A holiday caravan that shares its name with a prestigious London hotel has to be something special. You’d expect a touch of grandeur, perhaps? Opulence? Even ostentation? Certainly you’d be expecting luxury…
Willerby’s Dorchester does indeed touch on the grandeur. And it’s definitely opulent. Maybe ostentation would be a descriptive too far. But luxury, yes – and in spades.
The Dorchester is among Willerby’s top-grade static caravans. As an indicator, it’s the second most expensive, after the flagship Vogue Classique. It’s also the largest unit in Willerby’s holiday caravan range, at 42ft x 14ft.
So what of its ambience and character? We spent time in the Dorchester lodge at Willerby’s Southport showground to explore…read on and watch our walk-through video:
There’s a traditional, country feel about the Willerby Dorchester holiday lodge; the log burner style stove, of a classic cottage design, is a definite part of that feel, together with the elegant furniture style.
The settees have buttoned and studded upholstery and rolled armrests, and the dining chairs are high-backed and comfortably upholstered. Every fabric, every piece of furniture, every fixture and fitting, is of obvious high quality.
The fabric choice involves patterns inspired by tartan, for the large seat/stool in the centre of the lounge, and for the cushions.
The curtain material features a traditional and rather ornate mixture of leaf images on an almost exotic brocade-type fabric; very luxurious and very countryside in tone.
The Dorchester’s kitchen is nothing short of awesome. That’s not just about styling. It’s about practicality. It’s also about the size of the kitchen, which is in two sections.
The units in the main section are arranged in an L-configuration and, in the corner of the ‘L’, is something really unusual: a tall cabinet containing shelves plus a section large enough to hide away an upright vacuum cleaner.
This double doored, larder style cabinet is big enough to step inside, it’s not very often I find myself typing on an iPad in a cabinet, but the Dorchester lets you do this!
The five-burner hob, oven and grill are in this L-shaped sector, and a microwave is integrated into the cabinets, at waist height. On the other side of the holiday caravan, the second section of the kitchen houses the sink, and more units beneath, plus a wine cooler (that’s listed as an option on Willerby’s website but was fitted to our review Dorchester), and lots of surface space.
The smart, white sink is of obvious high quality, in keeping with everything in the Dorchester. It’s made by Greek company Pyramis, of 80% quartz combined with resins, designed for durability.
This is an exceedingly capacious kitchen, with four large lower cabinets, three top cabinets and three deep drawers, plus the walk-in cabinet, of course. We can envisage it being a joyous kitchen to use. You serve food to the table from the side of the kitchen where the cooking equipment sits – and then clear the plates and dishes to the very separate sink area, where the dishwasher is hidden in one of the cabinets.
The bedrooms in the Willerby Dorchester continue the country-luxury theme, with pretty, floral-patterned curtains and lots of natural wood in the décor. The large mirror over the dressing table in the main bedroom is set into a double frame of wood, with a shelf integrated into the outer frame and two bright spotlights inset, to shine downwards. There’s a lovely little chair, with a comfortably curved backrest.
Opposite the foot of the king-size bed, in between the two windows, is a floor-to-ceiling panel of wood, with connection points for a television. The pastel turquoise, deeply buttoned headboard has a wooden frame – and more wood is prominent in the suite of cabinets above it.
This is a lovely bedroom packed with character created by the use of woodwork in the décor. And it’s spacious – a real holiday caravan luxury bolthole!
And there’s more. A door at one side of the bed leads to a large, walk-in wardrobe and dressing area, lots of hanging space, a chest of three drawers and total of 10 shelves. There’s also a full-length mirror.
At the other side of the bed is the door leading to the en-suite, with a bath, an over-bath shower and neat, folding glass screen. Woodwork also plays its part in the décor here, in the form of a shelved mirror surround.
The big storage tone set by the dressing area continues in the bedroom. The king-size bed base lifts up to reveal a storage area, there are six drawers in the dressing table and two sizeable cabinets in the over-bed unit.
The twin bedroom is just as superb as the main bedroom, only not quite as large. Woodwork is prominent; a small, curved dressing table, complete with a cylindrical stool, is set on a wooden floor-to-ceiling panel and, as in the main bedroom, the bedhead is luxuriously upholstered and framed in wood.
The shower room opposite the twin bedroom contains a large, rectangular shower with a stone-tile-effect panel on one wall. Both the shower room and en-suite bathroom have large washbasins stylishly set into the cabinet tops, with – you’ve guessed it – wooden panels above, on which the mirror is mounted. Both rooms have tall, chrome towel warmers.
Verdict: Space, style and luxury are rolled up together in the Willerby Dorchester. This is a holiday caravan in name and size, and with a lodge character and a level of luxury you’d expect in a leisure abode far above the Dorchester’s price level.
Indeed, Willerby markets the Dorchester as a sort of crossover, offering buyers the option to go for what the manufacturer calls “Dorchester Lodge specification”. This includes the enhanced insulation that comes with residential specification (BS 3632), CanExel cladding, window frames in a choice of colours – and a badge labelling it ‘Dorchester lodge’.
Whether or not you go for the options, the Willerby Dorchester is an imposing holiday caravan that radiates elegance, sumptuous comfort and high-end quality.
Two features that are hidden from view are the pull-out sofa bed built into the lounge furniture, for extra flexibility, and the fully galvanised chassis; the Dorchester shares that feature with Willerby’s five most expensive holiday caravans and two of its lodges.
Plus points: The large kitchen: the unusual inclusion of a bath in the en-suite; fully galvanised chassis and the tall kitchen cabinet large enough for a vacuum cleaner
Minus points: It’s a pity that there is not a three-bedroom version
In a nutshell: Willerby’s largest holiday caravan has an impressive level of comfort and luxury, lots of storage space and an exceptionally well-designed, large kitchen.
Size: 42ft x 14ft
Build standard: EN 1647
Key options: Residential specification BS 3632; washing machine: Bluetooth sound system: double bed instead of twin beds
Ex-works price: £72,700*
Spotted in the classifieds: A 2022 Willerby Dorchester sited in Cornwall (TR4). Sited costs £97,800
Cost to insure this sited holiday lodge would be £262.90**
**Leisuredays holiday lodge insurance quote based on 2022 Willerby Dorchester lodge caravan insured for £103,800 (£97,800 for structure and £5,000 contents). Owners are a 68-year-old retired couple with previous holiday caravan insurance and three years no claim discount. Holiday lodge fitted with decking and an alarm system. £5,000 contents included. £75 excess applies. Insurance premium includes insurance premium tax at the current rate and is correct as of 01/02/2022
*Extra charges will be made by park operators and/or distributors for transport and siting and annual maintenance. Please check the price carefully before you commit to buy as prices vary considerably dependant amongst other factors, on the geographical location of your chosen park
For more information about the Willerby holiday caravan and lodge range visit www.willerby.com or call 01482 717599 to book an appointment at one of their showgrounds.