Driving far south on Lombok you will eventually reach the small village of Kuta, about 54 km south of Mataram. This is the only area on the south coast which has some tourism of any significance, but must not be compared to Kuta on Bali.
This place is much more quiet with only a fraction of the tourists and facilities, but there are some plans to continue to develop the southern coast with some large luxury hotels.
Kuta is great as a base for exploration of the southern parts of Lombok, here you find traditional Sasak villages (like Sade), remote and beautiful beaches, mountains and cliffs.
Beaches nearby are Putri Nyale on Kuta, Seger and Tanjung Aan. This place has no nightlife, unless you arrange some yourself. Kuta has a certain reputation among surfers as there are good surfing conditions on the reef and further west of Kuta.
Traditionally this is a fishing village, and the yearly Nyale fishing festival is arranged here in February or March. The festival will draw hundreds of local Sasak people to the beach and starts on the 19th day of the tenth month of the Sasak calendar. The wormlike Nyale fish will then surface and the festivities can start with a lot of singing and fun activities. The first fish will normally be cached during dusk, and eaten raw or grilled it is considered as a good aphrodisiac, a good catch is also a sign of a good rice harvest.
The facilities here are largely of simple standard, maybe too simple for some, but two-three hotels are quite acceptable. Not far from Kuta there is a new hotel built by Novotel in traditional Sasak style on the outside, and luxurious inside. The location is beautiful in a remote, peaceful bay. This is the first large, high standard hotel built in south Lombok, and is probably just a start of something which (unfortunately) in some years will become a major tourist spot on Lombok. A new international airport is also planned not far from here, but is on hold due to the financial crisis.
The roads here are of low standard, especially in the rainy season. To be flexible it is a good idea to rent a car to get around the area, but most of the larger hotels also offer their own transport to the most popular beaches.