I've stayed at the JW Marriott Ihilani and dinned there in the past and have given them good reviews, but this time, I was sorely disappointed by my experience. Though I'm not a guest of the hotel, my fiancee and I did decide to pay Naupaka Terrace a visit for dinner when staying at Disney's Aulani next door. Naupaka Terrace is an open air, casual restaurant that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, with dinner being buffet or ala carte. I made a reservation via OpenTable for dinner, and when we checked in, we were escorted to our table without being asked whether we prefer the buffet or the ala carte menu as was the case last time we dined here. I didn't think anything of this, and followed the host to our table. After we were seated, our waiter greeted us and asked us if we were joining them for the buffet. I said no, and asked for the ala carte menu. Our server's reaction was one of shock, and he informed us that the ala carte menu is unavailable on Saturday nights.
Now, the website doesn't state this, nor did OpenTable. What's worst was the hosts hadn't informed us of this change in policy, even though OpenTable reservations notify them that we are return guests, and the fact that our server tried to get us to go somewhere else. That all would have been forgivable, though it only got worst. The food quality was substandard for a AAA 4 Diamond resort and the JW brand, but worst yet, the waitstaff was completely disorganized. So many glasses and plates were broken throughout the night, and used dishes weren't cleared from tables before we returned from another round around the buffet. This is in stark contrast to many lower-end buffets. Add to this the fact that our server was quite inattentive... Didn't even offer a drink menu/wine list. Needless to say we had a pretty poor dining experience. In the end we ate our fill and ended up sitting around for 40 minutes waiting for our bill. Mind you, this was after we had let the serve know we were through.
The only saving grace was that the server freaked out when he found out I'm an MR Platinum, though even then he assumed because I had paid with my MR Premier Visa. He asked me if I was indeed a Platinum after he brought the bill to sign and notified me he gave us the Platinum discount. Note to our server... always give every guest good service, you never know who you are going to serve.
Will I be back? I'm not sure. I love Naupaka Terrace's Piadina and roasted lamb, but this experience has to have been one of the worst buffet experiences I've ever had. I'm now actually concerned about the service we'll receive at our wedding at Ihilani...