Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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The Portuguese town of Sintra is famous for luxurious villas and palaces, so the name is rather apt for one of Bailey's latest upmarket, 8ft-wide models.

Overview

There's a certain romance to naming caravan ranges after mythical creatures - Phoenix, Pegasus and Unicorn - rather than numbers..

And Bailey continues in this vein with its latest launch: the Alicanto, named after a mythical Chilean bird, said to feed off gold and silver, whose eyes emit a strange light.

There's perhaps even more romance to naming one of the models in the new line-up - the transverse island-bed end-washroom model - the Sintra, after a town famed for its royal palaces and glitz.

But does this 8ft-wide caravan - one of three in Bailey's new range - live up to expectations? It certainly has all the magic of the Unicorn, but with some really sparkling new additions, including the cabinetwork and upholstery, and the latest high-tech fridge. We went to Bristol to take a closer look.

Pitching and setting up

The Sintra lives up to its name on external appearance, with gold and silver featuring in the stylised depiction of the flightless Alicanto bird on the side panels. The vertical central window gives you a view to the outside world even if you are standing up inside the 'van, and the boxy Bailey shape ensures good headroom throughout.

Entrance doors are the stable variety, with a window in the upper half, a bin inside and an awning light strip above.

The range comes with Al-Ko's ATC, an AKS stabiliser, shock absorbers and a tyre pressure monitoring system. As well as the usual light clusters at the back of the van, Alicantos have a brake-light strip near the top.

The extra width didn't cause us to lose any more vision down the side, thanks to our towing mirrors. And with this layout, most of the heavy parts sit over the axle, so even with only one axle, the van never lived up to one reputation of the original Alicanto bird - being top-heavy.

On site, the corner steadies were easy to find, and, as with the Unicorns, the gas bottle locker is no longer in front but on the offside, away from any awning you might put up.

Bailey uses a plastic lever to hold the open door in place, but we usually prefer a magnet. The grab handles are horizontal at the front, vertical at the back.

Exterior locker doors give access to the areas under the nearside sofa (special flooring makes this, in effect, a wet locker) and the transverse bed. So unloading outdoor furniture should be easy.

Lounge

The Sintra has a grab handle just inside the entrance door and a shelf above the door for keys.

As soon as you walk in, you notice the extra space, enhanced by the neutral décor and the standard Farringdon upholstery, a cream basket-weave fabric complemented by tweed-effect laminate trim below the glossy white overhead locker doors. This trim also matches the optional Portobello upholstery.

Cabinetwork is mid-toned, while the curtains are a gold and silver harlequin pattern and the carpets and tabletop, graphite grey. The parallel sofas are firm and comfortable, with high back cushions and bolsters shaped curiously like a prawn's shell. The four scatter cushions are in graphite and gold velour.

Three headrests in the corners add comfort, but their press-stud attachments seem a little cheap. Apart from that, the overall look here is calm and classy.

The main controls for lighting, water and the awning light are just inside the door. The central chest, with two soft-close drawers, floor locker and pull-out table, seems a little wider, adding to the sense of space. On the nearside are all the sockets needed for a TV.

The corner shelves at the front of the van are backed by mirrored plastic. This might look good if the radio/MP3 player hadn't been inserted on the nearside.

There's ambient lighting above the lockers and around the panel that holds the vertical panoramic window and the rooflight, plus two LEDs. Two of the four corner spots have USB points, with a pouch nearby to hold devices while charging.

Kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen has a standalone splashguard on the outer edge of the unit, which will help to protect the headrest nearby. But it does mean there's no extension flap to a worktop that is not particularly generous. Another splashback surrounds the kitchen window.

At the front of the 'L' are two useful hooks and three deep, narrow drawers. The top one has divisions for cutlery - a change for Bailey, which doesn't always fit cutlery trays as standard.

Another neat design touch is the LED strip in the crook of the 'L'. LEDs above and below the lockers, with a small rooflight, deal with illumination. Switches are on the wall by the splashback, along with controls for the Alde heating and two mains sockets.

Beneath the stainless steel sink with swan-neck mixer tap is a large cupboard where the gas taps are located, and a shelf.

The hob is a four-burner dual-fuel model, but it butts against a bulkhead, so there's little room for pan handles. Beneath is a Thetford Caprice Mk III separate oven and grill and above the hob is a Russell Hobbs microwave. The adjacent locker has a plate rack and a shelf.

When you need to chill your beer and wine, there's plenty of room in the huge fridge/freezer opposite, which can be opened from either left or right. There's a large locker above the fridge, a small one below and a pan locker underneath the oven.

Washroom

A sliding door separates the bedroom from the Sintra's end washroom, which is spacious. Above the electric-flush, swivel, cassette toilet is a cupboard on the offside wall, with a mirror and handbasin on the back wall and a fully lined shower on the nearside. A shelf at basin height runs along the offside and rear walls, with a cubbyhole above.

The Unicorn's salad-bowl-style basin has been replaced by a five-sided handbasin, served by a domestic-style swan-neck tap. Below is a good-sized cupboard (but no laundry basket) and even more shelving.

A bi-fold door gives access to the shower, equipped with an Ecocamel showerhead, chrome basket, light and rooflight. Another rooflight illuminates the washroom by day, while lighting above the mirror does the job at night. A radiator, three towel hooks and a toilet-roll holder complete the kit.

Beds

A concertina divider ensures privacy between the bedroom and living spaces.

The Sintra has a transverse island-bed, which can be pushed back during the day for more space to access the washroom. This is one area where you can really appreciate the extra room in 8ft-wide models. A headboard fills the space behind the bed, flanked either side by half-length wardrobes, one containing the Alde reservoir.

Dividing each wardrobe from the drawer and cupboard below is a narrow shelf. There are two spotlights here, each with a USB socket, and ambient lighting behind the pelmet and above the lockers over the bed, which are separated by a shelf.

A vanity unit in the corner, against the kitchen bulkhead, has a vertical mirror and four shelves on the offside wall, with the worktop taking in the whole corner. There's just room for a TV here, with the appropriate sockets to plug it in.

The settees up front will only work as single beds for anyone under 6ft. You can start putting the double together fairly easily by pulling out slats from the central chest. The base cushions and backrests are split, so they can be rearranged easily, but the extra width means you also need some infill cushions, and they fit together in a jigsaw that can take some getting used to. You'll need to stow the cushions somewhere during the day, and store the bulky corner cushions at night.

Storage

The Alde heater compromises the area below the offside sofas; you might want to keep the infill cushions here to free space on the nearside, which has exterior access. There is no front access to either sofa, so cushions must be removed to lift the frames, but the nearside sofa has a separate area for shoe storage, with access just inside the door.

The freestanding table is stored under the bed so bringing it out means lifting mattress and frame, although gas struts do assist.

Storage in the bedroom is good, with a cupboard under the vanity unit and those four shelves, two wardrobes, two drawers and a cupboard either side of the bed, as well as the overhead lockers.

The washroom also has plentiful storage, with a shelf above and below the mirror, another running from above the toilet to the basin, one cupboard above the toilet and another below the basin.

Open the locker on each side of the lounge and you'll find divided space inside, with one side shelved. The nearside locker also contains the TV aerial.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1441kg
Payload155kg
MTPLM1624kg
Interior length6.11m
Shipping length7.38m
Width2.45m

Verdict

The classy Sintra has 'wow' factor. The lounge is comfortable and the kitchen functional. The bedroom really benefits from the van's extra width, giving easy access to the spacious washroom. With the right car, towing is no problem; it would also be a great seasonal pitch.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Great washroom
  • Spacious lounge
  • USB sockets

Cons

  • Table is awkward to get at
  • Lack of space on hob

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