With summertime comes the influx of leisure vehicle manufacturers giving previews of their new models ahead of the next year. So when we got an invitation in the post from Bailey of Bristol to go and check out their new range for ourselves, we couldn’t wait.
We were so excited to find out all about the new Alicanto Grande, but when we arrived at the launch we were surprised to learn that they weren’t only bringing out one range, but they were bringing out two- both at opposite ends of the spectrum!
Let’s start with the Alicanto Grande.
As the name “Grande” suggests, the Alicanto is 8ft wide. This is something that we’ve been excited about Bailey producing for some time as its high specification includes the much loved Alde central heating system, which is something that we personally would consider an essential piece of kit when choosing our next caravan. Having tried out the 8ft wide Pegasus Grande back in December we knew that the 10% extra internal space that a wider van provides would be great for my wheelchair, and at only 6 inches externally wider than our current Bailey Unicorn we didn’t notice much difference at all when towing or manoeuvring it.
This new range offers some of Bailey’s most luxurious caravans yet, with interesting new features adding an extra touch of class, and the three popular layouts are as follows:
Alicanto Grande Estoril-
A four berth caravan with twin single beds and a rear washroom.
Alicanto Grande Porto-
A rear island bed with mid washroom layout, on a twin axle.
Alicanto Grande Sintra-
A transverse island bed layout with end washroom.
Externally, you can instantly see that they are Bailey caravans. The signature front vertical skylight with the black surround contrasts perfectly with the polar white body shell, and the metallic bronze graphics along the sides really add to the overall finish.
All models have their own pluses and minuses, but we were particularly drawn to the Sintra layout, so went in for a closer look.
Once comfortably seated in the curved corner of the sofa I was able to appreciate the inside of the caravan. The combination of the cream Farringdon upholstery and the Mendip Ash wood creates a spacious yet homely feel, and even on the miserably rainy day it was, it was bright and airy. Although the L-shaped kitchen would likely eat into my wheelchair’s turning space a little too much, for people who don’t adapt their caravans it adds a great amount more worktop space, and the addition of the splashguard protects the soft furnishings from kitchen messes.
Moving back towards the bedroom, the width of the Alicanto proves its worth once again by allowing space for the bed to be fully extended while still leaving plenty of room to comfortably move around it, and I was particularly pleased to hear that a mattress with a memory foam topper was included. For me, a good nights sleep is so important when you’re on the road a lot, and including the topper as standard saves the hassle and expense of having to buy something specially made by a third party afterwards.
Bailey’s decision to not fit a washroom window in it’s caravans since the series 4 Unicorn is something that has been a controversial subject with a lot of people we have spoken with. Despite Stephen enjoying the sometimes stunning view from the small transparent window in our series 1 Unicorn’s washroom we are very keen on the luxurious feel that you get with this new design. Internally, with the huge horizontal mirror combined with led strip lighting and two skylights, you really don’t miss having a window, and the contemporary feel this creates rivals the most fancy of hotel bathrooms. Whilst externally, we think that the absence of a window gives the rear a much more sleek and cleaner look.
Overall, we think that it’s a fantastic range with a real sense of luxury and class, and one that will be loved by a lot of people.
Now let’s move on to the surprise new range that Bailey kept very well under wraps- the Discovery.
It’s no secret that Stephen has always had a soft spot for the 2011 Bailey Orion range because of its lightweight and compact qualities, and in many ways the Discovery is like a modern equivalent. In complete contrast to the Alicanto Grande, they are just 7.4ft wide and starting at a weight of just 995kg they are light enough to be towed by a huge variety of vehicles, not to mention the fact that they are very affordable. This makes them a great choice for first time caravanners and people who don’t have the B+E category on their licence.
They are available in the following three varied layouts:
Discovery D4-2 –
A two berth, end washroom layout.
Discovery D4-3 –
A new three berth, side washroom layout.
Discovery D4-4 –
A four berth, French bed, end washroom layout.
At first glance you wouldn’t know it was a Bailey caravan. Its slate-grey sides and curved rear corners create a funky and aerodynamic look that you’d associate more with European brands, and really makes it stand out from the rest of Bailey’s fleet.
The elongated a-frame creates the perfect space for a bike rack, or the unique exterior storage box Prima Leisure made especially for the Discovery. This isn’t the only bespoke product that Prima have designed for this range, also available is a huge wrap around air awning that can double the amount of living space, including a bedroom compartment that sits at the rear of the caravan.
As usual, we gravitated towards the model that would suit us best, and in this case it was the D4-4, which happens to be the same layout that we know and love in our Unicorn.
Inside, you’d be surprised by how spacious it is. The combination of side windows, skylights, LED strip lights and huge vertical window at the front creates more than enough light, and the absence of non-essential extras, such as curtains, really adds to the clutter-free feel. We love the clean and contemporary character of the furniture, and the flat cupboard doors with integrated handles give a really simplistic look.
Like the rest of the caravan, the washroom has a good amount of storage, although we would have preferred to see a cupboard door over the shelves as we like to keep all of our toiletries there whilst in transit. However, we were pleased to see that the D4-4 has a spacious, fully lined shower cubicle.
The kitchen, although small, is perfectly functional. Both the additional same-height counter top on the opposite side, and the fold-out worktop, ensures there is adequate room for food preparation, and proves the space efficiency of this tiny range.
Overall, we think the Discovery is a simple, functional and affordable range of caravans that are equipped with everything you would need for an action packed adventure or a comfortable relaxing break.
The Alicanto Grande and the Discovery are on opposite ends of the spectrum, both offering unique qualities and appealing to a variety of caravanners. However in many ways they are very similar. They both add something unique to Bailey’s ever-growing portfolio of leisure vehicles, they are very reasonably priced, and both allow people to truly have “their holiday, their way”.