Penthouse and luxury are two words that go together like Morecombe and Wise or Brighton and Hove.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a penthouse as an expensive apartment or set of rooms at the top of a hotel or tall building.

In architecture, the term ‘penthouse’ refers to a structure on the roof of a building that is set back from the outer walls and not occupying the entire roof deck.

But these days the term is much more widely used to describe any luxurious accommodation, in fact the term is so indicative of fabulous living spaces that the term “reverse penthouse” is sometimes used to describe a beautifully appointed basement.

From Kemp Town in the east to the lagoon in the west, the seafront of Brighton and Hove has hundreds of penthouse apartments at rooftop level, all with spectacular views of the sea, and if they are true penthouses, all with spacious and luxury accommodation.

When the fabulous Regency houses on the seafront and around the Montpelier area were built, the top floor accommodation would have been for household servants, the house owners would have rarely made the trip up to the attic, although it was above them it was considered beneath them.

The Downton Abbey depiction where the servants’ lives were a major concern of the aristocracy is pure fiction.

It wasn’t until the 1960s that developers started to see the potential in attics spaces and start to convert the old cramped top floor spaces into penthouse apartments.

The idea of a penthouse apartment was born in a prosperous New York in the 1920s, when there was high demand for city homes for industrialists, oil barons and bankers.

Previously the top floors were just ordinary homes, but wealthy Americans were able to buy the entire roof space of a property, which would have been home to several families, and bring in architects, designers and decorators to restyle the entire area.

Some penthouses even have a private entrance, or have a private lift to the top (these do exist in Brighton but they are pretty rare).

Buildings in our city are less easily adapted to provide penthouses of any large size but because of the quality of the decor and the fixtures and fittings the name can legitimately be used.

Most new blocks of flats include penthouses on the top floor and in recent years many older blocks have had them added.