Review: Paradise Dreamseeker Ultimate
Travel longer in the luxury-appointed Paradise Dreamseeker Ultimate.
HAVING THE EMOTIVE word "Paradise" adorning the side of your caravan, you'd have every reason to expect a rather luxurious home on wheels. With its 6.86m (22ft 6in) Dreamseeker Ultimate, Paradise Caravans - a relative newcomer to the caravan game - does not disappoint.
Here is a van specified to appeal to those who appreciate the finer things in life, and the unit features many aspects to make caravanning easier and more relaxing. Paradise business owners Matthew Vowles and Mustafa Ammoun have a combined 27 years building and design experience in the caravan industry, and have used their knowledge to manufacture a very well thought-out luxury van.
Based in Melbourne, Paradise produces a range of caravans and pop-tops sold through national dealerships. Custom builds are a forte, and Paradise's SA and WA dealer, Port Lincoln Caravan Centre, has created its own model by using the company's flagship Dreamseeker caravan and luxury-specifying it to produce the Dreamseeker Ultimate.
"The Ultimate is exclusive to us, and we option it up according to a formula we know that works," explains Michael Baldwin, sales manager at Port Lincoln Caravan Centre. "We have some in stock here to show customers and can also take orders depending on the options people want. We have had customers just buy the Ultimate on the spot before, happy with the way we've specified them. Their appeal is undoubtedly the luxury."
Obviously such a van is in the higher price range, but considering the quality involved and the comprehensive equipment inclusion, the $85,800 asking price is appealing.
Being quite a large van and with a Tare of 2500kg and ATM of 2900kg, you're looking at a larger 4WD vehicle for towing.
The Dreamseeker Ultimate is an attractive looking meranti timber-framed van, with a nice individual style using black and orange as a colour scheme. It rides high on rugged all-terrain tyres wrapped around 16in mag wheels, with good ground clearance. The DuraGal F&P chassis is mounted on Simplicity independent offroad suspension, and as our test proved, the van doesn't mind a bit of dirt road touring at all.
External touches that are sure to appeal include an electric Dometic awning that goes up or down at the touch of a button; a Polaris reversing camera; low-mounted outside speakers; and an electric 12V Omni Tecno Step to get in and out of the van. An outside barbecue is also a blessing to keep the cooking smell out of the van when possible. It truly is a user-friendly package.
Other important if more conventional features on this Dreamseeker Ultimate include Dometic windows, two picnic tables, two 95L water tanks, external gas bayonet, 240V power outlet, 12V point and an outside shower. Two 9kg gas cylinders and a tap are mounted to the A-frame. The Trail-A-Mate hydraulic jack and jockey wheel come as standard.
External storage is also substantial, with a front boot, dual lockable tunnel boot and a separate hatch designed for a generator. A nice final touch is a mesh cradle nestled behind the gas cylinders for easy-to-access items.
As for independent camping or non-powered sites, the van is decked out with dual battery packs with a 40A Smart charger and is also wired with a 125W solar panel. "The only things that wouldn't work if bush camping would be the 240V power items like the washing machine, air-conditioning and microwave," says Michael Baldwin. "The fridge is three-way so runs on gas, and the TV and DVD are all 12V."
LOUNGE AND KITCHEN
It is attention to detail that can make or break a caravan's interior, and with the Dreamseeker Ultimate you get a strong sense that plenty of thought has gone into this. As soon as you step inside you are greeted by very cosy cafe-style leather seating, and a Smokey Granite bi-fold table sits on a classy chrome pole.
The lounge can sit four adults in comfort, and immediately you start appreciating the benefit of the table depending on its usage: for drinks just quickly fold it away, for a main meal it is at full length in seconds with no fuss. A handy storage rack makes good use of free space under the table, where the likes of CDs or DVDs could be easily accessed. To round it off, the standard venetian blinds are a welcome alternative to fussy curtains.
The kitchen also illustrates where the money has gone, with granite, scratch-resistant Diamondgloss Laminex and matching splashbacks. Bench space is superb with a recessed Dometic cooktop and stainless steel oven, with matching stainless steel rangehood and Samsung microwave mounted up high.
For food storage, there are dual pull-out pantries and ample European furniture cupboards, and the fridge is a massive Dometic AES 220L unit with a freezer compartment.
Storage above the dinette is well thought out also, with nicely divided sections to minimise movement of your precious items.
BEDROOM AND BATHROOM
The bedroom feels very luxurious, and also benefits from the stylish touch of Onyx venetian blinds alongside mirrored wardrobes and classy bedside units. There isn't a great deal of room to move, but the bed is extendable a few inches, depending on whether it is being used or not. It isn't an ideal arrangement, but is a fair compromise to allow more space in the living area.
The bathroom at the back of the caravan is a cosy treat. A new Dometic ceramic toilet (won't scratch, easier to clean) and quality ceramic handbasin are welcome touches, and make the area feel more like a hotel ensuite than a caravan bathroom. The layout and kit are all you could ask for, with ample storage, a Dometic washing machine as standard and an extra large shower alcove.
You'd be happy to make the Paradise Dreamseeker Ultimate your home for a fair few months, as this interior lends itself well to permanent living. The downlights create a good ambience for relaxing, while the likes of Dometic skylights (electric pushbutton-operated) and Dometic air-conditioner make living comfortable in all environments.
Speaking of comfort, a reasonably new product on the market is Dometic's diesel heater that comes with this van. "Ideally, this is built for caravanners in the European climate," explains Michael Baldwin, "but here in Australia we do get some very cold nights, so it is a handy addition. It uses only 1L of diesel for 10 hours' running on its low setting, so is quite economical."
As for moving outside for living, a 19in LCD HDTV on an adjustable arm can be easily swung outdoors so you can enjoy viewing under the electric awning. The kitchen window also opens completely so food and drinks are easily passed in and out conveniently. The only minor problem could come if the TV is left in its inside position when preparing food - watch out for cooking splashes.
THE BOTTOM LINE
There is a lot to like with the Dreamseeker Ultimate, and you'll sense that you truly are getting what you've paid for. You can get similar sized vans for a lot less, but the standard kit with the $85,800 Paradise is excellent.
Its trump card of course is its luxury, and with the Ultimate, Port Lincoln Caravan Centre has optioned the right kit to ensure this is the sort of van you'd be happy to live in for a very long time. You'll want for nothing and appreciate the high level finish throughout. Those who value a high level of convenience, functionality and class should take a good look at this van.
Source: Caravan World Feb 2009