What's New

h m left to shop

28th July 2016

Five Minutes With: James Thomlinson, general manager at AC Hotels

It’s the brand new place to rest your head at the Mailbox, with 90 rooms combining contemporary style, timeless elegance and relaxation.

For our latest ‘Five Minutes With’ series, we caught up with James Thomlinson, the general manager at AC Hotels Birmingham to talk famous faces, Double Espresso Macchiato and how Birmingham is transforming…

Hi James! First things first, tell us a bit about yourself…

After being raised in York and after completing a degree in Geology (not the typical background you would expect!) I decided upon a career in the hospitality industry. I spent nearly 20 years in London in several different hotels, before recently joining Valor Hospitality and moving to Birmingham at the end of last year. Away from work, I’m also a keen cricket fan and love reading espionage novels.

Can you tell us a bit more about the AC Hotels concept?

AC Hotels by Marriott is a new brand to the UK, so is something many of our guests haven’t experienced before. It’s designed for the creative, well-travelled, entrepreneurial spirits who are constantly on-the-go, but appreciate the oasis of a well-designed hotel that allows them to focus and connect with others.

The hotel celebrates the beauty of classic modern designs with its European soul and Spanish roots, born from the signature vision of renowned hotelier Antonio Catalan.

AC Hotel Birmingham

Working in hospitality, you must have come across some famous faces. Have you met any celebs through your work?

Working in hospitality over the years, I’ve had the opportunity and the pleasure of meeting all kinds of famous people. There have been Prime Ministers and sports stars, as well as actors and actresses, but I’m afraid I won’t be dropping any names – discretion is a really important part of the hospitality sector!

What’s the best thing about your job?

Working in hospitality really is all about the people, and that’s what gives me the greatest job satisfaction. Whether it’s a guest commenting after a great stay, or bringing a new team member into the family and seeing them develop and grow their skills over time, you couldn’t do this job without the people.

Describe Birmingham in five words…

Vibrant, multi-cultural, welcoming, proud and transforming.

What’s your favourite dish/cocktail off the hotel’s menu?

Favourite dish would be the Superfood Salad. If I’m in the mood for a cocktail, it would definitely have to be a Langley’s G&B, the ultimate Gin & Tonic.

You have a Starbucks connected to your hotel reception. What’s your regular coffee order to kick start your day?

Nothing gets my day off to a better start than a Starbucks Double Espresso Macchiato – it’s wonderfully intense and the perfect shot at the start of the day!

What’s your favourite thing about the Mailbox?

My first day in Birmingham was in September 2015, I remember it really vividly. It was a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon and I was immediately impressed with the atmosphere and setting beside the canal. I knew straight away that I would really enjoy working in the Mailbox and that the AC brand would be a perfect fit. 10 months later, and that’s still the case!

For more information about AC Hotels, visit or check out our Pick of the Week!