The trip to Lombok was indeed an impromptu one. My family and I just bought the tickets a few days before our trip and alhamdulillah we managed to get an OK rate. It was about RM500 return per pax with Airasia.
I basically didn't look Lombok up before flying cause I was crazy busy so I panicked cause I just don't like travelling and not knowing what to expect. But I did ask some of my friends and tried looking at blogger reviews but they were of little help.
If you plan on going to Lombok (which I highly recommend), there are a few basic things you need to know:
The highly coveted:
Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air
Senggigi, Lombok Barat
Kuta, Lombok Selatan
All the Gilis I've mentioned are islands. And they're the most travel-worthy spot of all the places in Lombok IF and only if you are up for outdoor activities such as snorkelling, diving, sunbathing, sunset-watching etc. Expect lots of Caucasians here in bikinis and swimming trunks cause this is their heaven on earth. Food are everywhere here, and most of them are halal so no worries. You will see bars and nightlife shows, but you could always ignore them if that's not what you're looking for.
To get to Gili Trawangan (the biggest island), as soon as you touch down from the airport, you need to get a cab / transportation from the airport facility to head to Mataram. This takes 2 hours. There's no highway, everything is jalan kampung. As soon as you reach Mataram, that is where you'll make a stop to get on the speed boat to the island. Now this takes 15mins depending on the point you take off from. So i'd highly suggest that you use a backpack to store your stuff instead of the usual trolley luggage. And please wear plastic sandals etc cause your feet will get wet.
For moi, I stayed at Senggigi Beach loacted at Mataram. Also two hours from the airport. But I chose Senggigi instead of Gili cause I wanted to explore the mainland more. I only spent a day at Gili Trawangan where I headed to the jetty area in the morning, they brought us to the island, and later in the evening I headed back home to the mainland.
Senggigi is also a tourist attraction spot and there's multitudes of resorts just along the bay. But one thing I wasn't sure of is the nightlife at Senggigi. I did see rows and rows of restaurants, but my family and I didn't feel secure enough to go out on our at night seeing that we were all girls. At night we just ordered room service cause we were basically exhausted from the day's trip.
And the third tourist attraction is Kuta Beach. It's only an hour away from the airport and I've heard that the beaches there are beautiful too. Comparable to those at Gili. So i would highly suggest Kuta beach to you if you plan on coming to Lombok and do not want to visit Gili. From Kuta to Mataram will take you 2 hours so yeah. The scenery at Kuta is amazing and the sea are swim-able unlike Senggigi. So you decide k.
As for the resort I stayed at, it's called Holiday Resort Senggigi. I booked it at agoda and the rate was 50% off when I booked it. I'd give this resort 4/5 stars cause I specifically loved my stay there. The staff was attentive, the landscape of the resort was gorgeous, there's wifi, swimming pool (which you can swim eventhough you're covered), the laidbackness and the cleanliness. It's next to the beach and the breakfast was not bad too. The only thing that I didn't like was that the entire phone system was down when we were there, so calling the front desk / room service was quite hard.
Overall, I'd highly suggest you stay there if you're travelling with your family and if you have kids with you. If you're travelling with 2-4 friends, then I would say, stay at Gili Trawangan cause it's more adventurous. On the 4th day, we made a visit to the Pink Beach. It's located at Lombok Timur and It would take 2 hours from our hotel. But we were planning on staying there anyway so we didn't have to come back to Senggigi anymore.
Hope this post was helpful! :D