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Great Escapes: Restaurateur Simon Kim’s Picks for Transformative Food and Drink

Restaurateur Simon Kim is about to open a Miami location of his Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse, Cote.


Charles Roussel

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Half a year into the biggest disruption the modern restaurant industry has ever seen, and the damage has been devastating. Compounding matters is that coordinated, large-scale relief efforts either never got off the ground, or fell short of expectations. The result is that restaurateurs have become more inventive and flexible. That includes
Simon Kim
and his Gracious Hospitality Management, including Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse Cote in New York.

“Restaurateurs need to change their mind set; we can’t keep operating the way we have been if we want to survive,” says Kim, 38. “Right now, patience and endurance are the key to getting through this thing.” 

Among Kim’s pivots during the pandemic was trying, and then ditching, major third-party delivery services, such as Caviar and Uber Eats. “Their fees can be exorbitantly

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  • October 2, 2020
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‘My hotel stay was cancelled because of coronavirus, but Secret Escapes insists I’m not due a refund’

A trip to Oxford was scuppered by the pandemic - getty
A trip to Oxford was scuppered by the pandemic – getty

Gill Charlton assists a reader whose trip to Oxford was cancelled

David Kidd writes:                        

In February we booked a short break at a hotel in Oxford through Secret Escapes to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We paid £636 for a two-night stay checking in on April 8. Secret Escapes’ booking terms said that the reservation was non-­refundable if we cancelled.

In the event we didn’t cancel ourselves, but the hotel was closed due to the coronavirus lockdown so we couldn’t stay. The Oxford Thames ­Hotel’s reservations manager said he could not process a refund and advised us to contact Secret Escapes to seek reimbursement. 

But Secret Escapes continues to insist that it does not have to repay us because of the “no refunds” clause in its terms and that the reason for the cancellation is immaterial. Surely this can’t be

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