Living the high life: three Harrogate penthouses that are hard to top
There have long been a number of sure-fire signifiers of wealth. The country house, a yacht and staff have all long been fixtures in the list, but in the early 20th century a new one was added: the penthouse apartment.
These first appeared – as we now know them at least – in the 1920s, as buildings in America grew ever taller and the top floor became highly sought after.
Not only does it have the best views, but it’s also not on the way to anywhere else, so there is no passing footfall, giving the penthouse a peaceful, secluded feel that none of the lower floors have.
But the deeper history of the penthouse goes back a lot further. The word itself is thought to owe its first four letters to the Old French apentis, meaning an “attached building” or an “appendage”, and it was originally a smaller ‘house’ built on the roof of a building.
Architectural parlance has retained this meaning, so the term “penthouse” refers to a structure whose walls are set back from the perimeter of the main building that it stands on.
For most of us, though, the word simply means the uppermost apartment in a block, and brings to mind images of New York or London. In fact, there’s one overlooking Regent’s Park that’s currently on the market for £25.5m.
Yet there are plenty of penthouses all over the country, our area included, and the following three properties are all fine examples. Buy one now and you’ll just need the country house and yacht to complete the set.
Just a short walk from the very centre of Harrogate, 11 Beech Grove Court is a spacious apartment with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, breakfast kitchen, dining room and large drawing room.
But what really singles this property out is its outdoor space; it has not one but two roof terraces – a large one leading from the main bedroom and a huge one (ideal from al fresco dining!) accessed by twin doors from the drawing room. Both terraces, the main bedroom and the drawing room also have wonderful views across West Park Stray towards the town centre.
The flat also has a tandem garage and lower-ground-floor storeroom, plus the use of the communal gardens and visitors’ parking.
Just down the hill, opposite the Crown Hotel, Apartment 25, Royal Baths II has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a huge, open-plan kitchen, dining, sitting and study area, which opens up along one side, onto a broad, south-facing roof terrace.
The outdoor space runs around three sides of the penthouse, giving fabulous views across the Montpellier Quarter and much of Low Harrogate to the Stray.
There’s also lift access to a secure underground car park where the flat has two allocated parking spaces.
On the other side of the town centre, Apartment 2, 36 York Place is a very large duplex property overlooking the Stray. On the upper floor it has three good-sized bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms, plus storage space and a boiler room, and on the lower (first) floor it has another en suite bedroom, utility room, study, drawing room and a 45-foot-long open-plan living and dining kitchen.
The apartment also has an area for outside entertaining, two private parking spaces, and two garages.