Our vans – Bailey Unicorn Barcelona
Since its arrival with us late last year, ‘our’ Barcelona has been, variously, our office; our base for reviews of awnings and other caravans; and a touring kitchen for our resident chef, Monica Rivron, who has stretched its cooking capability well beyond tourer expectancy.
It has kept us toasty warm in very sub-zero temperatures. We’ve even had some leisure time in Bailey’s best-seller twin-axle tourer. Throughout all these tasks, it has performed superbly.
Highlights? There are many. Storage has to top our list. Despite our best attempts brought about by quantities of winter clothing, photographic equipment and copious media devices, we’ve never managed to fill the Barcelona. This is one caravan that you really can keep tidy thanks to the 'cavern' under the bed.
There's unrestricted access to this space, and even an exterior hatch. There’s the enormity – and the luxury – of the dressing table with two lower cabinets and one upper cabinet. Plus the three big kitchen drawers, and the top cabinet arrangement which includes two corner units… and then there’s the shoe cabinet right by the door!
Our two-generation needs mean the lounge often gets turned into a bedroom. Chapman The Younger sometimes makes a single bed, and sometimes transforms the lounge into an enormous double bed, which he shares with our two cats (they have their own little duvet!).
Many caravanners think of fixed-bed caravans as the preserve of couples, but this is one model that works equally well as a family caravan, simply because of its spaciousness.
Foibles? Well, there are some – two, to be exact. The construction of the mattress, for some bizarre reason, features a separate section under the pillows. This means that when you lift it at the top corners to slide a fitted sheet into place, the small mattress section pops up almost at right-angles to the main section, making it really hard work to jam the elasticated sheet corners down far enough to make them stay put.
Even when you think you’ve done the job properly, someone moves during the night and the corners pop up again, prompting the fitted sheet ends to creep towards the centre of the bed… not ideal.
Various trials have so far failed to solve the problem. Give me a one-piece mattress any day! The other foible came to light within an hour of taking delivery of the Barcelona. Connections for a TV are on the fridge-freezer cabinet – but there is no bracket. So our TV had to go on the windowsill – where there is ample space but no connection points. Solution? Several metres of coaxial cable and a packet of Blu Tack.
Richard installed the coax across the top of the door, then through the nearside top locker, and the corner locker, before tacking it down to the sill. Untidy blobs of Blu-tack and looping coax fly in the face of Unicorns’ refined image – but that evening we got to watch The Simpsons.
There’s plenty to like about the Barcelona, though, especially in the kitchen. In particular, the amount of work surface is impressive. Cooking is an important element of caravanning life for us, which leads us to appreciate the Unicorn's double hob cover.
With the glass lid in place, the top cover down, the flush-fitting sink cover in place and the hinge-up extension in use, there’s a total surface length of 1.73m, including a particularly useful 16cm-wide space aft of the hob. It’s a brilliant surface design, which is much appreciated by Monica Rivron when she takes over the Barcelona’s kitchen to concoct dishes for her Caravan recipes.
Good coffee is almost as important to the Chapman family as good food – and the Barcelona’s kitchen surface is large enough to accommodate a coffee machine. Not many caravans can match that! And there’s more on the topic of coffee. This time it’s about storage.
The slim cabinet aft of the kitchen contains the table – and, above, it, shelves of the ideal shape and size for our stock of coffee machine supplies, our favourites being caramel macchiato and one that calls itself Bailey’s coffee. How appropriate!
Drinks of the chilled variety also present no challenge, with a 190-litre fridge-freezer; plenty of space for copious quantities of fruit juices and a bag of ice cubes in the freezer. Cue: cocktails of both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic variety, which are perfect for barbecue evenings!
Over the last few months we have surely discovered the amazing versatility of the latest Barcelona. It’s proving itself to be a caravan ideal for all demands and desires; a true luxury home from home.
Watch our review here!