Living the high life at Biba House

Living the high life at Biba House

3:20pm Thursday 9th April 2015
Do you fancy living the dream in a glamorous city-centre apartment? Biba House may be the ultimate lifestyle choice, says Brian Page.

IMAGINE this. You’ve had a hard day at work and you’ve earned yourself an evening’s entertainment. You arrive home, shower in a luxurious bathroom before dressing in your spacious bedroom, choosing your clothes from the floor-to-ceiling wardrobe and then admiring the effect in the full length mirror.

Your guests arrive and you prepare cool drinks in your beautifully fitted kitchen before serving then in the open plan living room with views out across the rooftops of York.

And then, as you are literally right in the heart of the city, you and your guests stroll out to enjoy a night at the theatre, or a meal in one of the nearby restaurants or simply a drink or two in one of the many bistro bars in the neighbourhood.

It might all sound a little F Scott Fitzgerald but then the people behind this dream are very much into selling a lifestyle as much as a home.

“The developers of Biba House are capturing the elegance of a bygone era and harnessing it to the most up to date comforts for today’s apartment lifestyle. At Biba we will work to ensure your home brings you luxury and a level of service we believe to be a rarity.”

So reads part of the delightfully worded introduction to the Biba House marketing pack (and that level of service includes seven-day-a-week concierge service – so there’s posh for you).

And the agents tasked jointly with selling the 24 apartments in the swish new development are equally enthusiastic.

“The apartments are absolutely superb with a fabulous interior spec,” says Charlie Lancaster, of Lancaster Samms.

While Karen Harrison, of Ashtons, adds: “I really love the upmarket boutique hotel feel they have created.”

Certainly these are sumptuous homes – each with a slightly different layout and design feel.

Kitchens come with wall and base units alongside silestone worktops and with a range of integrated appliances including induction hob and conventional and microwave ovens, fridge-freezer (and a separate wine fridge), dishwasher, and instant hot water taps.

The Abacus-designed bathrooms are stylish, contemporary and luxurious – and each has a built-in TV.

There are fitted ‘Venice’ wardrobes to the bedrooms with sliding mirror doors and good-sized living rooms.

The lead-up was certainly tempting – but would a visit and tour around the show apartment live up to expectations?

The first thing to note is while internally Biba House is every bit as glamorous as you might expect with a name taken from the Swinging Sixties fashion store it is not quite – well nowhere near – as attractive to look at from the outside.

Biba is the new incarnation of the unlovely – and not much loved – metal and glass façade of the old Hilary House tax office in St Saviour’s Place, which had stood neglected for years.

Once inside, however and you immediately realise what Karen means by the boutique hotel comparison.

Everything here is styled and stylish, in muted and soothing tones (although a hint of richness in colour and tone has been added by the interior designers).

And it also soon apparent that, again better looking out than in, the views the apartments provide are superb, over the Dick Van Dyke rooftop chimneys and up to the towering Minster. And the higher you go, Charlie enthuses, the better and better those views become.

So what of the apartments themselves. We took a look at some of the one-bedroomed apartments on the (raised) ground floor and found them surprisingly spacious.

We were particularly taken with the large windows in the living rooms of those that look out over Aldwark, emphasising that while you are in a great city-centre location you are still tucked away from the hustle and bustle.

The square footage of the one-bed flats range from 378 to 536 (and the prices vary accordingly, from just under £170,00 to just over £241,000).

There is a range of two and three-bed apartments and duplexes spreading themselves across the other three floors here, again with varying styles and sizes (and with ascending prices the higher you go).

As an example you could take a look at a two-bed (both en-suite) first floor apartment with a price tag of £525,000 or a two-bed duplex on the second floor at a cost of £550,000. Or you could go for a three-bed duplex apartment on the second floor (again, all with en-suite bathrooms) for £750,000.

Or then again you could go right to the top where a penthouse fourth floor apartment is available. This has the most floor space of all – coming in at a very generous 2,061sq ft and with a superb living/dining/kitchen area supplemented by three ensuite bedrooms.

Yours for a mere £1.25million… But then, to go back to our selling the dream theme – just imagine how envious that would make your friends.


Biba House, St Saviour’s Place, is marketed jointly by Ashtons and Lancaster Samms.