It’s the Whitehaven’s size that makes it stand out from the crowd, as it comes in at a lengthy 7.8m (25ft 7in). Its length does create plenty of flexibility with the interior layout, and it has allowed Retreat to deviate a little from the norm. Among other things, it allows for a spacious rear club lounge with plenty of room to sit down and relax with friends – or on your own!
LAYOUT & DESIGN
Forward of the club lounge and the entry door is the kitchen with benches on both sides of the van. That leaves the front half of the van for a split bathroom and a front bedroom.
When you step inside, the club lounge offers an immediate invitation to kick back and relax. And there’s certainly enough room to entertain a couple of guests, although the Tommy Table, which has a very clever folding mechanism, isn’t particularly large. It’s good for two people, though, and you can put your feet up without a problem. Another benefit of the Tommy Table is that its round shape makes it easy to get around. Windows on all three sides of the lounge give a good view outside and overhead lockers supply general storage. For any power requirements, 240V and 12V/5V sockets are fitted into the rear offside corner.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
In the bedroom, the red and black colour scheme has been toned down somewhat. It’s still there but is done more subtly in the pelmets and bed cushions. Around the island bed, the cabinetry is a fairly conventional design but the bedside cabinet shelves are extended by the little side compartments under the wardrobes. It’s a neat use of space.
At the foot of the bed, there’s a small diagonal cupboard in the offside corner with a flatscreen TV mounting in the airspace above. On the nearside, a full-height wardrobe has been built in beside the shower cubicle. It comes with hanging space above and drawer space below, giving plenty of storage capacity.
Anyone who likes to practice their culinary skills and needs a bit of room to move won’t be disappointed by this kitchen. All the essential items – large 225L three-way fridge, four-burner cooktop/grill/oven and stainless steel sink with drainer – are fitted into the offside. That leaves room for five good-sized drawers and three floor-level lockers.
On the opposite side, there’s a considerable amount of benchtop space, but only four drawers and two floor lockers. This is because the microwave and front-loading washing machine are fitted under the bench. Just in case all that storage space is not enough, though, there are also overhead lockers on both sides and a full-height wire basket pantry between the kitchen bench and the nearside shower cubicle.
A flatscreen TV is fitted to the pantry wall, allowing easy viewing from the rear of the van. Alternative entertainment is provided by the touchscreen multimedia player in the overhead locker on the opposite side. It’s accompanied by more practical items such as the LED-screen water tank gauge and by the water pump, switches and solar panel regulator in the adjacent locker.
Although there is a walkway in between, the split bathroom is quite spacious, with the toilet cubicle on the offside and the shower opposite. Included in the toilet cubicle is a cassette toilet, vanity cabinet with wash basin, towel rail and a good-sized wall mirror. Of note is the under-sink plumbing, which has been installed so as not to take up too much cupboard space. Sliding doors on either side of the bathroom can close it off from the rest of the van.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This Retreat Whitehaven is a good example of what can be achieved when a van’s body is slightly longer than usual. The result is a caravan with plenty of comfortable living space and all the necessary features.
In some ways, the Whitehaven is well-suited to being used in a semi-permanent location, but it is equally suitable for long-term touring.
- Very comfortable interior
- Well-equipped and spacious kitchen
- Club lounge is great for relaxing
- Good storage capacity
- Bright colour scheme
I would have liked…
- Long van to tow
- Comparably small dining table
- Large tow vehicle required
The full test appears in Caravan World #540 August 2015.