beach here is lovely, the rooms are adequate, and the hotel offers various diversions to keep guests occupied if they so desire, but for the rest...I highly recommend staying in town, even if there's not much to Kuta Lombok.
Is this plate of lukewarm, greasy food really worth $16?
After our stay here we headed back to the airport and transferred to Bali, where we overnighted in a hotel near the airport. After that, it was back to Saigon, and after a few days of seeing friends there we made our way back to Mui Ne. Lombok ended up being a great place to visit, and while I wouldn't necessarily rush back to see it again, I would definitely be interested in traveling to Sumbawa – the island to the east of Lombok – which is less developed in terms of tourist infrastructure but looks incredible. Sometimes staying in nice hotels leaves me wanting to rough it for my next trip. This was one of those times.